X-Men: Days Of Future Past arrives today, and drops an ending that will be really, really confusing to people who don’t read comic books. So we explain! As you may have guessed, there are spoilers.
So you’ve seen it?
I have! It’s pretty good! The best parts are really in the first act; Quicksilver’s sequence in particular is a standout and quite hilarious, although the movie deserves praise for using the time travel gimmick in both funny and brutal ways. The movie is overall solid and a fun little action flick, although its mind-screw of the final few minutes may be confusing for some.
Yeah, what was that? Cyclops and Jean are alive? What the hell?
Welcome, my friends, to the wonderful world of comic books. Specifically what we nerds call “retroactive continuity”, or “retconning” for short.
Here’s the deal: Back in the day, nobody thought that comic books would be anything other than discreet publications. The idea that the events of Captain America would affect the events of Namor wasn’t considered. Once that started happening, massive plot holes opened up. By the same token, they also ran out of ideas as some point, and that was when they brought characters back from the dead, revealed that one character was a twin or a clone, what have you. Thus, the continuity was changed retroactively.
OK, so what happened in the movie?
Well, basically, Wolverine’s actions back in 1973 have changed what happened in the X-Men movies. It appears that X-Men: The Last Stand never happened, and good riddance, and events from the rest of the series may have unfolded slightly differently. Basically, Fox rebooted the X-Men franchise without getting rid of the actors.
…This happens a lot in comic books?
We comics nerds use “retconning” as a verb.
Why did Fox do this?
To keep the brand strong, to bring Famke Janssen and James Marsden back into the fold, and because Fox wants to launch a lot of X-Men movies. This movie in fact ends with a teaser for the next movie, X-Men: Apocalypse, and there’s a third Wolverine on the way. The fact that this movie is going to rake in massive bucks will definitely help.
So I should get used to this?
Only if the franchise hires Brett Ratner again, we’re guessing.