Friday, 23 May 2014

The Days of Future Past in the X-Men Franchise

You see what I did there with the title? Future Past? X-Men? Play on the title of the new movie? No? Okay.

So, far I am legitimately the ONLY one in all my friends and acquaintances (ten people) who disagrees with the general consensus on the movie 'X-MEN: Days Of The Future Past'. Critics, reviewers, fans - everybody is literally gushing over the film but is it really that good?

I'm going to have to start with the title. I am aware of the fact that the title doesn't define the movie but 'Days of the Future Past' has to be the worst title ever! Subtitle actually. Or whatever. Does it even make grammatical sense? I feel like zero energy and effort were put into naming the film. It is honestly the most unimaginative, and literal title I have had the misfortune of coming across.

X-Men: Days of the Future Past is based in a dystopian future when the world has been taken over by killer robots (of course this is original!). These robots were created to kill mutants but went rogue, and started killing anyone who had even the slightest connection with mutants and their mutations. Mutants decide to save the day by sending Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back into the past to stop the event that led to all this.

Although, the story boasts of complexity, in reality, however, people are forgetting that 90% of the movie only follows Wolverine, Beast, Prof X and Magneto as they chase Mystique down to stop her from shooting Trask (creator of Sentinels): the event that spirals out of control into a bleak and dark future.

When Jackman arrives in the past, Magneto is in prison for killing JFK and so it is decided that he must be freed. There is an extensive albeit hilarious breakout scene featuring Quicksilver which proves to be the undoing of the main characters. Magneto was meant to help them stop the creation of the Sentinels instead he ends up making the situation worse and then abandoning the protagonists to follow an evil path - entirely his own. Notably, Quicksilver's powers would have been much more handy and much less messy in stopping Mystique and the decision to leave him behind seems inexplicable.

Coming back to the other 10% of the story, it is quite unfortunate, but the action sequences are seriously lacking. Mystique's fighting scenes are repetitive, Wolverine's fighting scenes are non-existent because he can't fight with his non-metal claws, and the beast hardly ever uses his powers. Moreover, Professor Xavier can't use his powers as a result of a drug that allows him to walk. When he does come around to using his powers, he is too weak to provide an substantial result. Hence, the movie spans a multitude of  long narratives instead, through which (surprisingly) he is able to convince the villains of the hour against their villainy.

The film ends on a predictable happy note with an altenate future in which all of the previous characters are alive since none of the events of the past films have occurred. For instance - Jean and Scott are alive. This means our money, time, and patience were all truly wasted watching the previous films as none of it ever happened.

'...characters diagnose and cure each other through the power of motivational speechifying...[Xavier] eventually pumps everyone up slowly, empathetically, boringly.' -

This could not get any worse but unfortunately, it does. The cast of the film is bloody amazing! James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart are as usual fantastic as Charles Xavier as are Micheal Fassbender and Ian McKellen as Magneto. Peter Dinklage plays Bolivar Trask with panache. Moreover, there is Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Halle Berry (Storm), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), Ellen Paige (Shadowcat), James Marsden Nicolas Hoult (Beast), Lucas Till (Havok) and I am not even halfway through the cast. The acting prowess of these actors is commendable and the movie felt short to fully showcase their abilities.

I love the X-Men.; the comics and all but the truth is that the X-Men franchise is a huge disappointment. People keep saying that the movie is a huge improvement from The Last Stand  however, the point is not the compare it to other films from the franchise. It is a better than The Last Stand, yes, but that doesn't make it any good. Much like its predecessor, apart from a few chuckles and mediocre graphics, the film really doesn't offer much to the viewer.

X-Men movies have stopped depicting what the comics and its characters stand for. The standards of this franchise have been falling for a while now, and the The Last Stand did hit an all new low. The only hope is that now that rock bottom has been hit - there is no way but up!

To conclude - eh!

1/5 stars

P.s - There was a post-credit scene that I obviously missed, as did everyone else in my hall. #StopThePost-CreditScenes. The short scene introduced Apocalypse as the new villain of the series.

