Following a reboot in the form of X-Men: First Class, it was clear to the world that a whole new era in the X-Men films was upon us; one that would see great steps taken in the scale and storytelling element of such a film series. Utilising historical events to forge a more grounded universe, and even heading to locations anew (with James Mangold’s The Wolverine), this is a new X-Men world that looks likely to strike harder than an adamantium-fuelled slice from Logan himself.
Setting up the foundations for future endeavours, both First Class and The Wolverine were just tasters of things to come, and now it is time for Bryan Singer to return to his beloved franchise. Singer is no stranger to his material, having essentially created such a bulking film entity that the X-Men canon is today, and now he has the tough task of bringing to life one of the most complicated and vast storylines to ever grace comic book pages.
That story is Days Of Future Past; Singer’s film presenting a slightly altered version of the story printed in the comics. While the comics follow Kitty Pryde heading back into the past in an attempt to eradicate the future threat to mutants via Boliver Trask and his deadly Sentinels, we, of course, have Wolverine instead. Hugh Jackman’s currently adamantium-less clawed beast is set to visit the younger models of the X-Men as the present day likes of Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) paint a worrying picture for mutant-kind.
That means Logan will be heading into a crash course with a whole host of familiar faces, but very much in a different stage of their lives. That means the fallout between James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender’s Charles and Erik in First Class will undoubtedly be front and centre, while the continued building of the original X-Men will be in full force. All that and various visions of the bleak future that lies ahead – Days Of Future Past certainly ticks all the boxes for a mass-scoped extravaganza.
The question is; can Singer really cope with such changes in timelines and such a bulked-up list of characters? Well, from the early trailers we’ve been privy to, it seems that the Usual Suspects director may well nail this behemoth of a task. With such knowledge and love for his subject material, Singer’s film looks to carry many a money-shot moment and a wealth of comic book history. Clearly tweaking the foundations ever so slightly for film authenticity, it feels as though Singer is in sync with the fans. You only have to witness moments such as Iceman (finally) showing off his ice slide, or the cutthroat moment of a Sentinel about to strike, to see that this is a man in charge who is striving for greatness.
And greatness Days Of Future Past is certainly heading for if it fully connects with its audience. After all, in sheer honesty, this is a project which rivals Avengers Assemble for the most ambitious within the comic book world and presents Fox’s greatest opportunity for domination in terms of a superhero film franchise. Although built on such an intertwining series of timelines, Days Of Future Past is very much a huge character study, with an impressive set of names on the cast list, in correlation with the powerhouse characters being portrayed.
Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen once again re-teaming are, as ever, an integral part of the team, and their younger counterparts in James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender will once again serve up a thrilling evolution in their relationship. It’s not just these returning faces that pack this blockbuster with a colossal punch either; throw into the fray Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ellen Page and Shawn Ashmore, considerably bulking up the task force set into motion for this monumental job. Bryan Singer wasn’t finished there, with a whole host of new faces adding some extra spice to the unfolding events.
On hand for the villainous side of things, Game Of Thrones’ very own Peter Dinklage seems tailor-made for the role of chief mutant hunter Boliver Trask and, not content with maintaining the familiar X-Men on show, Singer has a wide range of extra names for this extravaganza. Fan-favourite Bishop will make his bow via Omar Sy, Evan Peters attempts to oust Marvel’s Quicksilver with Fox’s very own version, and the likes of Warpath, Blink and Sunspot all combine to forge one hell of an outfit.
There’s no doubting it, Bryan Singer has a staggering task on his hands, juggling a mind-boggling plot with an increasing array of characters into a film that is likely to clock two to two-and-a-half hours of runtime. It’s an unenviable task for anyone at the helm, but with his credentials in bringing to life one of comic book’s most powerful entities, he may well be the only man for the job. Either way, the underlining fact is that X-Men: Days Of Future Past remains the standout entry into 2014’s blockbuster period and could well pave the way to further X-Men success as the age of Apocalypse looks to reach us…