Hello ladies and gentlemen, Muldoon here with my thoughts on the latest entry in the X-MEN franchise. First off, holy hell are we getting some fun blockbusters this summer. SPIDER MAN 2 (An empty shell of amazing visuals and cheesy fun). GODZILLA (Gorgeously shot, well-acted, fun moments, but damn that Cranston wig… Damn it to hell.) We’re getting some popcorn chomping flicks handed to us each Friday, and there’s something pretty freaking awesome about that. It feels like summer. Summer time has its staples: tent pole PG-13 movies galore, pool parties, and that certain level of freedom for anyone in school (generalizations indeed!) Summer is the best mindset to walk into Bryan Singer’s new mutant adventure with. It’s a burrito of fun with cameos left and right and more Easter eggs than the President’s egg hunt – all wrapped together beautifully in a singular contained story. So do you need to be familiar with the last handful of X-MEN films to enjoy this one? Hell no, but it sure doesn’t hurt.
In case the title doesn’t give it away, yes – there is time travel involved in the film. The film feels like the beautiful love child of TERMINATOR / T2 and Marvel's X-MEN. Wolverine is sent back in time to change a major event from occurring, one that sets a bad, bad course for mutants – one that brings on the creation of Sentinels (giant freaking T-1000 style robot badasses) who eventually bring on the apocalypse. The core team of the future consists of canon favorites: Prof. X, Wolverine, Ice Man, and others (getting dangerously close to spoilers). The inclusion of Warpath (Booboo Stewart) and Bishop (Omar Sy) was a lovely bonus. (Omar Sy… C’mon man, how about a JURASSIC WORLD set visit, bud?)
Without going into details, Wolverine makes the most sense to be shot back in time, and thus finds himself in the 60’s, now dealing with young angst ridden mutants, the gang from X-MEN: FIRST CLASS. It’s a mess of directionless anger, with a broken Charles Xavier front and center. What follows is essentially a Wolverine film that intelligently includes characters/actors from all across the franchise, with a few new faces perfectly added into the mix.
Speaking of “new faces,” that Carls Jr. ad where Quicksilver is eating a burger absolutely helped me lower my expectations for the film. Seriously, that commercial (while I’m glad it provided jobs for folks) just felt like an unnecessary cash grab and as our first real intro into Fox’s Quicksilver… it was stupid and sadly had me already writing off Evan Peters as Quicksilver. Boy is Peters anything but boring in this movie. The kid’s not in the thing much, but his smartass carefree zoom-zoom of a personality was nothing short of utterly enjoyable. Peters kills it. Singer gives Quicksilver a handful of slow motion beauties that highlight why this character is so awesome. Evan Peters was, for me, the kid who stole the show.
Enough about actors, let’s hop on to Singer. Say what you will about what you read in gossip mags, leave that at the door when you’re in a theater watching this thing. Holy shit that man knows how to shoot a movie. The macro shots, the stylized fades instead of cuts, the fact that 99% of the shots in this thing had an energy… This is Bryan Singer’s best X-MEN film. In fact, I’ll go a step further and call this THE BEST X-MEN film so far. Bold claim, sure, but it’s the damn truth. It’s story apologizes for THE LAST STAND, includes the semi-reboot of FIRST CLASS, and ties everything up with a bow on top. It’s a legitimately fun film with incredible visuals, strong acting (as the bulk of these characters/actors have been living these roles for quite a while now), poses great moral questions, and ultimately is worth the $12.00 to see it in theaters.
Did I enjoy the movie? Yes. Would I tell my friends to drop their hard earned cash to see it, for it’s two hours of mutant adventure escapism? Yes. Does this film open up the X-MEN universe in a way that none of the previous films have? Yes, yes, and yes. The best thing I can say is this movie is a giant bolt of electricity shot directly into the heart of a franchise that found itself being eclipsed by The Avengers and Nolan’s Batman. This movie is not a simple sequel money grab, but a film that adds legit value and respect back to the brand, something that has me excited for whatever’s next with where they choose to go.
If you’re on the fence about the film, don’t be. It’s a fun time, fun characters, and it doesn’t bottle feed you every subtle reference. It’s got layers upon layers of meticulously intertwined stories, characters, and events that ultimately all seem to just fit. (Of course… when time travel’s involved, you’ve got to suspend some disbelief or else you’re just not going to have a good time. There are things you could pick at here, but they’re the same arguments you could have for PRIMER, BACK TO THE FUTURE, or TIMELINE to name a few). The only difference is here you have freaking mutants blowing things up and looking good doing it. This is the best X-MEN film so far and is something I found thoroughly enjoyable.
- Mike McCutchen