We have been talking about comic-book movies quite a bit this year.
Hopefully, you aren’t suffering from a geek overdose just yet, because the No. 1 film in America last weekend was “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”
Now, I may be very well-rounded in my geekdom, but it all started for me with a sunny afternoon and an X-Men comic book. That means this film was going to make or break my entire year.
So, how did we get to this point in cinematic history to begin with? In my mind, there have been a handful of important milestones to be celebrated in the superhero movie timeline.
• “X-Men” (2000): This really was the first time we saw a super-powered team working together on the big screen. Pandora’s Box was officially opened.
• “Iron Man” (2008): This film marked the first time I felt like I was the one in the hero’s shoes — or, in this case, his amazing, high-flying, metal suit. We had the special effects at our fingertips to make the fantastic as real as possible.
• “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012): While this is the only entry on my little list from the DC Comics camp (I told you I was biased), it was sufficiently dark and satisfying, and reminded viewers that in comics, mythology is key. That mythology can be tinkered around with to achieve a happy medium between being somewhat faithful to source material while still offering something new and unexpected.
• “Marvel’s The Avengers” (2012): This was the epic culmination of numerous solo outings, assembling a team of high-paid stars in a way that had never been done before.
That brings us to the best X-Men film ever.
The premise is relatively simple. In the year 2023, the world of mutant leader Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and his frenemy, fellow mutant Magneto (Ian McKellen), is dark and dangerous. Crazy, scary, giant terminators known as Sentinels have all but eradicated every mutant on the planet.
Xavier and Magneto have determined that the tipping point that brought them to this place was a single event in the 1970s: the assassination of Sentinel inventor Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) by the hand of sexy, clothing-averse, blue mutant Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence).
You would think Trask’s murder would prevent his program from initiating. Instead, the attempt on his life gives his company a glimpse at Mystique’s shapeshifting DNA, which allows the Sentinel machines a frightening upgrade.
The fix? Send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back in time to unite the estranged younger versions of Xavier and Magneto (James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender) to stop Mystique from carrying out the murder. All much easier said than done.
The result is a film with a team of mutants in the future (including Halle Berry as Storm and Ellen Page as Shadowcat, and oh my gosh, is that Bishop and Blink? It is!) and a team of mutants in the 1970s — which, by the way, has the better actors, no offense.
OK, you fanboys out there, do calm down. I know the film’s story is a deviation from the comic-book arc of the same name. You’re still going to want to watch — it is totally worth it. During my packed viewing, the audience burst into applause numerous times.
The film is an awesome summer riot, and I am totally a fan!