I recently had the chance to check out the newly released Director’s Cut of last year’s X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, and while this new version they’re promoting as “THE ROGUE CUT” might be over-promising just a little, fans of the X-Movies franchise won’t be disappointed.
Coming in at about 15 minutes longer than the theatrical version, there are minor additions or changes throughout the movie here and there, with two significant sequences being added back entirely, which we’re about to go into in a bit of detail, so let the spoiler-sensitive among you consider yourselves warned.
The shorter of the two additions comes late in the film, with Mystique returning to Xavier’s School ostensibly due to a change of heart about her quest to kill Sentinel mastermind Bolivar Trask, leading to a romantic clinch with Hank McCoy, and then the revelation of her true motivation: to smash up Cerebro so Xavier can’t use it to track her. It’s a good little scene and nicely played, even if ultimately unnecessary.
The major addition, of course, and the one we all paid our money for, features the return of Anna Paquin as Rogue. Coming toward the beginning of the third act, when Wolverine’s struggles in the past cause his future self to freak out and accidentally injure Kitty Pryde, this new sequence posits that Kitty’s injuries are too severe for her to continue, requiring them to find the one person who can replicate her powers: Rogue. As it turns out, Rogue has been captured by the Sentinels, and is being held captive in the bombed-out remains of Xavier’s Mansion, requiring Xavier, Magneto and Iceman to go on an impromptu rescue mission. The mission a success, Rogue takes over for Kitty and is then seen in her place for the remainder of the film.
Does this alter the film dramatically and substantially? Nah, not really. But for those of us who have a strong affection for the X-films in general and the first two films in specific, it certainly carries a lot of emotional weight. These films got their start with the tender relationship between Hugh Jackman’s Logan and Paquin’s Rogue, so bringing her in at the end to save Logan certainly gives the future sequence a little more meaning than it would have had otherwise. And her appearance at the end in the newly rewritten history (my favorite five minutes in the theatre in all of last year) , while it was there before, has a bit more oomph now that she’s a larger part of the story and seems to have earned her place.
There’s also a little after-credits sting involving Peter Dinklage’s Trask that, frankly, doesn’t make a lot of sense. So let’s just forget about that one. But overall, THE ROGUE CUT, while it may not be an absolutely necessary purchase if you already bought the movie last year, is just enough of a better film for me to make it worth my money.