Critical response to the summer blockbuster season has been tepid, at best. Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 swung out to a decent start with international critics, but tumbled down to a Rotten grade (53%) on the review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes as it expanded to more markets. Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla did better, posting a 73% Fresh grade, but still wasn’t the slam dunk hit amongst reviewers that Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past appears to be.
As of Thursday night, with the movie preparing to open in a few hours, X-Men: Days of Future Past boasts a 91% Fresh grade with 91 reviews filed. These numbers are fluid, and the total could rise or (likely) drop as more reviews are posted to the Rotten Tomatoes site. But as it stands, X-Men: Days of Future Past likely will finish as the highest-rated X-Men film in the saga. Now where did I hear that before?
How far ahead of the other X-Men films is Days of Future Past at the moment? Two other X-Men films were tied for the highest RT percentage: Bryan Singer’s first sequel, X2, and X-Men: First Class -- each with 87% Fresh. Singer’s initial foray into mutant motion pictures, X-Men, earned an 82% Fresh grade in 2000. Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand received a 58% Rotten grade in 2006.
Surprisingly, X-Men: Days of Future Past is performing well with the Top Critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Claudia Puig of USA Today called the film "the most ambitious and ingenious of the long-running series," while Michael O’Sullivan of The Washington Post says it’s "as intoxicating as a shot of adrenaline. It's what summer movies are meant to be."
Rotten Tomatoes isn’t the be all and end all of critical consensus. Over on MetaCritic, the higher-brow version of review aggregation, X-Men: Days of Future Past is enjoying a 71 grade, with 23 positive, 6 mixed and 0 negative reviews. This puts it slightly ahead of Captain America: The Winter Soldier (70) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (53).
Positive grades were expected as Bryan Singer’s X-Men rolled out. But rarely does a franchise this deep into its legacy manage to earn such high scores with critics. And when compared to similar superhero sequels, X-Men: Days of Future Past seems to outperform them. Recent examples of superhero sequels on Rotten Tomatoes include The Dark Knight Rises (88%), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (89%), Thor: The Dark World (65%) and Iron Man 3 (78%). Even Marvel’s The Avengers topped out at 92%.
Could X-Men: Days of Future Past tumble as more reviews come in? Certainly. But early results – with 83 "Fresh" reviews and only 8 "Rotten" – suggest an exciting time at the movies this weekend for audiences of all ages.