Since 2000, the X-Men films have been massive box office successes with the first film in the franchise even being credited as making superhero movies popular again. Not only were these movies money makers for the first two films, but they were well-received by critics. Then, with the departure of director Bryan Singer, the third film in the X-Men franchise, X-Men: The Last Stand, took quite a nosedive. (At least critically it did.) It was feared that the X-Men films were losing their touch until X-Men: First Class was released in 2011. It featured a new cast and a new story. It was a reboot/ prequel movie that, to me, saved the franchise. Now the sequel/ prequel film, X-Men: Days of Future Past has been released and along with it comes the franchise’s original director, Bryan Singer, as well as much of the original cast from the first three films.
With six other films in the franchise, X-Men: Days of Future Past (hereby known as DOFP) sits in a strange position in terms of canon. DOFP is a sequel to First Class, which itself was a prequel to the first three films. With the inclusion of plot points and characters from the first three X-Men films, this film is also a direct sequel to X3. That means that this film is a direct sequel to First Class and X3 as well as a prequel to the first X-Men film. Got that? It gets all very convoluted. Before I tear into the humongous plot holes that plague this film, let us first get a brief synopsis. In DOFP, in the not too distant future the Sentinels, humongous robots that have the ability to adapt to any mutants’ powers, have not only destroyed almost all mutants, but they have also destroyed almost the entire world creating a dystopian universe. With a select few mutants still alive, Wolverine attempts to travel back in time to a few years after the events of First Class to stop the Sentinels from ever being created, thus ensuring the mutants’ survival.
Now with that out of the way, let’s get into the meat and potatoes of the film: the plot holes. As previously stated, this film is a sequel to both First Class and X3. This means that several characters from the original three X-Men films are featured in DOFP. While this was a nice trip down memory lane, it makes absolutely no sense. For example, Professor X is in this film. For those of you who have seen X3, you know that Professor X died in that film. How in the world did Professor X come back from the dead? If he figured out some sort of way to come back from the dead they should have shown that or at least mentioned it! But no, they just throw him in your face expecting you to deal with it.
Another huge plot hole that continued to eat at me while I was watching this film was the continuity involving Mystique. SPOILER: In DOFP, Mystique plays a huge role as she is the catalyst for the creation of the Sentinels. She assassinates Bolivar Trask for performing experiments on and killing her former friends/teammates. In doing so, she is then captured and experimented on herself to create Sentinels that use her DNA in order to adapt to any mutation, thus rendering the Sentinels invincible, thus creating the dystopian future at the beginning of the film. Simple and interesting, correct? But wait, if Mystique was captured and she was experimented on to create the Sentinels that we see in the beginning of the film, then that means that she was MORE than likely murdered during the experiments. (Trask says himself that he wants her bone marrow, blood, and even brain tissue for the Sentinels.) So if she was murdered during these experiments, then there is no possible way that she could have been in the first three X-Men films, which ARE in fact canon seeing as how they make direct references to characters and events from those films.
Unfortunately these are not the only two plot holes in the film. Because of the amount of films in the franchise, there is a huge amount of inconsistencies in this film’s continuity. There are even websites that have whole articles on the amount of plot holes.
That was the bad news. Now for the good news. This film was pretty damn great. Plot holes aside, this film is extremely entertaining. The acting from both Michael Fassbender ( young Magnet0) and James McAvoy (young Professor X) is superb. Their rivalry/friendship continues to grow and elevate. Young Professor X’s character development is also done quite nicely. He is constantly fighting his inner demons and even his powers until finally growing up and moving past them due to a well-acted conversation between he and his older self. The story is also very tense with the extinction of the mutants feeling very possible in the final few moments of the film. The action sequences are also beautifully executed with an awesome scene in particular involving Quicksilver that shows off his power in a clever way.
Speaking of which, there were a lot of great additions to the film in terms of mutants. Quicksilver, played by Evan Peters, is probably the best addition with his quick delivery of lines and smartass attitude. A few other noticeable additions were Bishop, a newly designed Toad (which goes against the Toad from the first film), and Blink.
The Bottom Line: X-Men: DOFP is a terrific superhero movie and possibly the best summer movie so far. To me, it is the best X-Men movie, even surpassing First Class. That said, it has several major plot holes and inconsistencies with the other films in the franchise canon. It is clear that the director, writer and producers picked what they liked from the first six films and left out what they didn’t like which ultimately creates an extremely disjointed and confusing canon. If DOFP was a stand-alone movie that had no ties to the past films, it would have been much more enjoyable, but due to the plot holes I have to give it a lower rating. Even with these major plot holes the film is still one of my favorites at the moment. While I did enjoy seeing the old cast of the first three X-Men films mixed with the new cast of X-Men films, I would much rather see the writers,producers and director focus on the new cast of X-Men. Don’t get me wrong, I do love the old cast seeing as how I grew up with those films, but I am far more interested and invested already in the new cast and would MUCH rather see Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, and Jennifer Lawrence and even the newly added Evan Peters all playing their respective characters. Maybe it is time to not just retire Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, but Wolverine entirely. I was far more interested in Magneto, Professor X, Quicksilver and basically any other mutant than Wolverine. Maybe he has had far too much screen time. He already has two movies dedicated to him. If the production team for DOFP can continue to create such interesting and tense (albeit flawed) stories, I am more than excited to see where they can lead this new cast of X-Men. Bring on the Apocalypse.