Bryan ‘X-Men’ Singer: Director of Fine Pictures

Forgive the cheesy headline, will you?

He gave us The Usual Suspects, X-Men 1 and 2, and Valkyrie. He also left X-Men 3 to make Superman Returns (oops).

Let the past stay in the past, I say. This man has given us a glimpse into a glorious future.

That’s what X-Men: Days of Future Past is, really.

Apart from being an epic, and arguably the greatest ensemble superhero movie ever made, it does no more than offer a glimpse into what CAN happen in the third instalment – if that is even half as good as this, we are in for a show.

 

The Plot

Image
I’m coming at ya, bub!

Set in a dystopian future (2023, by my calculations), a race of robots known as Sentinels have exterminated most mutants, and are oppressing human beings who carry the genes that lead to mutant offspring.

However, a small band of mutants, which include Professor X, Magneto, Wolverine, Kitty Pryde, Storm and a host of others, meet up in a Chinese monastery. Their plan is to go back in time to prevent a cataclysmic event that led to the creation of the Sentinels in the first place. You’ll have to watch the film to find out what that cataclysmic event was.

How do they manage that? Kitty Pryde helps them with her power to project a person’s consciousness back in time.

PLOT TWIST: She can’t project a person’s consciousness back 50 years without killing them. So the only guy who can make the trip, goes – Wolverine.

In case you haven’t got the memo yet, let me make one thing clear: this is the best X-Men movie ever made. I thought it would be pretty hard to top First Class, but Days of Future Past takes the cake with the cherry on top.

 

The Stars of the Show

Now that Wolverine has gone back 50 years, his first major mission is to help a young Magneto break out of a super-security prison under the Pentagon. Along with a young (and quite lost) Professor X. They’re also accompanied by Hank McCoy, the Beast.

Quicksilver: Hello, but they’re not the stars. That honour goes to Peter Maximoff AKA Quicksilver, who has two major powers: superhuman speed and super wits (yeah, he’s a witty chap all right). Only let-downs: an awful costume, that silver mane and very little screen time.

Watch out for the pantry escape scene in the Pentagon. Accompanying him was…

Magneto: Sir Ian McKellen did a fine job, sure, but I’m talking about the younger guy – Michael Fassbender. He still believes what he does is for the greater good of mutants, and he’s not averse to knocking even mutants off if they come in his way. He’s been arrested and kept in a high-security super prison for a crime he allegedly committed – again, watch the movie to find out what it was (it will blow your mind). Cold, calm, cunning and calculated, he plans every move the way he plays a game of chess with Charles.

However, even with his ideological differences, he does have respect for…

Professor X: As I mentioned earlier, he seems to be quite lost. The school has shut down, most of his students are dead (because they were forcibly pulled for duty into the Vietnam War) and his separation from Magneto and Raven has made him a junkie. The ‘drug’ he’s addicted to is the same formula that made Hank McCoy the beast. What does it do to him? You’ll have to watch the movie to find out. The older Charles Xavier, as I said, is in a Chinese Monastery hoping to change events back in time.

One of the reasons responsible for his transformation into a junkie is his separation from…

Raven/Mystique: Jennifer Lawrence reprises her role from First Class and, well, she’s done a first-class job! After falling out with Professor X and Magneto, she takes up the cause of the Mutant brotherhood and proceeds to wipe out anyone against the mutants. She shows pain and determination in her quest to bring peace to the mutants.

Watch out for the scene where she speaks an ‘exotic’ language in her human form (ooh-la-la).

 

The Not-So-Starry People

Bolivar Trask: Dude, you are supposed to be this menacing evil genius guy, responsible for the Sentinel programme. I don’t know whether his height worked against him here or whether the writing worked against him, but he just wasn’t ‘the force’ I expected him to be. I was also expecting a few ‘my mind is my weapon’ dialogues, but they just weren’t forthcoming. Well, I guess with all the awesomeness surrounding him, Trask was… dwarfed, eh?

Sentinels: Umm, they were menacing all right. And the VFX that showed their adaptability to the mutant powers was cool too. But something about their appearance made me cringe a little – they looked like a stretched out version of T-1000 from Terminator 2. The ones from the future, that is. The ones in the past looked a little like the robot Atom from Real Steel.

