Wednesday, May 28, 2014

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST: the good, the bad, and the huh…?

A *SPOILER*ful ramble on X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST follows. So turn back if you haven't seen it!

Basically, fanboy hack that I am, I very much enjoyed watching the movie. It was kind of a mess in a storytelling way, and didn't take full advantage of all of its talent (more Trask!), but it did deliver a ton of fun (Quicksilver & Blink) and comic book fanboy button pushing, so I have to recommend it. For me it's probably the second-best of the X films. If you put a non-metal gun to my head, I'd say from best to WTF (and not including the Wolvie solos films), it's…


Note that I've seen DAYS and X3 (and the WOLVERINEs) once and the others twice.

Okay, on with the rambling!

The Good…

1. Quicksilver vs. Pentagon guards. Just lovely and clever and cool and fun and so very satisfying. I do have a geeky problem with it (see below), but was able to ignore the voices for the sequence and thoroughly enjoy it.

2. Blink (and friends) vs. Sentinels. The future X-Men use Blink's portals to wonderful advantage. Particularly enjoyed her riff on the Fastball Special—having Colossus build up terminal velocity in free-fall from way high and then dropping him into a portal that exits 90 degrees from his fall, ballistically launching him at a Sentinel. Helping energy manipulators blast thru her portals from one place to another. Once, severing a Sentinel limb. Would've liked to have seen more of that. Nightcrawler used that tactic vs. both Magus and Nimrod in the MCU, didn't he? Or no, one of those was Rogue, w Nightcrawler's power.

3. Professor X recognizing Wolverine's return from the past in the now-changed future. That was a sweet time travel bookend moment for me. Wolverine's time jump is now part of history, and anyone who knew about it then would remember it (unless Professor X removed that info, which I hope he did, lest the strategy be used/overused to change history to some malicious advantage =). I like that Wolverine seems to have memories of the original timeline still intact (surprised by Jean and Scott) when his consciousness snaps back to the future. I hope he can keep memories of both timelines, without the "new" one overwriting the original.

4. Post-credits scene. APOCALYPSE! Surprised that so few people in the theater seemed to understand what they were seeing. Perhaps the absence of his trademark orthodontic headgear was a fail? But, no—"En Sabah Nur!" Ancient Egypt! Four horsemen on the horizon? Come on, people! Anyhow, I wonder which X-MEN roster will face him. Multiple teams in different eras would be pretty sweet. Or even multiple teams in the present. He's definitely the Thanos of Mutantia. I'm almost disappointed to see that the next film is supposedly X-MEN: APOCALYPSE as a build-up of a film or two would be nice, but I guess we shall see.

5. The events of this film apparently negate those of X1 thru X3. Interesting. So, maybe we could get a legit Dark Phoenix story?

The Bad…

1. 1970s Wolverine vs. Magneto's bombardment. I don't believe that Wolverine could run at Magneto and brush off/deflect his bombardment. Mags was chucking sizable chunks of rubble at him and Logan was blocking them with swings of his arms. I'll allow for Wolverine being above-average strong and agile, maybe Olympian, but we should've seen him take damage deflecting blows like that w his body. If he'd had his adamantium-laced skeleton and claws, okay. The metal would protect the structure of his body. He'd also be stronger as well, his muscles adapted to carrying around an extra couple hundred pounds of metal as part of his person. But as he was, we should've seen his forearms snap, bone jutting thru broken skin, and MAYbe he heals while he continues moving forward, but not without a lot of pain.

2. I believe it's been established that Wolverine can be killed by asphyxiation/drowning. *MCU SPOILER* That's how he killed his son, Daken. *Maybe* it's a matter of time? So, brain death takes much longer for Logan than the average human. Okay, but seriously, how much longer? When do we think MyStryquer recovered his body? At best, the same day, but given the hullabaloo, I'd think it would take quite a bit more time to assemble the resources, meager tho they may be—boat w winch, tools, soldiers/agents w clearance—that s/he uses to recover Logan's body. And under whose auspices then, right? I don't see how Wolverine's body could create oxygen, which is really what would have to happen, right? Hrm… Okay, how about his healing factor kicks in once there's oxygen available again, but there was brain damage as a result of the lack. MAYbe this is the start(?) of his modern feral existence and memory loss? Frack. I may have to re-watch other X-MEN movies to get that straight and I don't really want to do that, bleah. Would've been bold to let Wolverine die that day, drowned while saving the future. Also, an "out" for Hugh Jackman if he wanted it. =)

3. Quicksilver's walkman. Okay, maybe he has an aura that extends his perception of time while he's moving at super speed, and within it, his walkman plays at regular speed relative to himself. But then, what about his precaution with Magneto, holding his neck to prevent whiplash? A physical range limit to this aura? Would be fun to have him conduct an Einstein's Twin test, with clocks, maybe with Beast's guidance. Still, regardless of the rules surrounding his speed and a supposed aura, the scene was a thing of beauty, probably tied with Blink's portal strategies for coolest execution of X-Men-itude in the film.

4. Kitty Pryde is shunting psyches back in time? WTF? Why not introduce Rachel? Why not introduce a completely new, never-before-seen mutant? Why not create some b.s. pseudo-science explanation that combines Kitty's phasing w someone else's telepathic or temporal abilities instead?

