Film Face-off: 'The Avengers' vs. 'X-Men: Days of Future Past'

Film Face-off: 'The Avengers' vs. 'X-Men: Days of Future Past'

May 27, 2014

Your hands were starting to tremble. You couldn't see straight. Thoughts were blurred. It has been almost two months since Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Don't worry, you'll get your superhero fix with X-Men: Days of Future Past. It's kind of a sequel to X-Men: First Class, kind of a continuation of X-Men: The Last Stand, and kind of a stand-alone adventure. Your thirst will be quenched. But, will it be as good as the last time a really big pile of superheroes got together to save something?

That's right, I'm talking about The Avengers. Which Marvel group will be better at delivering us from evil? I'm glad you asked. This week's Film Face-off is The Avengers vs. X-Men: Days of Future Past. The loser has to rewatch X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Iron Man 2, so there's a lot at stake.



The Avengers

Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), have to overcome their differences and work together to defeat Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and a mysterious force of aliens.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

In the future, Sentinels have become the perfect mutant killing machine. Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) hatch a plan with Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) to send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back to his former self in the '70s to stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from setting off a chain of events, with the help of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender).

Winner: X-Men: Days of Future Past. Um, superhero Back to the Future? Yup I'm in. X-Men adds the wrinkle of time and that means we get to hang out with every mutant you can remember, and some you probably forgot. While The Avengers is executed very well, the plot is very basic, and both films deal with the idea that characters don't get along at first, but we know they eventually will. Gosh, I wonder if Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice might include that concept in their plot as well.


The "Lead"

The Avengers

Tony Stark/Iron Man is a loose cannon, though his actual cannons are screwed on quite tight. Nick Fury convinces Tony to join the other heroes even though he was previously turned down.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Wolverine is the only one strong enough to have his conscious sent back into his former self. This is because of his amazingly fast healing powers.

Winner: The Avengers. The reason "lead" is in quotes is because we all know both films are ensembles, but there is clearly one actor who is given top billing and the most to do. Save for a few moments when Wolverine is back to having bones for claws (instead of adamantium), there doesn't feel like he's got a lot to do. His main goal is to make people like each other more. The more I think about it, Wolverine actually didn't need to get Charles and Erik to join him. He could have stopped Mystique on his own. Oh well. Iron Man/Tony Stark's swagger is so necessary to the plot of these guys not getting along right away. With these films, you almost always want to be led around by the coolest guy in the room. That's definitely Tony. With X-Men, it's actually Erik.


The Scene Stealer

The Avengers

Hulk smash. Yes, he smashes right into our hearts. While Tony tries his best, it's Thor who makes Hulk upset. Then Bruce Banner learns to let go of the anger and he helps destroy some aliens, as well as large chunks of the city.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Peter (Evan Peters, aka Quicksilver) is a really annoying teenager who uses his superspeed to steal. He freely flaunts his powers, and decides to help Wolverine and company break Erik out of prison.

Winner: The Avengers. The CGI and his attitude make one scene in X-Men absolutely jaw dropping. If it weren't for this one scene, no one would find this character any fun at all; just an arrogant teen. That's not enough to beat Hulk in this category. Finally, after two films attempted to make him a lead, we realize Hulk is the perfect sidekick. The funniest part of The Avengers is when Hulk treats Loki like a rag doll. After The Avengers came out, everyone was clamoring for a solo Hulk film, but the real power here is that he could pop in and out of the film, and we didn't have to cling to the inner turmoil and demons, we could just cheer his destruction.


The Others

The Avengers

Thor is willing to help because it's his brother Loki who is up to no good. Captain America is trying to figure out if he likes the future. Loki turns Hawkeye evil, and Black Widow doesn't like that.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Charles loves alcohol and drugs. Mystique is having issues finding her true self. Erik still likes mutants a lot more than humans. Hank/Beast (Nicholas Hoult) tags along.

Winner: The Avengers. I could have named 30 other mutants, but they seem to have less to do than Hank (reread what Hank does above). I've already forgotten if Storm (Halle Berry) actually speaks in this film. There's even a mutant who makes people vomit -- that's his power! Mystique keeps circling the same issue, and it feels like she just treads water until she finally makes a decision at the end. Charles is dragging his feet (not literally, he's walking for most of the film) on whether he wants to help and if he can help. It's not upbeat and it's a little boring. Erik is still a fascinating character and Fassbender seems to nail that performance. The Avengers all have a little more to do, though. Maybe this is because they aren't dealing with the past and present, but it makes for a more entertaining journey for each character.


The Villains

The Avengers

Loki is back, thanks to the help of a newer, stronger, mysterious villain who remains nameless. Aliens, both big and super gigantic, attack Earth.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) wants a way to find and kill mutants, to save humanity. He creates Sentinels, they eventually evolve into the perfect mutant killing machines.

Winner: The Avengers and X-Men: Days of Future Past tie. Aliens and Sentinels almost cancel each other out, but I give the edge to Sentinels since they actually kill mutants (in an alternative future, which ultimately doesn't exist on the path we're now on). Unlike Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, they actually show how mutants were killed, instead of a lame montage of Jedi getting knocked off. X-Men should have given Dr. Trask more speeches since we see what Dinklage is capable of on Game of Thrones. The best villain X-Men has going for them is still Erik, and he does have his moments. With The Avengers, I was a little surprised they brought back Loki, since I wasn't that huge of a fan of his in Thor. But, they made him more compelling, and not just because of his fancy new staff. He's the type of villain you can hate but also laugh with, and that's a hard combo to pull off.


OVERALL WINNER: The Avengers beats X-Men: Days of Future Past, 3-1-1.

The Avengers beats X-Men: Days of Future Past in the growing category of "Tons of Superheroes in One Movie." We'll see if sequels and Justice League can ever top The Avengers. X-Men: Days of Future Past is just a step below X2 and X-Men: First Class for overall entertainment. Other categories I considered for this Film Face-off were Action, Women and Button (postcredit scene), and just like "Villain" they would have ended up in ties. While I threatened the loser with having to sit through some below-average superhero films, there are no losers here. There's always another superhero movie on the horizon to give us our fix.




Categories: Features, Geek, In Theaters
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