The X-Men movies have been a rather mixed bag. The first movie was a serviceable introduction to the world of Marvel's merry mutants. The second movie was the series' high water mark. The less said about the third the better.
There were a pair of Wolverine solo movies in there. The first was so bad I didn't bother seeing the second.
First Class was a pleasant surprise and breathed new life into the franchise.
That brings us to the latest installement in the X-Franchise, Days of Future Past.
Taking its title from one of the greatest X-Men (if not comic) arcs of all time, the movie seeks to connect the First Class universe with the original trilogy.
The plot in a nutshell? In the future, a group of mutant hunting robots called the Sentinels (think mutie hating Terminators), have hunted mutants to near near extinction. A group of X-Men, led by Wolverine, Magneto and Professor X, have figured out a way to send someone back in time to inhabit their past self in order to alter a tipping point in human/mutant relations in hopes of stopping dystopia.
In the comics that's Kitty Pryde, but since nobody has wanted to see Ellen Page as a lead since Juno, the job falls to Wolverine.
Without giving too much away, Wolverine and his team of swanky X-Men circa 1973, including Quicksilver, must stop "Disco" Peter Dinklage's Bolivar Trask from unleashing the Sentinels on mutantkind while the last remaining X-Men make an actual last stand against the Sentinels.
Needless to say, there is a lot going on.
The movie is crowded with mutants, new and old. Bishop and Warpath are there as nods to long time X-Fans. Many of them have little to do. This was a problem with the X-Men comic books for years. Too many characters and not enough plot.
The bones of the original Days of Future Past are there and they are enough to support the ambitious narrative. A solid concept like that rises above tampering.
The movie succeeds in spite of its excesses. And its success lies squarely on the shoulders of Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Lawrence. Wolverine and Mystique serve as lieutenants to Professor X and Magneto and their opposing viewpoints on mutantkind's place in the world. Both actors give impressive performances that anchor the movie.
Days of Future Past adeptly uses the characters from First Class to bridge and, in some cases, repair their shoddy movie continuity. What this means for future installments, and, based on the stinger at the end, there will be future installments, remains to be seen, but if they can continue to construct solid character driven stories using these beloved characters there may be hope for the X-Men franchise yet.