5. When Kitty phases thru electronics, she disrupts them. I didn't spot her using this vs. the Sentinels. I'd think it would work at least once vs. a Sentinel, right? Or maybe it's deemed too dangerous a power to allow them to adapt? But then, if the battle they fight would never have happened in the first place (after time shunting Bishop back to warn them) why not use it, right?

6. Future-Sentinel blast-attacks. Why did they have to resemble the Destroyer so much? I didn't hate it, but I certainly didn't love it. Friends with whom I saw the movie questioned it and didn't like it. I dismissed it pretty quickly as just a dopey design choice, but to people who only/mainly know Marvel's creations thru the movies, I guess it IS confusing, creating a visual connection when there is no real connection.

7. Magneto hijacks the Sentinels. I like that he bonds steel to them to physically control them as puppets, but I don't love that he seems to command them as a kind of admin as well. That he can order them to do things and let them do them, without apparently controlling every joint, limb, engine, and weapon on them, and fighting the Sentinel's native programming to do it.

8. Using Mystique's power as the basis for the Future-Sentinel adaptive technology. If you're gonna steal a mutant's ability to make this possible, it would be Rogue's. Mystique is purely cosmetic, right? Altho, I suppose her musculature changes, so… she'd become stronger if she took the physique of a body builder? But would she be able to fight the way she does in such a body? I dunno. Anyhow, using her genetics does not explain how a Sentinel could gain control over moisture (Iceman) and fire (Pyro/Sunfire?) or why they'd need to generate a blast based on those powers somewhere inside its body that would need release via a hollowed-out head cannon. Why not just blasts thru its hands/arms? Or just mentally projected? Blerg.

9. The next threat: Apocalypse. Not a bad thing on its own, cuz he is basically the Big Bad of Mutants. Would be interesting to see his blue hand mess with events throughout history in a next film. Altho, maybe he's beaten/subdued in ancient Egypt somehow, and released in the modern day? Anyhow, the thing I *wanted* to see… Remember Kulan Gath? He took over Manhattan with some transformative spell that turned anyone within into a fantasy/medieval version of him or herself? When the X-Men and Spider-Man beat him, it involved turning back time to the event that triggered Gath's release and the spell's beginning. The fateful price for retconning that event out of existence? The arrival of Nimrod. I would've *loved* to have seen a ripple from the prevention of the DOFP future in the 70s lead to the creation of a new (yet familiar to fanboys) threat. A Nimrod story would've been cool, but would require a lot of exposition at some point about the Future-Sentinels developing time travel tech or somehow mimicking time travel abilities. Maybe too TERMINATOR-y? How about begun at the Pentagon, in response to Magneto's escape? Forge's Neutralizer? A Hound program? A Cure program? The birth of Legion?

10. A muddy ensemble for a movie. Who the heck am I really invested in here? I know who I *like* but if I was coming to this film without having my knowledge of the characters from the comics, or even from the other films (unlikely, I suppose), would this work as a film? Wolverine seems like he'd be the one to follow, but he's actually just an enabler. I *think* the fulcrum is Mystique, and her decision to kill/not to kill. Mystique spares Magneto, but not Trask, right? She's only prevented from killing Trask. Is that really a powerful decision? There's also the young Xavier, who needs to be convinced "to hope," and be set on a brighter path. Not the greatest inspirational speech from older Xavier, btw. While I dig the telepathic connection via Wolverine's time-shunted psyche, X and X's scenes "together" were not as powerful as I'd hoped.

The Huh…?

1. Why the heck didn't young Charles and Hank get to Wolverine before MyStryquer? I guess it *could* allow for the events of X2 and the WOLVERINE films to persist in the brighter timeline… In the new timeline, did Magneto's rebarring of Wolverine (and Wolvie's surviving the process) *inspire* Stryker to seek an adamantium grafting process? Wack!

2. Okay, if we just accept Kitty's consciousness shunting ability in the future, Wolverine has let the young Professor X in on it. Perhaps the Professor and Kitty together have worked on this ability and used it to tweak the timeline more than a couple times? She can do it for shorter periods of time with someone who doesn't have a healing factor. A dangerous get-out-of-jail-free card in future films, no?

3. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. They certainly don't appear to be twins in the movie. Does Wolverine introducing Peter to Eric in the 70s mean that Magneto finds his children sooner in the new timeline than in the original (if he ever does)?

4. The Sentinels design. Couldn't we have seen just ONE of the familiar GIANT Sentinels from the comic book? Maybe as a failed/failing/mothballed prototype in the 70s? Or as drones/guards in the future? The 70s design was cool enough, but I wouldn't have minded them being larger and clunkier, cuz how are you gonna produce those w 70s tech in the first place, right? The future Sentinels are totally forgettable and forgotten. They absorbed powers, okay, but I can't remember a distinctive silhouette. And actually, I can't remember what the faces of either the 70s or future models look like.

Allright, I know if I give myself enough time, I'll find more things to love, not-love, and WTF about, but I think this hits the biggies (and mediumies, even).

Keep on keepin on~