X-Men Days of Future Past is supposed to be the movie that fixes all of the damage done to Fox’s X-Men franchise by X-Men 3 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (although X-Men: Origins didn’t really kill the main storyline as badly as X3 did). This review will cover the basic differences between the theatrical release and the Rogue Cut of the movie.
The basic premise of this movie is confusing for new people jumping on. More or less, this movie is made for the people who enjoyed the first two movies, the prequel movie (First Class), and the excellent standalone Wolverine movie. In this movie, the older X-Men (the ones from X1-3), are in a bad future scenario. Evil alien robots known as Sentinels were created because of a violent mutant attack and thus, the Sentinel Project was approved and evolved. In this bad future, the Sentinels are built using Mystique’s mutant DNA. For those unfamiliar, Mystique has the ability to change into any other mutant, which allows the Sentinels to exploit the weaknesses of any mutant they try to apprehend. One of the mutants, Shadowcat, has the ability to pass through walls and can apparently phase people’s brains back in time into younger versions of themselves. Her character was established in X3, and I know this power is canon in the comics, but it doesn’t make sense that she can time travel and pass through walls. It feels a little bit too convenient. But if she couldn’t do it, there’d be no movie.
Basically, the remaining mutants have joined forces in order to survive. This includes super rivals, Magneto and Professor X. They realize that the only way to stop this bad future scenario is to send somebody back in time far enough to stop the mutant attack in the past and prevent the launch of the Sentinel Project. The only mutant who can survive the time travel is Wolverine. Hugh Jackman has consistently played an excellent Wolverine and it feels like a safe bet to make him the guy since, in the comics, Shadowcat does the time traveling. Putting all of the chips on Hugh for this definitely pays off. The mutants decide to protect Wolverine from the futuristic Sentinels to give him time to seek out younger versions of Magneto and Professor X. As you can see, it’s a pretty involved set-up.
It’s important to note that this movie, despite it’s heavy references to X1-3, is primarily a sequel to the very awesome, X-Men: First Class. Wolverine is sent back in time to help the characters established in the prequel movie, so a lot of the conflict is a direct result of the ending of that movie. Professor X got paralyzed, Magneto realized he has to protect mutant-kind on his own, and Mystique ran off with Magneto after feeling betrayed and unaccepted by Professor X. The mutant attack that is the catalyst for the whole movie was executed by Mystique. She got wind of the Sentinel Project that was organized by Boliver Trask. I’ll try to point out some “non-fixes” to this “fix-all” movie as I go. You can tell that the studio didn’t really care about them either, so that’s why they cherry-picked which ones to overlook. Boliver Trask was in X3 (the one we’re supposed to forget) and was a black man. In this movie, he is a white midget. Those are pretty different.
Wolverine wakes up in his younger body with the knowledge of his future self. He then seeks out Professor X, who is locked up in his mansion. He has been taking shots of medicine, along with his only remaining companion, Beast, in order to suppress their mutant powers and appear normal. This was the entire plot of X3, and yet these two dudes made a “cure” in their 1970’s house. I know they’re smart, but damn does it just feel really convenient. Professor X is incredibly bitter about getting paralyzed by Magneto and losing Mystique. He’s a drunk and Wolverine has a hard time convincing him of the danger. Beast, Professor X, and Wolverine then have to seek out Magneto to try and stop Mystique. To do this, they need somebody who can help them break into the Pentagon, since everyone thinks that Magneto killed JFK.
The characters seek out the help of Quicksilver, a character who appears in Avengers Age of Ultron, to break them in. I think the X-Men version of Quicksilver is the more entertaining one to watch. He has a lot of personality and just seems like he is having a complete blast at all times. Perhaps one of the best scenes of the movie is when you see an entire super-huge scene through his perspective. Time slows down so and he runs around and re-positions bullets, gear, and people in order to escape a bad situation. It’s a giant shame that this character is only used to rescue Magneto and not utilized for the rest of the movie. I can think that a lot of situations that would have been resolved a lot easier if they had this guy around.
The rest of the movie is your cliche X-Men movie. Everybody trusts everybody and then the people who you think will switch sides end up doing so. Magneto becomes the movie’s bad guy and Mystique ultimately makes the smart choice to save all mutant-kind. Because of this, the timeline in the future is fixed, everybody lives, and the Sentinel Program never happens. It’s cliche for the franchise but it works. It does everything the movie wants to do.
This next paragraph contains spoilers for the Rogue Cut of the movie. Please don’t read if you want to watch this version fresh on your own.
In the theatrical version, when Wolverine sees the man who filled his body with metal, he freaks out and loses control. I suspect it’s because of the inner-conflict caused by the suppressed memories of what happened during this procedure. He is thrashing about in the future while Shadowcat tries to keep things steady with the brain transfer. He slashes at her with his metal claws. In the standalone Wolverine movie, however, he lost the metal in his claws. A theory for why he has metal now is that the metal from his skeleton regenerated to coat his claws again. I suspect that this is Fox’s way of saying: “If you didn’t watch that movie- it’s okay. Everybody knows Wolverine has metal claws.” It’s an easy jumping on point for the people who didn’t see that movie I guess.
Anyways, Shadowcat gets cut up pretty bad. In the theatrical version, she toughs it out and makes it to the end of the movie. However, in the Rogue Cut, her boyfriend Bobby Drake (Iceman), doubts that she can finish. He knows where Rogue is and tells the group. Rogue has the ability to copy another person’s powers, which is why they want her around; to take Shadowcat’s place. I can understand why this was cut from the theatrical version because it really is kind of pointless. It makes the movie more fun for fans of the franchise because they get to see Rogue. But she doesn’t have any speaking parts, really, and she’s only there for nostalgia, I think. They did cut her rescue really nicely with a scene already in the movie so that it all lined up and flowed perfectly, but overall it just felt pointless. I think the director made a good call by cutting it from the theatrical release.
This version of the movie, like I said, is for fans. The only difference between the two versions of the movie is Rogue being rescued and used to take Shadowcat’s place. It felt different enough, but didn’t serve the overall plot.
Overall, Days of Future Past is a solid X-Men movie, and is tied for my third favorite X-Men movie (ranked: X-Men: First Class, Wolverine, and then a tie for third with X-Men 2). It’s a great movie with a lot of excellent acting. The set-up for the movie takes a little bit, but once it gets going it’s a pretty exciting ride. Michael Fassbender is definitely one of the best ongoing villains in a superhero franchise and he brings a lot of excellent stuff to his character.
If you already bought the theatrical cut of this movie when it first came out, you should stay away from the Rogue Cut. If you didn’t, it’s a solid deal to get both versions of the movie and a ton of special features.