To prevent a horrible, destructive future, the X-Men must travel back in time to fix the mistakes of the past. Ironically, not only is this the basic outline of X-Men: Days of Future Past, it’s the reality of the X-Men franchise exemplified by this movie. By applying a massive scale time travel story, Fox and director Bryan Singer have made a bold play to undo many of the bumps and bruises the X-Men movies have hit along the way. While the odds are usually in favor of things becoming a messy, “reach exceeds their grasp” event, Singer and company do everyone a service by keeping their franchise building in check and delivering a tight and terrific standalone film that doesn’t miss a step.

In a future where mutants are near extinction and constantly hunted by unstoppable killer robots called Sentinels, the remaining X-Men, consisting of Kitty Pride (Ellen Page), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellan), hatch a plan to keep this horrible outcome from ever happening. By having Kitty send Wolverine’s consciousness back to 1973 (as one does), he can then bring together a team of X-Men to stop the rogue shapeshifter Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from assassinating the creator of the deadly robots (Peter Dinklage) and setting things into motion. But it won’t be a walk in the park as the young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) has all but given up on hope for mutantkind after the events of X-Men: First Class, and Magneto, better known as Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender), well, he’s still going to end up pulling some dickish antics.

Sound like a lot to process? It is but watching the movie you’d never know. The plethora of characters and separate story arcs are handled with a level of care that makes a certain recent superhero flick look shamed. Everything clicks together in a beautiful, coherent way that lets everyone shine and keeps the interest up throughout.

DOFP has so many good things going for it but the thing that stands out is how contained the story is. Yes, there’s more than a few instances of world building and sequel-setup by the end, but the main story can stand alone without relying on a “continued next time” scenario. Even those who haven’t seen all the X-Men movies should be able to pick up on things fairly quickly and above all, enjoy them. Behold the power of a well-planned story with heart.

Based off the Chris Claremont comic arc of the same name, DOFP capitalizes on the prospect of combining old favorites and new in a way that makes sense. Stewart and McKellan comfortably step back into a franchise that had all but written them out (as do a few other faces that would be criminal to spoil), while Jackman gets to apply his classic role this time as a sort of mentor to a forlorn Xavier.

But it’s the returning First Class members who carry the show. Xavier’s journey from lost to found is a highly compelling route for a character who normally is the most composed person in the room and McAvoy sells it. While blunt, the subplot about him throwing his gifts away via a big scary needle in the arm shows that this character probably can’t get any lower. But hey, this X-Men, the overlord of obvious metaphors. Fassbender’s cool, debonair disposition as Magneto continues to make his take on the character a constant center of attention. The bromance these two characters share is continued in a most satisfying way as they both hit forks in the road that will pit them against each other, despite their mutual admiration.

With X-Men and X2 director Bryan Singer back at the helm and First Class director Matthew Vaughn helping out on story, DOFP takes things one step further beyond the finale of the most recent film in actually feeling like an X-Men movie. Classic characters assembling in a pivotal storyline as stadiums fall from the sky and the future hangs in the balance are some things that show that the franchise is upping the ante and refining everything it can. The action is great and the character interplay has never been better.

However, nothing shows more promise for the series’ direction going forward than what the filmmakers have done with Evan Peters’ Quicksilver. Originally assumed to be a throwaway inclusion appease character rights technicalities (Disney also has plans to utilize the character in next year’s Avengers sequel), the entire sequence featuring the character is like a whole new ballgame. Peters’ presence is an unexpected jolt of lightning as the character elevates the entire sequence he’s involved into a high-octane funny-fest that showcases a good dose of blockbuster fun. Every second of this amazing scene shows that this character was indeed bought in with a purpose: amusement, among other things.

Admittedly, continuity sticklers are going to have a hard time with the film, as the creative team have all but thrown out a strict timeline. At least one previous film is totally ignored in the timeline, as are several technicalities that may be worth a head scratching. But that’s ok because the filmmakers have now reached the point of realizing that continuity won’t be an issue as long as you deliver a great film.

DOFP only rarely suffers from slack pacing in an otherwise taught plot and has only a few instances of sub-par visual effects that have plagued the series on and off. What really would have been welcome (and may be the case for next time — who knows?) is a more vibrant color palette that embraces the comic book origins. Not that things need to go full tilt on the saturation but a more refined color scheme on a comic book movie like this could do wonders.

Looking to the past to cater to the future can be a wise choice. It certainly was for this franchise going forward. X-Men: First Class set up a possible direction going forward and Days of Future Past jumped all over it. The X-Men renaissance is upon us at last.



So, a subtle dig, a plot device and a cartoon walk into a Spider-Man movie...

After its second week in domestic theaters, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was already labelled as a failure. With waning intake and less than stellar reviews (ASM 2‘s 54 percent on Rotten Tomatoes is a little upsetting compared to Spider-Man 3‘s 63), the movie is still making a pretty dull splash. 
Which is a shame because, despite its obvious problems (and there are several), the film still manages to be a lot of fun and delivers the most entertaining Spider-Man sequences yet.
While most of my issues came with story and studio involvement, it’s come to my attention that many people are singling out the villains of the piece and making some dreaded comparisons to Raimi’s final Spider-Man film (not ok, guys).
Full disclaimer: I do not think the villains of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 are perfect — far from it. However, in looking at how recent Marvel Studios films have been handling their villains, or even the most recent Spider-Man films, it seems wrong to glide over the more admirable decisions made with the characters.


