Fae Basir’s review published on Letterboxd:
The X-Men have always been one of my favorite superhero franchises/teams since I was young. I first got into the X-Men because of the classic 90s animated series which is heavily underrated. It explored such mature themes such as religion, prejudice, and genocide. It was these mature elements and strong characters and writing which got me into the X-Men. From there it grew and grew. In fact an X-Men comic had been the first comic I ever bought, so I'm obviously a huge X-Men fan so needless to say, I was hyped as anything for Days of Future Past, with it being the return of many cast and crew members plus an adaptation of a great storyline by Chris Claremont plus live action sentinels. I've also always loved the X-Men film franchise and I consider 5/6 of them great films ((I'm one of X-Men Origins: Wolverine's ten fans.)) with the only film in it I actively dislike being X-Men: The Last Stand. The trailers were also fantastically emotional and heartfelt which made me even more hyped up for this film. Now does Day of Future Past succeed? It does and it does amazingly.
I'm going to start with the strongest part of Days of Future Past and that's the acting. The acting in this film is incredible. Everyone in Days of Future Past does a fantastic job from the returning actors from the original trilogy to the returning First Class cast members, to the new actors such as Peter Dinklage as Bolivar Trask who does a fantastic job at delivering a nuanced but despicable performance and Evan Peters as Quicksilver who owns the character and delivers the smartass nature of his lines perfectly. I must also mention the fantastic job both Professor Xs from the past and future played by Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy as well as the past and future Magnetos played by Michael Fassbender and Ian McKellen, they alongside Hugh Jackman's Wolverine and Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique deliver the most emotional performances in the movie.
This leads into how fantastic the script is for Days of Future Past and damn is it fantastic. The script for Days of Future Past rightly balances the sad moments, the funny moments, and the action in perfect quantity. The script makes you care for the characters greatly even new characters like Blink, Sunspot and Bishop you care for because of the script is structured and written. The script also effectively builds a sense of dread of the Sentinels as well as a feeling of sadness but hope as well in its script. It is in this perfect mix that Days of Future Past truly becomes amazing as it doesn't become overwhelming sad and tragic but at the same time it contains just enough that the end is perfect and makes the whole experience worth it.
A good example of how strong the script is, is Storm's death when the monastery is attacked by Sentinels. Instead of the deaths in X-Men: The Last Stand which caused more annoyance or frustration rather then a feeling of sadness. Storm's death is exactly the opposite of this and it feels like a major moment. Another great moment in Days of Future Past's script are the moments between Professor X and Magneto. The film does an amazing job of showing how they've changed since the past and their moment of reconciliation before time is changed is utterly gorgeous, as is the past Professor X and Magneto's dialogue in the plane. I also must mention the scenes between young and old Professor X which had gorgeous dialogue as well as any interaction between Professor X and Mystique.
This leads into my next point which is how amazing the musical score for Days of Future Past is. It conveys the mood perfectly such as during the meeting between the two Professor Xs, Hans Zimmer's Time is used and it greatly adds to the scenes. Another great example of this is again, Storm's death and the music drowns out the sound effects. This as well as the reactions from the other X-Men helps make this scene as gorgeous as it is and it's why this scene is my favorite in the movie.
But I can't finish this review without mentioning the action and damn is it great looking. Bryan Singer's strong direction greatly adds to it as he's perfectly mastered the art of filming action such as the monastery attack which greatly flows with past Magneto's speech about mutant domination. Another great example is when Beast and Magneto fight as it's filmed chaotically which makes it look great. The sentinels feel powerful and add that to the strong script it makes the action have a real sense of weight to it.
Now how are the characters you ask? The characters are done perfectly. All of the future X-Men get enough development that we care for them when they're killed off and of course we already know Iceman, Colossus, Kitty Pryde, and Storm from the original trilogy of films. The past X-Men are all fleshed out very well and special shout-out to my favorite X-Man, Beast who kicked Magneto's ass in the film. Beast finally got the crowning moment of awesome he deserved! The Magnetos also got awesome moments such as Magneto taking down a huge amount of Sentinels in the future and in the past Magneto lifting a stadium. Colossus was also awesome by showing him destroying a Sentinel carrier plus how creative Blink uses her powers.
Not to mention Sunspot getting his arm ripped off and then continuing on afterwards until he was killed. Warpath also gets an awesome moment as he defiantly stands against the Sentinels as the last one left in the opening. Bishop sacrificing himself to destroy a group of Sentinels by overloading himself was also epic. Iceman also got use his iceslide! FINALLY! Overall though every character is used well in this including the ones I didn't mention.
Now how about the Sentinels you ask? Well I've got mixed feelings concerning them. The Future Sentinels are very scary and frightening but I'm not a huge fan of their design though it works. They kicked a lot of ass though and showing how dangerous they were was awesome. Being able to morph their bodies and adapt to use other powers was cool as well. Overall they did the job well. The past Sentinels are more comic accurate and they look fantastic. However the problem is, they're barely used which is disappointing. It's this lack of use which makes me feel mixed on the Sentinels and it's the only problem with the film in my honest opinion.
Final Rating for X-Men: Days of Future Past-9/10
Featuring a great script, great direction, great action, and an amazing score a lack of Sentinels doesn't hinder X-Men: Days of Future Past much if at all.