It doesn't hurt at all that Days of Future Past was already the second-best X-Men movie, behind the towering First Class. Bryan Singer returned to the director's chair for the first time since X2: X-Men United way back in 2003. The franchise had gone awry in his absence, partly because of Brett Ratner's subpar (though still a big hit) X-Men 3: The Last Stand, Matthew Vaughn's poorly marketed First Class, and a pair of standalone Wolverine flicks of wildly varying quality. Some doubt existed as to whether Singer could bring back all those viewers who'd jumped shipped during that uneven stretch. It was the right choice to tell a story that allowed one last hurrah for the original trilogy primaries. The presence of Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier (aka Professor X) and Ian McKellen as Erik Lehnsherr (aka Magneto) drew in the original fans; the compelling '70s-era story featuring James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender in the same roles sent those fans toward First Class to see what they'd missed.
We’ve covered the original version, back when it debuted in the Digital HD format. While there are a lot of little tweaks in the editing throughout the Rogue Cut (the theatrical version is included in this new two-disc Blu-ray set), the primary addition is, as stated, an extended sequence involving Rogue and her current plight. What’s so cool about it is that it offers the chance for Charles and Xavier to get directly involved in the action. It does have the perhaps unintended result of leaving Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page, returning from the third movie) in an even sadder predicament. But the whole scenario, which involves Rogue stepping in for Kitty to help control the comatose Logan (Hugh Jackman, delivering one of his best performances of the character), does play up the desperate, ‘we’ll try anything’ vibe of the desolate, Sentinel-controlled future. If none of this makes sense, you likely haven’t seen Days of Future Past yet and should immediately grab a copy of this edition.
In addition to the same superb level of high definition visuals and lossless DTS-HD MA 7.1 audio as found on the previous Blu-ray edition (of the theatrical-only cut), the other main attraction of the Rogue Cut are the new special features. There’s an insightful and consistently entertaining new commentary by director Bryan Singer and editor/composer John Ottman on the Rogue Cut. The “Theatrical Cut” also gets a commentary. This one features Singer again, joined by producer Simon Kinberg. “Mutant vs Machine” is a series of production featurettes that totals 53 minutes. Perhaps best of all is the half-hour roundtable discussion “X-Men: Unguarded” that features most of the primary cast members (Jackman, amusingly, arrives late) all discussing the movie. It’s an awesome piece and one that, unlike so many bonus features, should inspire a lot of repeat viewing. For good measure, there are also several image galleries of storyboards, costumes, and concept art.
In short, Bryan Singer has delivered a longer, better, more emotionally-satisfying version of X-Men: Days of Future Past with the Rogue Cut. I didn’t even mention the addition of a touching scene between Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Hank/Beast (Nicholas Hoult) that follows up on their romantic subplot from First Class. The Rogue Cut is so much more essential than your average “double dip” Blu-ray release and belongs in any fan’s collection.