Everybody’s favorite punching bag. So many Schumacher name-drops with this one it hurts.

From the moment it was announced Electro would be the main villain of this sequel, it was a little confusing, seeing how Electro was never known for his amazing depth. Essentially never progressing beyond a bank robber bestowed with electrical powers,  the sky was the limit in creating a character around Electro. What they went with was derided but why is a tad conceited.

The one Schumacher reference that is acceptable is in the one-liners Jamie Foxx is given. “It’s my birthday, time to light my candles” is a true blast from the past to superhero movies of yesteryear. Like, before they thought they had to write realistic dialogue, yesteryear.

The rest of the anger is geared towards the Riddler-esque origin story that draws so many comparisons. There’s a bunch more to be said on this later, but for now, let’s just point out that so many facets of Electro’s origin and motivation make an effort to differentiate themselves from former Spidey villains. He’s not an ambitious scientist who acted as a father figure to Peter Parker — he doesn’t even know Peter Parker. He’s just a poor shlub with a raging inferiority complex who had a hell of a day, got extraordinary power and decided to take it out on others because of his mistreatment. Say what you will, but at least it’s believable.

Electro is a truly cinematic villain. Even though the character is on the back-burner for a good chunk of the film, Webb finds some truly awe-inspiring ways to have him occupy the screen. More than one sequence in the third act was jaw-dropping in the sheer scope of this character’s imposing power.

The real fun in this character’s core is when you start looking at him in a way that breaks the fourth wall, specifically in relation to “hardcore” Spider-Man fans. Max Dillion/Electro, in many ways, can be taken as a dig against a poisonous faction of the Spider-Man fanbase that works against the good of the character. After Spider-Man comes in contact with Max Dillon by saving his life, Dillon becomes obsessed with the hero, believing they are best friends. When things go wrong for the downtrodden geek, Max is finally given some power to shape his life. Problem is, we soon see he’s not the most sound person out there and decides that if he can’t be the most important person to Spider-Man, the world can’t have Spider-Man.

Fandom is a very tumultuous thing that is fraught with emotions and entitlement. The sad thing is that, while certainly exaggerated, Webb and company may have tapped into some of the more unattractive aspects of Spider-Man fans than they probably intended with Electro. Like many others, fans of Spider-Man have showcased some awfully frustrating behavior since this series started. Some have their own unwavering expectations of the character and do not react well to any minor changes. Worse is the feeling that there shouldn’t be any more Spider-Man unless it’s their Spider-Man. Like a “patriot” who doesn’t recognize their country, there are indeed fans who work against their own beloved franchise being produced. What better way to frame this damaging idea than having the supervillain be a proponent of it?

Keep in mind, this is total rambling from someone who thinks way too much about this stuff, but it’s a layer of context that can give you more appreciation of a scorned blue guy shooting lightning at a dude in spandex.

Green Goblin

It’s not the most popular opinion but the Green Goblin is one character I think was due for a redo. Yes, it’s a lot to keep track of now, with ASM 2‘s iteration being the third screen Goblin in 12 years, but the original Spider-Man‘s portrayal wasn’t done justice and Harry in Spider-Man 3 wasn’t any sort of recognizable Goblin at all.
So was this the Goblin we’ve been waiting for? Well, let’s just say they’re getting there…
Everything about this Goblin should be right. His look is perfectly gnarly and Dane DeHaan plays Harry with a charming creepiness that sets up his fall into villainy from the start. They’ve got two of the biggies down with the right look and a great actor to play him. Now if only there was a good reason for him to be in the movie.
There’s good stuff going on with the Green Goblin but the only reason he’s in the movie is so that we can have the ending that was foretold to happen eventually. And what a hard-hitting, heartbreaking ending it is. The set up was nice but the payoff felt obligatory. For a monumental villain like GG, it feels like it needed to be more. The fact that he goes down like a punk after a two-minute fight didn’t help matters any.
The redeeming factor to all this is the promise that DeHaan’s Goblin will have a presence in the upcoming movies, assuring us this isn’t a one-and-done for the Goblin. Like I said, they’re getting there.


For as cheesy and over the top Alexiskspow8geb / Paul Giamatti is as the Rhino, I must say that, of the three, this is probably the best utilized villain in the movie. Rhino, more so than Electro, has never been a font of depth. As a perpetual tank Spider-Man goes up against time and time again, Rhino doesn’t hold a lot of water as a main antagonist. However, as a bookend to the movie, he works pretty well. A thwarted thug given a mech suit at the end is a good through-line to begin and wrap the movie and show where Spidey’s at. He’s the one villain that is used for the appropriate amount of time and that shows a little hope for the franchise’s future villainy.