X-Men: Days of Future Past

  • Posted on: 23 May 2014
  • By: Shawn DeWolfe

In 1981, I discovered the X-Men. I got X-Men #143 at a swap meet held in the Crystal Gardens and I could see what all this X-Men talk was about. I was a money minded little investor. In 1980, the X-Men were lumped with The Defenders, Champions and other comic series of second-string comic books. The X-Men weren’t heroes. They were freaks. They were not champions, they were feared by the world. Something twigged in comic book land. In 1980, the intro issue of the new X-Men (issue #94), was worth $8. In 1981, it fetched $60! Sixty dollars! Comic books are like the stock market for nerds. When a comic book becomes hot, its price goes up. When a comic book price goes up, the comic becomes hot. To me, I liked the X-Men because the comics were worth a lot. I found Tom’s Book Nook, a store in Langford that was one year behind on their pricing schedule. I got so many X-Men comics and X-Men related comics from old pricing:

  • Hulk #181 (Wolverine’s intro)
  • Hulk #180 (where Wolverine shows up on the last page)
  • X-Men #100 (robot X-Men square off vs. the real deal)
  • X-Men #101 (Phoenix debuts-- my favourite comic book character)
  • and on and on…
By this point, I had fallen in love with the X-Men, so worked to round out my collection. I was 13. I was a mutant. All 13-year olds are mutants. Of course I loved the X-Men.

X-Men had no shortage of great story-lines. The one that I really loved was the two issues series, “Days of Future Past.”

The comic (issues #141 and #142) took place in a dystopian future. Mutants were in concentration camps. Abnormals (those who could breed mutants) were part of the downtrodden, but less ostracized. The turning point in history was the murder of Senator Robert Kelly some 33 years prior. The remainder of the X-Men hatch a plan: Rachel Summers (the daughter of Scott Summers and Jean Grey) uses her psychic powers to cast Kate Pryde’s consciousness back into the past. She lands in her teen girl self and tries to change history. The neophyte X-Men member has to convince her teammates that she is from the future and that she has shared sad decades with them. They square off against the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and prevent Kelly’s public assassination and change the course of events. In the future, the X-Men are working to head off a Sentinel all out offensive while there’s still time.

I heard that this story would be the plot of the follow-up X-Men movie. I have a problem when comics jump to TV and movies. In comic books, there is a variety of villains, characters and plot lines. On the screen, they fixate. All of the X-Men movies are about Wolverine. It’s a smart ploy: Hugh Jackman is a terrific talent. Wolverine is a colorful character. In the comics, Magneto squares off versus the X-Men a handful of times. In the movies, Magneto is a fixture. Okay: I get it. They have to jam dozens of comic books into two hours and they have to sell this to Hollywood executives.

In isolation from the comic book issues, the movie is very entertaining. They did massively change up the original story to cherry pick some great potential for moments. Here are my highlights in point form (in no particular order):
  • Peter Maximoff helps break Magneto out of prison using his super speed. If they rolled the credits right after his scene, I probably would have said, “yeah… this movie was good enough to end it here.”
  • Die hard fans will likely appreciate seeing Bishop and Blink in action. Likewise, another version of Toad makes it to the screen.
  • Blink, a character who can open portals to teleport, kept reminding me of antics in Portal.
  • Peter Dinklage is fantastic. The visual of a little man with big hair sells it.
  • I don’t know how Nixon and superheroes goes together like peas-and-rice. Just as with Watchmen, Nixon plays a large role in this movie.
  • All of the actors from the X-Men eventually make an appearance. Bryan Singer has a penchant for undoing crappy crappy third-installments. Everyone hates Superman Returns. I do not (c’mon-- Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor? You can’t hate that movie), but Singer acted as if Superman III didn’t happen and Superman took off after Superman 2. X-Men 3 (Last Stand) was such a crap fest. Through the events of this movie, Singer seeks to reset the X-Men as if X-Men Last Stand did not happen.
  • Kitty Pryde can phase people’s consciousness through time. Sure. I would been happy to have seen Ellen Page’s character at work, but putting the character is this role seemed annoying, but not a Jar-Jar level of annoyance.
  • Wolverine swaps his bone claws for adamantium in his solo movie. This movie happens before the events of that movie, so we get a pared down Wolverine.
  • Sentinels. SENTINELS. How can anyone dislike a movie with giant robots built by a man who is over compensating for something?
  • This is a dystopia and the last stand of the X-Men of the future. In the comic books, Wolverine in the future gets scorched down to his skeleton (sniff-- that BBQ?). The death scenes of the future X-Men are similarly super harsh.
Comic books purists may grumble at how this excellent comic book story was adapted. The movies have their own continuity and I appreciate that. All of the performances are strong. The action is great. I really recommend seeing this movie (and/or grabbing the old comic books).
All images are copyright Marvel.

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