Similar Reads: Den of Geek 11 questions about X-Men Days Of Future Past answered

Sunday, 4 May 2014

One Half of the Question

As a part of a country, we all expect certain rights and comforts of being its citizens, security, clean water; unending flow of electricity, laws …and the list goes on. Yet, we do not always receive what we deserve and we can rightly blame the government for being to corrupt; too embedded in its own self-interest. We, however, often forget our end of the bargain. As citizens, although we have rights, we also have duties so the question isn’t just ‘what my country can do for me, it is – ‘What my country can do for me and what I can do for my country’.

The biggest concern in the world right now is the lack of clean, fresh and drinkable water and, we expect our country to provide it to us. We, here in India force the government to clean the Yamuna, the Ganges…all the polluted rivers of India. Then, when the government fails, we denounce it. The question is why was the river so polluted in the first place? As citizens of the country, our duty is to keep the water sources clean and to not waste it if it is available. That is what we can do for our country; this is what I can do for my country which is essential for it to provide me with clean water.

The other day, a certain radio show featured a segment wherein the radio jockey called up the electricity company to ask him why there was such a shortage if electricity in our country. The call was made to make the employee feel uncomfortable about the thousands of people who sit in forty-five degrees of temperature without electricity. Provision of electricity is what my country can do for me. However, has anyone paused to think that maybe if collectively, we were not all guilty of wasting electricity, there probably would not have been a shortage anyway. Switching off lights and fans is a must in the duties of what I can do for my country- also one of the easiest duties which so many of us simply forget to do.

The government of each country emphasizes on welfare- related goals and growth and development of a country. Free or subsidized education and healthcare is a provision made by most countries, Indian being one if them. We all must feel that this is what my country can do for me especially if I am less fortunate. Yet, we do not realise that availing those facilities not only benefits us but, also the country as a whole. You must be wondering how? It is quite simple really; free education till the age of fourteen means more children will be educate themselves which will enable them to look for better jobs and earn better. This has multiple positive effects - two prominent ones being: first, the crime rate of the country will fall because people may not need to sustain themselves through these crimes anymore; secondly, through basic economics one has learn that a better educated population propels the country forward towards economic and social growth. In short, we will have better living standards.

Similarly, free health checkups allows more people to afford to get themselves checked which could translate into early detection of contagious diseases making the environment and people around the patient safer as well as a quicker start to counter the effects of the disease and medicate it. You see how simple things you and I can do for this country can make this country better as a whole?

At one point in time, being in the army and police was prestigious and highly respected. Nowadays, also because of the falling number of wars, and growing perceived inefficiencies of the police is causing a drop in their membership. Personally, I feel that it is wrong to demean such courage. The army and police make it easy for us to fall asleep every night and not have to watch our backs every waking moment.

Do it for your country, if not by enrolling in it, respect the professions because they deserve it. Just like it is the duty of army or police officials to protect a civilian in danger; it is our duty to assist them in their attempts to make this country a safer place. It’s small things that make a big difference.

Last but not the least; the problem that we as citizens are increasingly encountering is corruption. Corruption is like pollination. It spreads just as one seed spreads to a different location. Slowly and steadily, it has seeped into our system and like vines it, now, has a tenacious grip on the legal framework. Most people rally to the country to get rid of it but, the key to its removal lie in our hands- yours and mine.

Firstly, we must definitely vote. In a popular report, findings say that 46.8% of the population in the cities doesn't vote. Why? Unless you make a thorough case for yourself and vote for who you think is a better party, how will the country progress?

Secondly, corruption did not start at such a high level. No, it started small with you and I bribing the police officer when we skip the red-light; with you and I fixing the outcome of cricket matches to win our wagers; with you and I accepting the bribery from officials to vote for them in the parliament. This and got to stop and that we what we can must do for our country.

Today, I have talked about only a few things from a huge list of duties that you and I have forgotten to fulfill. It is a two way street and we must not solely ask ourselves ‘what my country can do for me’ but also, ‘what I can do for my country’. All this whining and complaining is less effective than just getting up and doing something about it.