Days of future x-es

A friend and I watched X-Men: Days of Future Past yesterday, and I was pleasantly very surprised.

I noted with some surprise that the Xavier and Magneto from X-Men: First Class were in the trailer at all.  The movie turned out to be set up to take place not too long after First Class (well, at least well before current day).  The future part of it took place probably about ten years in the future (relative to today).

To get it out of the way very quickly, this did a terrible job of keeping with the specifics of what happened in the original comics, but a fantastic job of keeping with the feel of it.  And despite my love for the original comics, that is more important.

So the broad outline kept with the original; someone's mind was sent into the past to prevent the Sentinel program from being started, and from turning the US into a huge concentration camp for all mutants and mutant supporters (and pretty well wrecking the world for everyone else, too).

The nexus for the prevention had to do with keeping Mystique (with her Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, in the original) from killing someone whose death would drive support for the program (Bolivar Trask, the designer, here.  Senator Robert Kelly, in the original).

Mystique, in the movie, is a much more sympathetic character (in the original, she was a cardboard-cutout bad guy, more or less.  At least to that point in the comic), and much deeper.  And her motivation is much more visceral than the fairly vague terrorism intended in the original.

Xavier and Magneto are primary characters in the movie, despite being window dressing in the original.  While that's a little weird, it works pretty well.  In the movie, we see Professor X going through an existential crisis, helped through it by Wolverine, of all people.  That was definitely playing against type for both, but it worked.

Magneto had been in jail (under the Pentagon, which was very, very strange) in the movie, and the heroes' first move is to bust him out, with a large helping hand from Quicksilver.  He made a funny character as a larcenous 15 year old, and I really liked how they used him.  In particular, the kitchen sequence, if a bit strained in one or two of the details, was really neat.

I did like that they worked in (at least the implication of) Magneto being Quicksilver's father, although I wish they'd worked the Scarlet Witch in, as well.  Despite remembering very little of issues I saw of her (Vision and the Scarlet Witch, as well as her occasional appearances in X-comics), I remember liking her.

The one thing I didn't like about the movie was that Magneto kept being able to manipulate metals in ways he couldn't possibly visualize (at least, not accurately), but that was a fairly minor thing.  (Well, it was even more minor, but it was a little weird that the X-Men of the future, in the opening sequence, were one-on-one not a match for the Sentinels, but needed to be overwhelmed by numbers at the end.)  One thing I didn't understand was how Kitty was able to send Wolverine back in time; I've seen a few variations of Kitty, but none of them had telepathy.  Rachel had to send Kitty back (telepathically) in the original.

One thing that was different, and probably not as good, was that the X-Men in the future were merely running for their lives.  In the original, they attacked the Sentinels HQ in hopes of slowing them down before the Sentinels triggered nuclear Armageddon.

What I meant about them keeping the feel of the original was that they were basically all killed, but it's a big difference between trying to survive and trying to make a difference.  Still, it worked on its own.

One bit that I found interesting was how the climactic sequence was largely stolen from the end of the first story arc of Ultimate X-Men, although they changed the ending a bit.  There was a cutaway shot of Quicksilver at home, there, and I expected them to go from that to the same ending, but it was a more compact resolution (in terms of characters used).

The one thing I ended up unsure about was how they're going forward.  It essentially rebooted out of existence X-Men The Last Stand, which might not be a bad thing (my memories of that one are pretty fleeting).

Regardless of all that, I did like this movie quite a bit.  A lot more than I expected to, for instance.  It held together very well, and didn't feel like a betrayal of the original, despite few of the same characters appearing.  And, like I said, it kept much of the original's feel.

It might well be the best X-Men movie adaptation yet (though it's true that I haven't even seen The Wolverine), though I'm still holding out hope for an adaptation of Kitty Pryde and Wolverine.

Oh, and I just remembered the easter egg at the end, implicating Apocalypse (though a shockingly normal-looking one) as the villain of the next movie.  We'll see.

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