John Ottman: Who’s he, you ask? Well, he’s the Editor AND Background Score Composer for the film. While the editing is absolutely fine and dandy (the cuts between past and future are well done), the background score is a bit of a let-down after Henry Jackman’s lilting music for X-Men: First Class.

 

The Final Verdict

Do the X-Men survive the apocalyptic future? Can Wolverine, Magneto and Professor X stop the Sentinels? Will Raven join forces with them again? These are questions you need to watch the film to be answer. And yes, wait till after the credits are done.

To put it simply: this is a magnificent movie. Thank you, Bryan ‘X-Men’ Singer.

My score: 9/10.

GODZILLA: The Clint Eastwood of Kaijus

Finally, an improvement on the 1998 debacle. I give this one 7.5/10.

PS: If you’re looking for massive monster-on-monster action for the entire length of 2 hours, don’t waste your time. You might not like this movie.

This is a worthy successor to the 1954 classic Kaiju movie, although it does have its flaws. The first 45 minutes look forced, at best. The family angle seems overworked, and although the actors do a fine job (you can’t go wrong with Bryan Cranston). Bryan Cranston suffered the loss of his wife early on and in his research, realises that she doesn’t die because of a nuclear plant explosion alone – it was something else entirely.

This whole family business does succeed in doing one thing – keeping you on edge, building anticipation for the arrival of the creature. But it’s not what we’ve really come to see, right?

Image
All right, all right, let’s forget my wife and get on with the story.

<SPOILERS BEGIN HERE>

And a creature does arrive soon enough – only it’s not really the creature you’re looking for. It’s a Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Object (MUTO), and it’s not even terrestrial – the damn thing flies! This is the point when tension starts building.

Soon enough, we discover ANOTHER one of these MUTOs, and she’s (yes, SHE) looking for a mate. Put 1 and 1 together and you’ve got… DESTRUCTION. These MUTOs, they feast on radiation – and they’re looking for mankind to give it to them.

Image
Honey! Where’s the nuclear bomb with a side of radiation that I’d asked you to bring?

Mankind is now on the brink of extinction… or is it?

Our buddy Godzilla doesn’t think so. Yes people, PLOT TWIST – Godzilla might be mankind’s chance at survival, not extinction. And his first face-off with the flying male MUTO – that’s when you know shit’s about to hit the fan.

Meanwhile, Mommy MUTO is PREGNANT (no surprise there, Sherlock) and she’s looking for some lovely nuclear pasta to feed her kids. Daddy, meanwhile, is fighting the big, bad Godzilla (who’s actually the good guy for us), and she joins him to make it a 3-way SMACKDOWN – just put the background score of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly and you’ve got a Mexican battle royale!

Image
Hey you MUTO chichas… you wanna fight me yeah?

Now, coming to the main event – ATOMIC BREATH! You know, in this regard, Godzilla reminded me of Clint Eastwood. Especially during the last battle with Mommy MUTO, when he’s opened her mouth and is about to finish her off with the big guns, you can almost here him say “I know what you’re thinking, punk – you’re thinking is he finished or does he have anything left in him? Seeing that I have ATOMIC BREATH, which could blast your head clean off, you’ve gotta ask yourself one question – DO I FEEL LUCKY? Well, do ya, PUNK?” AND BOOM! Big, blue atomic breath and Mommy MUTO is, well, muted (Daddy was torn apart a long time ago).

Image
Go ahead… make my day.

The Climax: Just when you think Godzilla’s died a heroic death, he just rises up at the end and lets out a HUGE ROAR, almost as if he’s saying ‘I’ll be back.’

Image
Imma go sleep now, puny humans.

Yes folks, Godzilla is truly the Last Action Hero. And that’s what is so fantastic about this movie – you root for Godzilla, even as you fear him. You might have noticed I’ve barely spoken about the humans – and as I said in the beginning, they’re almost reduced to a sideshow. They help build anticipation for the monsters, but apart from that, nothing much. The human angle was better explored in movies like Jurassic Park and War of the Worlds (examples).

But if you are a Kaiju fan, this is the movie you should watch.