The first reviews of “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” the hotly anticipated sequel due out in the U.S. May 23, have hit the web, and they’re not always easy to pin down. Most critics take a “If you liked the other X-Men movies, you’ll probably like this one as well” approach, which is no doubt true enough, but seem reluctant to judge it outside that context, or perhaps after six previous movies in the series, they know better than to expect more. There are a few raves and an equal number of harrumphs, but the praise often feels as if they’re grading on a curve. Here’s what the critics are saying.
Reviews of “X-Men: Days of Future Past”
Justin Chang, Variety
Back at the helm of the Fox/Marvel franchise he successfully launched 14 years ago, director Bryan Singer stages a stealth reboot by introducing a playful time-travel element to the ongoing saga, bringing two generations of mutantkind together in a story that toggles cleverly (if not always 100% coherently) between the political tumult of 1973 and a not-so-distant dystopian future.
Considering that this is the seventh X-Men film, including two standalone Wolverine adventures, “Days of Future Past” can’t help but suffer a little from mutant fatigue. But on the whole, this latest sequel manages to bring together the original trilogy’s stars (most importantly Hugh Jackman) with the new films’ leads (particularly Michael Fassbender) for a story that’s appropriately dark, epic and intelligent.
With so much going on, and such a ferocious pace, several parts of the story feel undernourished. But what we do get here is largely fantastic, not only re-energizing old-favorite characters (and after his two spin-offs, Wolverine was in dire need of re-energization) but introducing intriguing new ones.
If you’ve consulted your ring-binder of data from the previous six X-Men movies, you’ll probably enjoy this. If you come to it fresh, it can be like trying to follow two games of chess at once.
As summer blockbusters go, “Days of Future Past” does its job. For the non-devotee, though, the in-jokes and self-referential nature of the film verge on the bewildering.
It’s the “X-Men” movie dedicated fans never thought they’d see. And now that it’s here, it’s the greatest “X-Men” movie we’ve seen to date, and a new standard-bearer for the massive potential of comic-book franchises far and wide.
David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter
It’s hard to imagine fanboys having too much to grumble about here, as Singer has pulled together an ambitious, suspenseful screen chapter that secures a future for the franchise while facilitating continued reinvention.
Alonso Duralde, the Wrap
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. Too bad that in doing so, it, like “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” often feels more like a set-up for movies to come rather than a satisfying experience in and of itself.
Robbie Collin, Telegraph
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.
May not be entirely to everyone’s tastes, but judged on its own terms this is a movie that delivers excellent performance and brains to compliment its bang-for-your-buck spectacle.
Earnest and worthy aren’t qualities that tend to produce successful superhero movies. But somehow, Singer makes it work, neatly negotiating the inherit problems presented by time travel and the butterfly effect, and putting the X-verse on an interesting new path in the process.
The story occasionally stutters and drags, but generally it feels well-paced and packs a lot of drama and action into its two hours and 10 minutes.