X-Men: Days of Future Past

.... so we went and saw Days of Future Past today, and I mulled about it for awhile, and then I read a review that was linked on Tumblr (SPOILERS OBVIOUSLY), which caused me to have slightly ranty thoughts, which are under the cut because of spoilers. (I did actually enjoy the movie, but many of my thoughts on it are ranty ones.)

Technically the following was written as a tumblr comment to a reblog of the above link, because I thought I was just going to add a few lines and then I wrote a whole post.

The thing is, as a long-time X-Men fan, I pretty much got what I wanted out of the movie (playing the ever-entertaining game of "spot the mutant"; Charles and Erik engaging in their epic decades-long metaphorical chess game; explosions) and I at least knew ahead of time about the major change from the comics storyline that ticked me off (Wolverine, whyyyy) but the movie managed to consistently fail my already low expectations regarding the role of anyone who wasn't Charles, Erik, or Logan.

It's not like the X-Men franchise doesn't have a history of underutilizing female and PoC characters, so you know, forewarned is forearmed, but STILL. The only good surprise in that area was that Mystique's redemption and choices played a much more central role in the movie than I expected. I liked that, and contrary to the above-linked review, I felt like she was given more agency than merely a tool in Charles and Erik's tug of war (because, let's face it, we didn't really get anyone's inner life in the movie -- as my husband said, walking out of it, "You know what I like about the Avengers movies? Sometimes the characters just sit down and have a cup of coffee."). I mean, this is not to say I had zero problems with Mystique's storyline, but I was really pleased and surprised that her choices and emotional arc turned out to be as important as it was.

However, the rest of it. OMFG.

The biggest insult is that they had not just one but two characters who made more sense as the viewpoint-character emissary to the past than Wolverine: Kitty and Bishop. Bishop was a character I really loved in the comics, and I genuinely grinned my head off when he showed up early in the movie -- except all he gets is a couple of brief fight scenes (cameos, really). Bishop has canonical time-travel abilities and his comics storyline involves traveling back in time from a Sentinel-dystopic future. GEE, HOW COULD THAT POSSIBLY BE APROPOS TO A MOVIE ABOUT SENTINELS AND TIME TRAVEL. BUT NO.

And then there's Kitty, whose powers are key to sending Wolverine back in time. Which is kind of the cherry topping of WTF NO, because Days of Future Past in the comics is originally her story, and now that I've seen the movie, I'm even MORE pissed off -- it makes just as much sense (if not more, actually) to tweak the plot so that instead of Kitty only being able to phase Wolverine back, she can only phase herself back. The plot literally does not change at all if it's Kitty being physically present in the past instead of Wolverine traveling back into his younger body; there's absolutely nothing (that I can remember) about Wolverine's role in the movie that couldn't have been filled by Kitty -- actually, quite frankly, filled infinitely better by Kitty, since seeing the past through the eyes of a curious Kitty meeting a young Charles and Erik, and investigating a time period before she was born, would have been far more interesting than jaded, cynical Wolverine, who remembers the '70s perfectly well and has little difficulty finding Charles and Erik or adjusting to their younger versions.

And those are just the things that annoyed me MOST. There's also assorted other things, none of which is that bad all by itself but they all add up to a big pile of NO ... like the choice of Beast as Charles's main friend/sidekick/assistant in the movie, a role that could have been filled by literally any character (it's not like the two of them have a uniquely special relationship that requires Beast to be around). I like Beast, it's not that I have anything against him, but this means that 90% of the character interaction in the movie is between four white guys, when it would have been REALLY EASY to drop in, say, Storm or Jean or Emma or Moira instead. (Moira would have made all kinds of sense, actually, since she's Charles's canonical love interest AND has already been in the previous movie.) In addition to that, Beast has control over his powers now, which means he's gone from being a very visible mutant to essentially passing as a non-mutant human (again, not bad by itself, but that makes all of the major mutant protagonists normal-human-passing).

Or there's Storm being pretty much useless in the final battle against the Sentinels (okay, not completely useless, but Storm is a GODDESS OF WEATHER and one of the X-Men's heavy hitters, and she basically gets to shoot some bolts of lightning and then get stabbed).

... it's really not any one thing, it's just a sort of conglomerate of ALL OF THEM. The thing about the X-Men comics (and one of the reasons why I liked them so much as a teenager) is that they have this huge, diverse cast, full of women and people of various backgrounds and people with visible differences, and the movies literally have to change things from the comics on purpose to end up being essentially four white guys having an adventure. And I like them all individually! I do! (Well, except Wolverine who I USED to really like until he was in EVERYTHING but that's a rant for a different time. XD) I still adore Charles and Erik and their complicated relationship. I just ... this movie frustrated me a lot, because it not only wouldn't have been hard to add more diversity, but it would literally have made more sense than what they actually did.

ALL THEY WOULD HAVE HAD TO DO, to have a much more diverse movie, is just follow the comics storyline. That's not a high bar.

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You know I am totally okay with new canon being created about white dudes. I like white dudes. But changing existing comic canon to remove the heroines and replace them with white dudes? Not on! :(

I haven't seen the movie yet, but I'm glad I read this review to prepare me because I would have been bitterly disappointed if I went into it unknowing.
RIGHT?! I am not opposed to white dudes. I love quite a lot of them! I will probably watch Charles and Erik 'til the cows come home, damn me and my FEEEELINGS. XD But they really had to go out of their way to make this particular story as white and dudely as it is, and that's just annoying.
ha, thanks for the link - I really enjoyed that! I think it's pretty close to my complaints, really - and awww, I love the review being written in Kitty's voice; that's adorable. :D
I thought it was more than just a fun popcorn movie. Even the large cast didn't feel like overload. And it was nice that it tied up some loose ends left in X3.