X-Men: Days of Future Past and Writing

Yes. It is that time again. The fourth installment of my superhero films and writing series. I began this series with Iron Man III. We then went to Thor: The Dark World, went on to Captain America: Winter Soldier, and now we have arrived at our latest with X-Men: Days of Future Past. For those of you who are coming late to the party, I do these because my novels are a part of this genre. I write what would be considered superheroic/superpowered, sci-fi fantasy novels. With the proliferation of movies that have been coming out over the last ten years in this genre, I felt that those in this genre can learn from watching these, both dos and don’ts.
This weekend, I went to the opening day showing of X-Men: Days of Future Past. I didn’t know what to expect. Actually, I was expecting not to like it all that much. However, I gave it a shot. I was presently surprised. The movie was good. Not Captain America: Winter Soldier good, but good nonetheless.

There were several things that writers could learn from, the first being setting. X-Men DoFP made a stark contrast in their two settings. One was set during the day and the other at night. Day and night. Light and dark. Good and evil. I didn’t have to guess where I was or who the good and bad guys were. This was laid out plainly.

This made it simpler to follow as they used another storytelling element: flashbacks. Technically speaking, it wasn’t a flashback in the standard sense we see in novels but it worked similarly since there was time travel involved. There was a going back and forth between the settings and, I gotta hand it to them, they handled this rather well. There was no extraneous use of the device but it was employed when necessary and towards the climax, used to build tension. I gotta give ’em kudos on that.

The character development was where it began to falter a bit but to their credit, it’s hard to do a whole lot of character development within a little over two hours with three or four main characters. Out of all of them, Professor X had the most interesting with his struggles and triumphs.

Empire-X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past-CoversThe most out of place and just off character was Quicksilver. If you go see the movie, know this: that is not how he acts and it most certainly is not an improvement on the character. Just makes him appear shallow and unnecessary. He’s a character that if he wasn’t there, the movie wouldn’t have suffered one bit. Faux pas. All characters, great or small in writing should matter and have a defined purpose for being there. Throw away characters like that are a sign of bad editing.

The dialogue was weak. I don’t know what the deal was but those lame one liners didn’t do the movie any justice. They weren’t timed right and to top it off, they’re weren’t funny. Lines were put in there just to be funny, not because they were an extension of the character. No memorable dialogue whatsoever.

Overall, the movie was rushed a bit. This is one of those X-Men storylines that take a trilogy or in the very least, two movies to tell fully with film. We novelists call this pacing. If it takes two stories to tell right, tell it in two stories. Don’t rush because you want to get a novel out. Be grateful that you have enough material for two.

This is not the worse movie in the X-Men franchise. It’s not the best either. But I learned from this one when it comes to my writing and you can too so go check it out then come back here and tell me what you think.

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