Story

X-Men: Days of Future Past opens with a prologue from Charles Xavier/Professor X (Patrick Stewart). He says that in the past humans invented terminator-like machines called Sentinels. At first their role was to find and kill mutants. But later the Sentinels began to hunt and kill humans, whom they saw as a threat. As a result both mutants and humans face extinction.

Xavier and Magneto/Erik Lensherr (Ian McKellen) have traced the development of the Sentinel Program to a time when the mutant Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) murdered Dr Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage). Xavier and Magneto devise a plan to change the past. This involves sending Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back to the 1970s to locate the younger versions of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender). He must convince the two archenemies to work together to stop Mystique from murdering Trask.

Before Charles and Erik can work together, Wolverine must free Erik from a high-security prison under the Pentagon. He does this with the help of a mutant called Quicksilver (Evan Peters).

Themes

Time travel; superheroes; genetic experimentation and mutation

Violence

X-Men: Days of Future Past contains sequences of intense science fiction action violence and destruction with many deaths. There are some gruesome images of torture and mutilation, and occasional blood and gore. For example:

  • In two battle scenes hundreds of Sentinels (terminator-like machines) drop from gigantic flying pods and attack superhuman mutants. The Sentinels can transform to imitate the superpowers used by the mutants they’re attacking. There are explosions, liquid fire, impaling and decapitation.
  • A mutant uses a handgun to shoot a man in cold blood in the centre of his forehead. The scene shows the bullet hole with minimal blood.
  • Four humans shoot a mutant man several times in the chest. The bullet wounds appear in his chest and then the bullets are expelled from the wounds, which heal instantly. Blades project out of the mutant’s fists, and he attacks the four men who shot him. He uses his fist blades to stab and kill his attackers. There is the sound of the blades punching through flesh.
  • Throughout the movie Mystique engages in supernatural, stylised fighting to attack and disable dozens of civilians and soldiers. In one battle Mystique uses her foot to pin a man against a wall, pressing against his throat until he becomes unconscious.
  • A woman places her open hands to either side of a man’s head and blue beams of energy fire into his head, causing him to cry out in pain.
  • A man is made unconscious after being shot with a Taser. His body convulses as he is electrocuted.
  • A beast-like mutant attacks a man, holding him under water in a fountain. Blood from the man mixes with the water.
  • A mutant uses his magnetic superpowers to lift an entire football stadium into the air. He then flies it and lowers it over the White House as if imprisoning the occupants.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

X-Men: Days of Future Past is full of images and characters that will scare children under eight years. For example:

  • There is a futuristic scene that shows hundreds of entangled dead bodies being expelled from a building onto a waste land of debris.
  • There are images of burned and bloody faces.
  • Photographs show mutants who have been experimented on and killed.
  • One mutant has an amphibian-like appearance with a long tongue that can shoot a couple of metres out of his mouth. Another looks like a blue werewolf. Another can transform her appearance to look like any human she wishes. There’s a squelching sound as she changes. 
From 8-13

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above and also by a scene in which a mutant uses his powers to stitch up a wound in the back of his own head. He uses a hand mirror suspended by an invisible force to see the wound. He guides a needle and thread with invisible force through the flesh of his scalp and stitches the wound. 

Over 13

Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above. 

Sexual references

X-Men: Days of Future Past has some sexual references. For example:

  • Four men burst into a hotel room to find a man in bed with a woman. One of the men says, ‘Sleeping with the boss’s daughter’.
  • A man and woman flirt with each other in a hotel room. The woman acts seductively towards the man and the man says, ‘Show me more baby – clothes off’. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

X-Men: Days of Future Past shows some use of substances. For example:

  • A man drinks several glasses of scotch. It seems that he’s trying to get drunk. There are several empty bottles on a nearby table.
  • A couple of scenes show a man lighting and smoking a large cigar.
  • A man injects himself with a serum that enables him to walk.
  • A man tells another man that someone gave him acid and that he was ‘on acid, really bad acid’. 

Nudity and sexual activity

X-Men: Days of Future Past contains some sexual activity and partial nudity. For example:

  • A man wakes up in bed with a women lying next to him. He gets out of bed revealing his naked body – bare chest, abdomen, legs, back and buttocks. The women stays in the bed and is wearing a nightgown that shows her cleavage and bare shoulders.
  • Mystique appears in her natural form in several scenes. It looks like she’s wearing a skin-tight blue scaled body suit.
  • In a nightclub scene women dance wearing tight-fitting dresses with low-cut tops. 

Product placement

Various brands of soft and alcoholic drinks are displayed or used in X-Men: Days of Future Past

Coarse language

X-Men: Days of Future Past has coarse language throughout. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

X-Men: Days of Future Past is the latest in this series of Marvel Comic action movies. It is targeted at older teenagers and adults, particularly those who are X-Men fans. With its star-studded cast, it is sure to entertain this audience, but it is probably the darkest X-Men movie so far.

As usual, younger teenagers and tween boys are likely to be attracted to the movie, but the M rating should be a warning. The many violent and disturbing scenes and scary characters make it unsuitable for children under 13 years and many slightly older children. We strongly recommend parental guidance for younger teenagers.

These are main messages from this movie:

  • Losing sight of what’s important doesn’t have to be permanent. With the help of friends we can rediscover what is meaningful or important to us.
  • Small incidents can lead to massive change.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include the following:

  • Unity and teamwork: many of the movie’s mutant characters are willing to put differences and rivalries aside and work together for the greater good.
  • Empathy and selflessness: throughout the movie Charles Xavier shows caring and thoughtful behaviour towards others. He also takes on personal and physical pain to benefit others.

You could also talk with your children about how non-mutants in the movie treat mutants and compare this to the way minority groups are treated in our culture.