I think at this point of the long hero movie history, we have all seen enough of super heroes saving the world. I don’t believe any audience would still be intimidated by vicious villain being jealous to the handsome hero and sworn to destroy the world (give me a break!). Despite the fact that supernatural heroic story is fundamentally attractive, which a lot of hero movies have taken advantages of, it’s actually the underlying morality that reflects the real, conflicting life of ours that connects us to the story. Many hero movies (the Marvel series, especially) have taken the easy way to adapt a rather straightforward storyline so that the visual presentations of the movie can be concentrated. We all know that it has been working so well for the movie makers and the fans, and I believe it will still be the major selling point for this genre, but luckily the new X-Men movie has finally shown some improvement on storytelling. It’s the hero movie that combines cool supernatural powers, social reality, politics, and one element that we have been loving since decades ago: time-traveling and butterfly effect. (Spoilers onward.)
The movie started with scenes set in a future time when everywhere seemed to be doomed. The mutants were seen escaping away from an army of strong and advanced robots known as Sentinels, who obviously overpowered them. Soon the original X-Men casts joined the group and revealed that it was the end of the world, and the cause of all these was to destroy their very own kind, but innocent humans had become the collateral damage. Here comes the exciting part: “no one can defeat the robots, not even Professor X and Magneto combined”.
To resolve the crisis, the group decided to send Logan back to the time when the key to everything happened: the murder of Dr. Trask by Mystique. Dr. Trask was the creator of Sentinels, he captured and experimented on mutants so he could find a way to destroy them. Mystique was infuriated to find out about his research, and she plotted to kill him so she could avenge her kind. Logan’s mission was to find the young Professor X and Magneto, and convince them to help stopping Mystique from killing Dr. Trask.
Let me tell you why is this a great story. First is the desperation, which we barely see in a hero movie. Bad-ass professor with iron octopus hands? Worry no more, Spiderman got this. An army of alien troops landing on earth to kill you all? Psshh, we got a hulk! But this, the Sentinels, they were indestructible. And there is only one final chance of stopping them, a solution that no one can guarantee its success. Now this is a kind of plot that draws you into the story, to make you fear and worry just as much as the heroes would, instead of just sitting back and watch how they pull off their beautiful stunts on saving the day.
Furthermore, each character in the story was so vividly portrayed. It wasn’t like “Oh hey, we have a common objective now, let’s just forget who we are and stick together for this shit”. Just as I thought how Charles and Erik would simply team up as buddies for the rest of the story, Erik, the legendary villain didn’t stop being a badass. He changed course and all of the sudden, mission went out of hand. Bravo to the writer for such a mess, now shit just got more interesting.
There are technically two types of story on movies. One focuses on concept, which gives you the extraordinary idea of something unreal but fascinating; another one focuses on details in life that you can feel closely towards. Most hero movies are the first type, because commercially speaking, visuals, stunts and character designs are sufficient for a hero movie to be profitable. But the new X-Men story is the combine of two, which is totally over the top.
I am rating it 4.5/5. Watch it when it’s still on cinema!