It always amuses me when fan/superfans of comics decry the “changes” made when translating comics to the screen. You’d think they remade The Ten Commandments and when Moses comes down from the mountain, instead of carrying stone tablets he’s carrying Android tablets. (“He proclaimed to you his covenant, which he commanded you to keep: the Ten Apps…”) Then I remember the word fan is derived from the word fanatic (marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion) and I smile.


So fans will probably be bothered by X-Men: Days of Future Past because it takes certain liberties with everything X than went before it. If the first movie was a superhero movie reimagined as a James Bond film, this one, befitting its’70s setting, resembles one of those cameo-laden event films like Airport or The Towering Inferno.


It’s now, and the Sentinel Program, designed to root out mutants, has worked too well: not only has it decimated the mutant population, it has also targeted people who helped mutants, people who may have mutant children, people who ever said the word mutant… (This isn’t really a spoiler, this is the opening voiceover.) It’s the grimmest place possible, all gray and bombed out, and it’s about to get worse as the Sentinels (huge Terminator-like robots) are closing in on the last handful of mutants, led by formerly unlikely allies Charles (Professor X) Xavier and Erik (Magneto) Lehnsherr. They have to send Wolverine (spoiler to explain) into the past (1973) to prevent Mystique from killing Bolivar Trask, the creator of the Sentinel Project. Wolverine must convince everyone to work together, not the easiest job as in the ten years since the last movie, Mystique has gone Rogue (okay, rogue, but couldn't resist that one), Magneto is still convinced humans must die or be subjugated (or both, either, whatever), and Professor X has become a cross between a slacker and a stoner.


The great thing about Days of Future Past is that everyone seems to be having fun, in front of the camera and behind it. There’s lot of tense dialogue, spoken in low tones so you know it’s Something Serious, then something will happen out of left field that reminds you some something from one of the other movies. There’s lots of fun at the expense of people thinking 1970s analog stuff was high-tech (like Beast’s room-filling device that can record “all three channels and PBS,” he proudly exclaims) and winks at historical figures. Despite the urgency of the character’s situation, you get the feeling the filmmakers’ intent was to make a kick-ass movie, not a “statement.”


There are a few plots points that, even for the most forgiving, will have you saying WTF? and the ending will upset fan(atic)s the most because, like Man of Steel and the rebooted Batman franchise, they pretend a lot of what went before never happened. Some will like this, some will be passing popcorn through their nose.


But hey, people, just keep saying to yourself, “It’s only a movie...”

And a pretty good one.

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