Now, I’m going to come out right from the start and say that the post below is going to be filled with spoilers. If you want to know my thoughts on the movie: it’s a not-true-to-the-comics, kind of problematic film that I still found enjoyable on various levels and in many ways. I wish to god they’d given female characters any kind of significant role in this film, and before you go all “But what about Mystique?”, what about her? Compared to the men she had a lot fewer lines, a lot less screen time, and when you consider the fact that she’s ultimately the one pushing the plot along, it’s a shame they didn’t do anything more with her. But, what do you expect when they apparently killed off most of the 1960’s female characters off screen and they never really did anything with the modern day female characters (*coughcoughStormcoughcough*). Anyway, on to the spoilery bits. Stop reading if you don’t want the twist foiled for you.
Now, when I say that this is the most accurate comic movie out there, I’m not saying that this movie was the truest to the source material, or that this movie looked like a comic (like the first shitty Hulk movie with the montages that were supposed to look like the cells on a comic book page). Here’s why this is the most accurate comic movie that’s been made:
It seriously got and accurately portrayed the retcon, especially Marvel’s version of the retcon.
So, tl;dr, the movie opens up in the horrible future where the Sentinels, giant and nearly unstoppable robots with the ability to adapt to any mutant powers they encounter and overcome said powers, have not only wiped out most mutants but also any humans who might get the mutant gene or have children with the mutation, or the humans who tried to help the mutants, leaving “only the very worst” of humanity in power. Most of the X-men have been wiped out except for a new cast of characters that include Warpath, Blink, Bishop, and a few we’ve seen before such as Pyro, Iceman, Storm, Kitty Pride, and Colossus. Wolverine and the Professor are also there as is Magneto, who has put aside his differences a long time ago to just try and survive. We learn that Kitty somehow has the ability to project people’s minds back in time which allow them to rewrite the future; for instance, let’s say the X-men are attacked by the Sentinels. Kitty projects Bishop’s mind back in time and they are able to avoid the Sentinel sweep by not even being there in the first place.
Professor X gets the idea to send one of them back in time far enough to keep the genesis event of the Sentinels from happening; Mystique finds out that a guy named Bolivar Trask (played by Peter Dinklage) has been conducting experiments on mutants ala Dr. Mengele, assassinates him, is captured in the process, the world realizes “Holy shit, mutants are dangerous”, and has her DNA used to create the super Sentinels that do all of the horrible stuff. They figure if they can keep her from killing Trask then they have a chance of staving off the Sentinels. The only problem is that Kitty can’t send anyone back that far because the process isn’t kind and anything more than a few months will tear the person up. For some reason Wolverine volunteers because his healing factor supposedly will repair the mental trauma as it happens to him (NOT THAT IT HAS EVER REPAIRED ANY OF THE MENTAL TRAUMA HE’S EVER SUFFERED OR HAS SUBJECTED THE AUDIENCE TO, THE WOLVERINE I’M LOOKING AT YOU NOW). They do the thing and Wolverine wakes up sometime around 1975, shortly before the end of the Vietnam War.
He goes to find the Professor only to find him a shell of a man. His experiences in X-men: First Class have left him a shadow of his former self, dosing himself with a drug that temporarily gives him the ability to walk at the expense of his powers. Xavier is depressed at the loss of both Erik and Raven/Mystique and has let everything go.
Blah blah blah, they break Magneto out of a prison beneath the Pentagon with the help of Quicksilver (who makes it very apparent who is daddy is) in one of the coolest examples of what it would be like to be someone with super speed, and they go hunting Raven once Magneto is convinced of what’s going on. They manage to foil the assassination but they still cause a huge scene when Magneto tries to kill Mystique in an effort to stave off the future, only in doing so he fucks up and Trask gets some of her DNA anyway.
Blah blah, Mystique goes to kill Trask and Nixon at the unveiling of the Sentinels (even though Ford was President at the end of Vietnam), Magneto goes to kill Trask and Nixon at the unveiling of the Sentinels, Professor X, Beast, and Wolverine go to stop them from killing Trask and Nixon at the unveiling of the Sentinels and the action in 1975 ends with Wolverine impaled with rebar and flung into Potomac, Mystique saves the President and Trask on public television by shooting Magneto in the throat, and Professor X uses Magneto’s powers to shut down the Sentinels (by getting into his head and making him do so) and allows Magneto to leave. Trask is arrested for selling his weapons’ technology to the Communists, mutants are seen as both being good and bad, and we get no apocalyptic future with giant, fire-spewing robots that look suspiciously like the Destroyer from Thor (I see what you did there, Fox).
The future altered, Wolverine’s consciousness snaps forward into a new, future timeline where not only were the Sentinels never implemented, BUT ALSO X-MEN 2 AND 3 NEVER HAPPENED. No Dark Phoenix, no evaporating Cyclops and Professor X, no bullshit on Alcatraz or Magneto riding the Golden Gate Bridge. NONE OF THOSE SHENANIGANS.
And that is why this was the most accurate comic movie ever made: because they used poorly thought out time-travel (for instance, the future was undone and thus not created yet Logan’s mind went forward into a timeline that hadn’t been established) to make it so that two huge plot arcs never, ever happened.
Was it the Wolverine Show staring Wolverine? Yes.
Was this a nearly complete and total sausagefest of a movie? Yes.
Was the complete cutting of Rogue from 99.99% of the movie nearly criminal? Yes.
Was it still a fun movie that beat the pants off of X-men 2 and 3? Oh hell yes.
I very much look forward to the next X-men movie (nice touch with the after credits scene foreshadowing the next film, Fox, it’s almost like you borrowed yet another page from Marvel’s success, bravo) where we get the original cast back AND NO MORE MOPEY, EMO WOLVERINE. FFS, if I had to sit through another movie of him whining about stabbing Jean Grey…
I wouldn’t recommend seeing this in the theater unless you really, desperately want to see it now, but you’ll probably enjoy it if you do.
ETA: I was corrected regarding the time frame of the movie, that the movie took place in ’73.