Back in 2014, I had a bit of a bone to pick with Days of Future Past. I actually had no desire to see it, for one reason: the film’s complete butchery of Kitty Pryde. In the comic version of DOFP, she is still a newcomer to the world of superheroism and the story arc is her coming of age in a way. Her older self travels back into the body of her younger self, and it is up to her to reverse the assassination that would eventually propel the state of the mutant community into darkness. Bravely, the story featured Wolverine as a minor character, showing that the X-Men were more than who had become, and still is, their most popular member.
The story’s cinematic iteration is not quite as bold, featuring its poster boy as the film’s de facto starring character. Wolverine is sent back into time by Kitty Pryde, who, in addition to her abilities to phase in and out of a solid state, has been blessed with the mutant ability to send someone back in time to a younger version of themself. This has to be one of the most foolishly contrived plot devices I’ve ever encountered. The creation of an ability for the sake of its carrying forward of the plot is simply too convenient. Imagine if Iron Man, in addition to all of his other abilities, had a computer program designed to carry warheads through wormholes; or if Captain America, besides his super strength, possessed the super-ability to hide from pursuers? Besides, how did Kitty discover that she had this ability? What absurd situation has ever required her to use it before?
I watched the film quite bitterly for quite a while, and my opinion changed completely when I got to the infamous “quicksilver scene”. Trapped in a plastic prison, walking into an ambush, prison guards have the X-Men dead to rights. Suddenly, time slows down. Jim Croce’s “Time In a Bottle” plays, and Peter (not Piotr) Maximoff begins weaving his way through the room, moving ten times faster than everything else. He moves the guards fists into a self-attacking position, and moves the bullets coming towards his friends. He even tastes some soup that happens to be flying through the air. Every threat in the room is instantly incapacitated, all in the time it takes Wolverine to push out his claws.
Naturally, each event following this one (which is actually quite insignificant in terms of the grand time travel plot at hand) pales in comparison to its spectacle, comedy, and perfect execution, but the rest of the movie is still an extremely well made political thriller/sci-fi drama. The conflict between mutants and humans fits perfectly into the activism of the 1970s, and the inclusion of President Nixon makes the struggle feel that much more believable.
In the end, the movie rights the wrongs of the franchise’s past, and cleverly connects the new generation of X-men with the old. Although the timeline that it fits into has since been brutally dissected, Days of Future Past‘s aura of excellence is diminished nonetheless.