Monday, May 26, 2014

Days of Future Continuity Errors

Let's not waste any time getting into this. Like most comic fans, I was both excited and trepidatious when I heard that Fox's next X-Men movie was Days of Future Past. I loved this story arc in both the comics and the cartoon. Anyone who's read those issues will tell you that the cartoon took some liberties with the story line. Keeping that in mind, it should be no surprise that the movie took some liberties as well. I'm not going to go into the actual plot - go see the damn movie! After watching the entire movie (post-credit scene included) my head hurt, and there was so much that I wanted to express that I feel the need to get it all out there into the ether that is the internet. First off....Who needs continuity? Easy....we all do! Mostly us elitist, nit-picky, comic fans need it. Nothing pleases us more than to spot even the tiniest of errors in plot and storytelling. The problem with Hollywood is that after so many movies, with different writers and directors, a franchise starts to forget the groundwork that started with the first movie. For this blog, I'll assume we are all familiar with the events of X-Men, X2, X-Men 3: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Wolverine, and X-men: First Class. Look at that list - 6 movies! That's a lot of history to keep track of when building movie 7, especially when movie 7 is acting as a bridge between two separate time lines(keep that part in mind, it will come into play later). So, let's look at the movies in chronological order (not release date) X-Men: First Class takes place in the 60s with the climax being the Bay of Pigs. Here we see how Professor X and Magneto meet, become friends and eventually enemies. Not a bad telling as far as prequel/reboots go. Yes, I said reboot. This movie felt like it was meant to reboot the franchise after the devastating end of X-Men 3. This gives us some of our principle characters of the X-Men franchise, as well as some other characters that we may or may not see again. X-Men Origins: Wolverine takes place primarily in the late 70s. This is where Wolverine volunteers for the Weapon X project, gets his adamantium, and loses his memory. The key takeaway here is that he chose the join the program. He and Victor Creed joined together (after a shooting squad incident)and were recruited by William Stryker. This movie basically ends with Logan having no memory and sets us up for where the franchise really began... X-Men. Late 90s, early 2000. This is the basic story most of us know - The X-men against The Brotherhood of (Evil) Mutants. Not a lot here to take note of, as it does not come up in the new movie. X2 is the movie the first showed us William Stryker and the Weapon X Project. Stryker plans on using his mutant son (whom he's experimented on) and Charles Xaiver's telepathic abilities to kill all the mutants in the world. Of course, Magneto tries to turn that around into killing all humans. I mainly want to focus on Stryker right now. Here is where (in the big reveal near the end) he informs Wolverine that they worked together and that joining the program was a choice Logan made willingly. X-Men 3: The Last Stand has been decried as a horrible movie, but for the most part I enjoyed it. This is mainly a new spin on the Dark Phoenix Saga (without the spaceships) The big shocker, and the part that I think pissed everyone off was the supposed demise of the Professor at the hands of one of his students. Jean basically disintegrates Xaiver right in front of Magneto. Of course, we assume Scott met a similar fate since we've not seen him since he left earlier to find Jean, but that's neither here not there (I had a great theory for this, but I doubt that's the way they'll go now). One thing that comes into play in the next movie is that to defeat the Dark Phoenix and save everyone Wolverine has to kill Jean. It should also be noted that the central plot point here revolves around a cure for mutation that is being forced on the mutants of the world. Of course, that's how they defeat Magneto - injecting him with the cure and leaving him without his powers....until right before the credits where he starts to shake a metal chess piece just by pointing at it. I did want to comment on that end scene. That, I feel, was the saddest part of the movie. Despite their opposing view points, Xaiver and Magneto were friends. It is a classic image, the two of them playing chess against one another. In the comics, and movies, that is a perfect metaphor for their relationship. So, seeing Eric sitting alone at a chess board without his oldest friend kind of tugs at the heart strings. IF you stayed for the post credit scene there, you know Xaiver transferred his consciousness into a body on Muir Island that is in the care of Moira MacTaggart. The Wolverine, a better attempt at a solo movie for what is the most popular X-Men character. This is some time after X3. Wolverine is still haunted by the ghost of Jean and the fact that he killed her. He ends up in Japan to pay back a debt from something he did back in WW II. He saved the life of a young Japanese man that is now a huge captain of industry. Fans familiar with the Frank Miller/Chris Claremont mini-series are already familiar with the broad strokes of this story. I enjoyed this one. There was more action, more of Wolverine actually doing what he does best (killing people) and more development of Wolverine as a lost warrior just searching for honor, redemption, and purpose. Here he gets his claws (adamantium