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Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past, or The Longest-Running Non-Rebooted Movie-Comic Franchise So Far


The X-Men film franchise is now on its fifth film (2013’s The Wolverine is considered a spin-off, which would make 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine a prequel slash spinoff – or a sprinquel, if I may coin the term. What's that? No, I may not coin the term? Okay then.), and Days of Future Past (DoFP, because I love acronyms) is the second film in what we all first thought was a reboot. DoFP ends somewhere before the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, which could actually allow the filmmakers to pretend that third X-Men movie never really happened.

"Yes, I've gained weight, but only because  I actually
never thought we'd be asked to come back. ."

Is Days of Future Past a reboot? Apparently, the filmmakers consider it so. But some people think it isn’t. So I shall hijack this opportunity to discuss reboots.

Is this a reboot? But Hugh Jackman is still in it...

In film terms, a reboot is a succeeding film in a franchise meant to supersede its predecessor. So the elements of a film reboot are:

  • There must be an existing film franchise;
  • The rebooted film does not continue the same universe of its predecessor.

Wow. Just two? I thought there would be more.

Not the Human Torch.

This movie satisfies the first element of a reboot, because it is part of an existing franchise, which is the X-Men franchise, obviously. But it does seem to continue its predecessor’s universe. Continuing or discontinuing a universe can be done in a number of ways, such as 1) changing the primary creative team (writer, director); 2) changing the story, narrative, or character arc that would conflict with (and therefore supersede) the preceding film(s); or 3) to be more visually obvious, changing the entire cast.

Changing one cast member who died does not a reboot make.

DoFP is not a reboot of its predecessor X-Men: First Class. Yes, they changed directors (bringing back Bryan Singer to replace First Class’s Matthew Vaughn), but the principal cast of James McAvoy as Professor X and Michael Fassbender as Magneto are still intact.

Them old geezers are still intact as well.

But was First Class a reboot? You could say that. It did change its creative team (Vaughn replacing Last Stand’s Brett Ratner at the helm) and its principal cast. But the cast was supposed to play younger versions of their characters, because the film takes place in the 1960s. So technically, First Class was a prequel, and could’ve been used to supersede the previous X-Men films if it chose to.

But who would want to reboot this cast?

But it didn’t. That’s because DoFP takes place in two timelines, which are the 60s and the present day. And the present still uses the same cast of the first three X-Men films, such as Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, an aged-down Famke Janssen, and Ellen Page in full-lesbian mode.

Dear filmmakers, please put more Blink next time. Thank you.

So is it really a sequel, a prequel, or a reboot? I’m not sure anymore. All this time travelling has addled my brains. Also, I think I should save my discussion on reboots for Michael Bay’s upcoming Transformers flick.

John Morris via Sequart
"Reboots are the Hollywood norm. Deal with it!"

X-Men: Days of Future Past. USA. 2014.

Original rating: 7.5 / 10
Bishop looking like the comic book version: + 0.1
Blink's teleportation portals: + 0.1
Peter Dinklage: + 0.2
Quicksilver: + 0.1
Not being able to mention the name "Quicksilver" because of legal issues: - 0.1
Pietro Maximoff's bullet-time sequence: + 0.2
Final rating: 8.1 / 10

You also might want to check out the reviews of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men: First Class, and The Wolverine.

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Malcolm Resident said...

Totally agree on having more Blink in the next movie.

... which I think is totally possible since we'll have Apocalypse as the big bad Big Bad. :D

Not that excited about Apocalypse. What I want is more Blink. And more Quicksilver. Hehe.

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