There may never be a clear starting point to explain the recent landslide of super hero movies being made, but the first X-Men movie from back in 2000 might be a good start.
Since then there have been seven variations of X-Men movies and almost all of them, save for maybe X-Men Origins: Wolverine, have been quite good. X-Men: Days of Future Past is no exception and is as much a testament to a good comic book story as it is to a good movie business model. In a world where it seems like every superhero is getting their own franchise, X-Men has managed to remain unique, fun and relevant.
The reasons X-Men movies continue to be successful are apparent in this movie: it's funny without being cheesy, the characters are well known and likable and it utilizes time-travel in a way that allows itself to create an entire new world.
The premise of the latest X-Men romp is that in the future mutants have been hunted down by giant machines called Sentinels who are controlled by the worst parts of humanity. Sentinels have now started hunting anyone who sympathizes with mutants as well as anyone who may one day become a mutant. Basically, everyone.
I am not one to get squeamish over scary robots, but Sentinel are quite creepy and formidable. They are able to adapt their attack method depending on what mutant they are dealing with and their fluid shape-shifting is made especially eerily as it mimics another mutant's power. The opening scene shows a terrible future for humanity after Sentinels take over.
So, to correct this future, the remaining mutants decide to send someone back in time to change the course of history. The lucky mutant chosen, and everyone's favorite anti-hero, is Wolverine.
From there movie goes between the future and 1973, with much of the focus on the 70s time period and the cast of mutants from the previous movie X-Men: First Class. Also, despite the dire situation, a lot of the action in 1973 is funny. It's great to see Wolverine interact with younger versions of Magneto and Professor Xavier. Also, viewers get to meet a new mutant in the past, Quicksilver. Here's to hoping that if there is another X-Men movie we get more scenes with him and Magneto. It's a lot of fun.
The final scenes are full of surprises that should delight X-Men fans. Even the casual viewer of the series will be excited about what the ending means for the future of this franchise.
The point is, if you aren't completely exhausted from superhero movies, you want a funny yet action-packed summer film with a bunch of actors at the top of their game, then X-Men: Days of Future Past is for you.
Oh, and also after the credits for a bonus scene and then immediately go to Wikipedia to find out what it means. It alludes to yet another X-Men story that has not been told. Fans of the comics will be excited and everyone should be interested in finding out how this decade old franchise will reinvent itself again.