Bryan Singer returns to the X-Men series with X-Men: Days Of Future Past. This serves as a prequel, sequel and reboot to what has come before, resetting plot-lines and characters to ensure the longevity of the fifteen year old franchise. The Rogue Cut adds an additional 17 minutes which returns a plot line featuring Anna Paquin’s Rogue to the film (hence the title). It’s an intriguing addition but one that doesn’t really heighten the film’s value (unless you’re a fan of Paquin). A few other additional moments add to a few character beats but this is a disappointing follow-up to Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class, which manages to waste it’s hugely impressive cast.
The X-Men are broken and all but defeated by The Sentinels. Magneto (Ian Mc Kellen) and Xavier (Patrick Stewart) have united for a common goal and a plan has been hatched to use Kitty Pryde’s (Ellen Page) new-found time travel capabilities to transport Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back to 1973 to stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from killing billionaire industrialist Trask (Peter Dinklage), the man who built the robotic killers. Wolverine must convince young Xavier (James McAvoy) and young Magneto (Michael Fassbender) to put aside their differences in order to stop events which will lead to the annihilation of the entire mutant race.
Days Of Future Past wants to do so much, but it achieves very little. It successfully reboots events from Brett Ratner’s The last Stand but it manages to waste the freshness that Matthew Vaughn delivered with the ‘60s set First Class. That film added a lightness of touch and gave new life to a franchise that had appeared to have run its course. An X-Men prequel shouldn’t have worked, but great casting raised the bar and Vaughn arguably delivered the best film in the series. Singer’s return however brings the two timelines together and while it may be a fan’s dream, it sadly doesn’t work as a concept. There’s too much going on here and it’s as if Singer is trying to re-live past glories by shoehorning his cast into a film with the Vaughn’s new guard. I understand why he did it – but it fails to work in a narrative sense.
X-Men: Days Of Future Past works best when it focuses on the ‘70s sequences featuring MvAvoy and Fassbender. There’s a great Pentagon prison sequence that manages to top the laborious CGI-filled finale that is presented with a deft touch that Singer manages to have lost elsewhere. One can only hope that the narrative to the forthcoming X-Men: Apocalypse is more straightforward but I get the feeling that some of the explosive bombast present here will tip over into the next instalment. X-Men: Days Of Future Past isn’t bad – it’s just bloody infuriating because it should have been so much better.
The blu-ray of X-Men: Days of Future Past – The Rogue Cut also comes with the theatrical version of the film. You get a pair of good commentaries from director Bryan Singer, he’s joined by composer-editor John Ottman on The Rogue Cut and producer-writer Simon Kinberg on the theatrical. There’s also a wealth of behind the scenes features and a look at Fantastic Four, all of which are more enjoyable than the movie.