and all) cut off by some giant heated sword, but the bone part grows back. So, he is left with an adamantium skeleton, but bone claws. It makes sense that the claws would grow back and heal because bone is organic matter, and Wolverine has a healing factor. It also makes sense that the metal would not because while it is bonded to the bone it is not organic and is not part of his actual body. We also have to consider laws of physics and matter. There was only so much adamantium attached to his skeleton to begin with, part of that was cut off. No new amount of metal was added, so the existing adamantium would not be able to just miraculously increase to cover the new bone once the claws were fully healed. The end of this shows Wolverine walking through an airport. Everyone freezes. Xaiver (not dead and looking like himself, what the body a doppelganger?) and Magneto appear asking for Wolverine's help. Keep in mind this is a modern, non-futuristic airport. Now on to the movie (and point of this blog) that this ties into... Days of Future Past. Set in the near future (2023) and 1973. First error...the date. It is 2023 but they stopped Wolverine in the airport sometime around 2013 maybe? I guess they could have needed his help with something else that took ten years. It was great to see the whole gang again, and some new faces. Colossus is back, so is Iceman and Shadowcat. Rogue. Oh...Storm is back, but really, who cares? I was more excited to see Bishop and Blink in this movie. Both looked badass, and the fight scenes with Blink opening portals were pretty cool. I was bummed to see that Iceman and Kitty were together, and not Kitty and Colossus, that would have been a nice nod to the comics. And since I'm talking about Kitty Pryde, they kept her phasing power that she displayed in X-Men 3, but added some other thing where she can send people's minds back in time to their younger bodies. WTF? Where did this come from? If they would have explained it as an extension of her phasing ability I might have bought it, but as it stands it is a forced plot device. They are in a room with the most powerful telepath on the planet, why not have him send Wolverine's mind back in time. (Did you think that there would be and X-Men movie where Wolverine didn't steal the show?) They send Wolverine back to 1973, where he wakes up in bed with some woman he was supposed to be protecting. From what I remember of Origins, he and Creed were in Vietnam sometime around this period. There is a lot going on in this movie with intertwining, but like I said - go watch it. We see William Stryker again, this time assisting Trask with the Sentinel project. This at least explains how Stryker got into experimenting on mutants, but not how he was so much younger in 1973 than he appears to be just a few short years later in Origins. I'm going to go ahead and jump to where Stryker pulls Wolverine's body out of the Potomac and from there takes him into Weapon X (or so it is intimated). What happened the part about being a volunteer? In a nice one off comment, Trask asks how Stryker's son is doing, so at least they remembered that part. They explained what happened to the other cast members of First Class (all but Emma really) Remember that cure? Apparently Beast created something similar to help hide his mutation, that somehow also helps Xavier walk. Not sure how changing his DNA cured paralysis, but who needs a reasonable explanation? Without spoiling too much, the movie closes on a future that looks normal and not so dark. The school is there, filled with kids. It was pretty awesome seeing Kelsey Grammer come back and do a Beast cameo. Also the big reveal that Jean and Scott are there and alive. Wolverine still remembers the other time line where Jean was dead and so was the Professor, but that is not the time line we are in now. So, they changed the future for what seems like the better. The post credit scene is the best part, and I feel like only a handful of people in the theater got it because was subtle. The image of a young mutant in ancient Egypt that is levitating the blocks to build the pyramids. Everyone around him is chanting: En Sabah Nur. Comic geeks know that is the real name of Apocalypse. They've already announced the next X-Men movie for 2016 will be X-Men: Apocalypse - an adaptation of the Age of Apocalypse storyline. I hope we get to see Cable in there, as well as Gambit the King of Thieves. If First Class was a reboot, Days of Future Past rebooted the reboot. Events were changed from 1973 forward, and it would seem that mutants were allowed to live among us a bit more openly (of course, I'm just guessing since a mutant saved Nixon on live TV) With the future changed, how much of the other movies in the franchise happened? None of them! This movie starts up a whole new timeline in which X-Men, X2, X3, and both Wolverine movies did not happen, or they did not happen in the exact same way. This gives Fox some more freedom to create new stories without having to worry about tie ins from the other movies (did that stop them before, though?) It obviously negated everything from The Last Stand and The Wolverine. My feeling is that Apocalypse will close out the franchise. After that, Fox should just let Marvel have it back and we can be just that much closer to a unified Marvel Cinematic Universe. Have you seen Days of Future Past? What continuity errors did you spot? --- Last Quote: Take Me Home Tonight Todays's Quote: "Are you gonna pick that shit up?"

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