Massive casts like this are only possible in sequels, and Days of Future Past shows how to do it right. They picked the best characters from the original trilogy and from First Class, and swept the less interesting ones out under the rug, but not in a particularly jarring way. Then they introduced some great new characters, especially Blink, who makes all the “future” action sequences so utterly fantastic (well the awesome future sentinels certainly helped too). Fassbender continues to excel, Lawrence is still great, and Dinklage performs admirably. And of course I can never get enough Patrick Stewart. But Quicksilver easily gets the best sequence in the whole film. He steals the first half, and I was incredibly disappointed he got left behind for the finale.
It’s been quite a while since I enjoyed a thriller this much. It was consistently, and masterfully, suspenseful. It overflowed with amazing performances, especially from Jackman. It had a constant state of uncomfortable dread that continued to haunt after the film ended.
There were tons of characters I found impossible to care about, all with motivations I couldn’t be bothered to decipher. I can’t find fault in Jackman’s portrayal as he knows the character so well by now. Silver Samurai was cool but took too long to show up, and Viper wasn’t interesting enough to carry as much as the film wanted. It was better than Origins of course. How could it not be. But not by enough.
Taking a play and adding special effects, no matter how beautiful, did not make for a successful formula to turn it into a movie. I don’t hate musicals, but singing every line of dialog was unnecessary, and at times difficult to understand. The sets looked like, well… sets, and not part of a greater city. I’m not as disappointed in Russel Crowe as everyone said I should be. But since he and Jackman were the only characters with full arcs I can see how his lack-luster performance would be more noticable. Also the movie would not end. It just kept going. Forever. So many time jumps…
After a re-watching, the second X-Men film holds up as the best of the “originals.” Wolverine’s best when slicing through nameless black-ops goons and Nightcrawler’s opening scene is fantastic. Colossus shows up to be briefly awesome and then is woefully forgotten and Magneto is possibly at his most daunting (though his dialog is less polished.) The story is the smoothest of the series even after adding more characters to an already character-heavy cast. Halle Berry is awful as ever however, and the subplot centered on Rogue’s and the other young characters’ teen hormone problems is distracting at best.
After First Class, I wanted to revisit the first X-Men to see if the character interactions were still intact. They weren’t of course. Xavier and Magneto’s relationship worked even better than before but Xavier and Mystique seem to have forgotten that they’d grown up together. The other members of the First Class are suspiciously absent as well, Beast being the most notable omission. Still, the Wolverine-centered plot led to good action sequences blemished with terrible one-liners. Halle Berry strengthened her hold in my mind as the worst actress in far too many movies I enjoy.