“X-Men: Days of Future Past” hits theaters on Friday, and according to the vast majority of reviews, it’s as good as the trailers make it look.
Bryan Singer‘s third “X-Men” movie, and 20th Century Fox’s seventh installment in the popular franchise, has accumulated a 95 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with just a few critics saying otherwise.
TheWrap‘s Alonso Duralde agreed with the overwhelming majority who found the time-travel superhero sequel to provide more than enough mutant fun. Just be sure to catch up on your “X-Men” movie knowledge beforehand, he advised, as the plot sends Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back in time to unite the X-Men of “First Class” in order to prevent an apocalyptic future, in which X-Men from the original trilogy (and a few new faces) are being hunted by robots called Sentinels.
“The screenplay by Simon Kinberg (‘Sherlock Holmes’) assumes you already know mutant chapter and verse… While there are fun moments and a continuation of the franchise’s main idea — Professor X’s peace, love and understanding vs. Magneto’s fight the power — ‘Days of Future Past’ ends up feeling more exhausting than exuberant,” Duralde wrote in his review. “Still, this is the best ‘X-Men’ movie since Singer went off to other pursuits, and it puts enough of a whammy onto the mutant narrative to allow future sequels to veer off in any number of directions.”
Entertainment Weekly critic Chris Nashawaty had minor character complaints about the complexity of ’70s era baddie Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) and murky Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), but felt the “triumphant” movie reinvigorated a franchise that has been “hit-and-miss” since Singer departed after “X2.”
“Singer’s return in the pretzel-logic pop fantasia ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ is so triumphant because of how effortless he makes connecting the dots seem. It’s an epic that couldn’t be more Byzantine on paper but scans with ease on screen,” Nashawaty wrote. “Simon Kinberg‘s marvelous script makes it all move with a Swiss jeweler’s precision and hum with internal logic. It’s complex without being confusing.”
USA Today critic Claudia Puig gave the “riveting” tale 3.5 stars out of 4, since it was “the most ambitious and ingenious of the long-running series.”
“Between globe-hopping, time-traveling and employing their various powers early and often, these superhuman folks are non-stop in this riveting sequel,” Puig wrote. “[The] multigenerational cast is slyly funny and thoroughly compelling. The intricately plotted Marvel Comics-based tale is full of spectacle, but also playful and powerfully emotional.”
Beyond mentioning “some rough logistical patches,” Arizona Republic critic Bill Goodykoontz didn’t find much to pick apart in his review, which concludes the blockbuster expected to rake in north of $100 million is both “smart” and “fun.”
“‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ does just about everything you’d hope an all-star, time-traveling summer blockbuster should,” Goodykoontz wrote. “Better still, Bryan Singer‘s film does it all quite well. Or mostly well, let’s say — with a packed cast, a few characters are bound to get short shrift, and, as with any movie that moves back and forth in time, there are going to be some rough logistical patches. But this is a smart movie, a treat for fans of the comics and the franchise. And it’s a lot of fun.”
But what about those haters? There are only five, at the moment. The Daily Telegraph‘s Robbie Collin is one of them.
“What, exactly, is X-Men: Days of Future Past trying to prove?… This latest film feels like an attempt to reassure us that, 14 years on, the mutants can still match their younger rivals, although the effect is not unlike watching a recently divorced uncle dancing to Blurred Lines at a wedding reception, while the bridesmaids shimmy warily towards the cloakroom,” Collin wrote. “The film squanders both of its casts, reeling from one fumbled set-piece to the next. It seems to have been constructed in a stupor, and you watch in a daze of future past.”
Independent critic Geoffrey Macnab asserted the movie “does its job” as a summer blockbuster, but better explained the problematic issues — one of which could be averted by simply taking TheWrap’s advice to brush up on the previous “X-Men” movies.
“The problem here is an absurdly convoluted screenplay that leaps back and forth in time in a manner that is both confusing and increasingly irritating,” Macnab wrote. “For the non-devotee, though, the in-jokes and self-referential nature of the film verge on the bewildering. You can’t help but wish that the same level of resources that went into the film’s special effects had been devoted to the storytelling too.”