Australian Council on Children and the Media

X-Men: Days of future past

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Not suitable under 13; parental guidance recommended 13-15 (Violence; Disturbing scenes; coarse language)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for X-Men: Days of future past
  • a review of X-Men: Days of future past completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 29 May 2014.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not suitable due to violence, disturbing scenes and coarse language
Children aged 13 to 15 Parental guidance strongly recommended due to violence and disturbing scenes
Children aged 15 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: X-Men: Days of future past
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Science fiction themes, violence and infrequent coarse language
Length 131 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The film opens with a prologue from Charles Xavier/Professor X (Patrick Steward). We learn that in the past humans invented terminator-like machines called Sentinels, whose role initially was to detect and kill mutants. But later the Sentinels began to hunt and kill humans, whom they saw as a threat, and as a result both mutants and humans face distinction.

Xavier and Magneto (Ian McKellen) have traced the development of the Sentinel Program to one point in time where the mutant Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) murdered Dr.Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage).  To reverse the tide, Xavier and Magneto devise a plan to change the past. This involves sending Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back in time to the 1970s where he must locate the younger versions of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Lawrence) and convince the two arch enemies to work together to stop Mystique from murdering Trask.

Before Charles and Erik can work together, Wolverine, with the help of a mutant called Quicksilver (Evan Peters), must free Erik from a high security prison under the pentagon.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Time travel; superheroes; genetic experimentation and mutation

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

The film contains sequences of intense sci-fi action violence and destruction with multiple deaths. There are some gruesome images of torture and mutilation, and occasional depiction of blood and gore. Examples include:

  • In two battle scenes hundreds of Sentinels (terminator-like machines) drop from gigantic flying pods and attack superhuman mutants; the Sentinels are capable of transforming to imitate the superpowers used by the mutants they are attacking. There are explosions, liquid fire, impaling and decapitation.
  • A mutant shoots a man in cold blood, using a handgun to shoot the man in the centre of his forehead; we see the bullet hole with minimal blood depicted.
  • Four humans shoot a mutant man several times in his chest; the bullet wounds appear in his chest and then the bullets are expelled from the wounds which heal instantly. Blades project out of the mutant’s fists and he attacks the four men who shot him. He uses his bony fist blades to stab and kill his attackers; we hear the sound of the blades punching through flesh.
  • Throughout the film Mystique engages in supernatural, stylised fighting to attack and disable dozens of men both civilian and soldiers. In one instance Mystique uses her foot to pin a man against a wall, pressing against his throat until he becomes unconscious.   
  • A woman places her open hands to either side of a man’s head and blue beams of energy fire into his head, causing him to cry out in pain.
  • A man is rendered unconscious when shot with a Taser; we see his body convulsing as he is electrocuted. 
  • A beast-like mutant attacks a man, holding him under water in a fountain. Blood from the man mixes with the water.
  • A mutant uses his magnetic superpowers to lift an entire football stadium into the air. He then flies it and lowers it over the White House as if imprisoning the occupants.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

The whole film is full of images and characters that will scare children under eight, for example:

  • a futuristic scene of hundreds of entangled dead bodies being expelled from a building onto a waste land of debris
  • images of burnt and bloody faces.    
  • photographs of mutants that had been experimented on and killed
  • One mutant has an amphibian-like appearance with a long tongue that is able to shoot a couple of meters out of his mouth. Another resembles a blue werewolf. Another is able to shape-shift her appearance to resemble any human she wishes, including the clothing they are wearing; we hear a squelching sound as she morphs.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group will also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes and the following:

  • A mutant uses his powers to stitch up a wound in the back of his head. He uses a hand mirror suspended by an invisible force to view the wound and a needle and thread, also guided by invisible force, pierce the flesh of his scalp to stitch the wound.  

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes and the following:

  • A mutant uses his powers to stitch up a wound in the back of his head. He uses a hand mirror suspended by an invisible force to view the wound and a needle and thread, also guided by invisible force, pierce the flesh of his scalp to stitch the wound. 

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Various branded soft and alcohol drinks

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Four men burst into a hotel room to find a man in bed with a woman and one of the men says “Sleeping with the boss’s daughter”.
  • A man and woman flirt with each other in a hotel room, the woman acts seductively towards the man and we hear the man say “Show me more baby - clothes off”.

Nudity and sexual activity

The film contains some sexual activity and partial nudity. Examples include:

  • A man wakes up in bed with a women lying next to him. He gets out of bed revealing his naked body and we see his bare chest, abdomen, legs back and buttocks. The women remains in the bed and is wearing a nightgown that reveals cleavage and bare shoulders.
  • Mystique appears in her natural form in a number of scenes, appearing as though she is wearing a skin tight blue scaled body suit.
  • In a nightclub scene women dance wearing tight fitting dresses with low-cut tops.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • A man drinks multiple glasses of scotch, appearing intent on becoming drunk - there are several empty bottles on a nearby table.
  • A couple of scenes depict a man lighting and smoking a large cigar.
  • A man injects himself with a serum that enables him to walk
  • We hear one man telling another man that someone gave him acid and that he was “on acid, really bad acid”.

Coarse language

The film contains some coarse language scattered throughout. Examples include:

  • “arsehole; pain in the arse; Oh God; bloody; piss off; fuck off; little shit

In a nutshell

X-Men: Days of future past is the latest in this series of Marvel Comic action films. It is targeted at older adolescents and adults, particularly those who are X-Men fans. With its star-studded cast, it is sure to entertain this audience but it is probably the darkest X-Men film yet.  As usual, younger teens and tween boys are likely to be attracted to the film, but the M rating should be a warning to parents. The many violent and disturbing scenes and scary characters make it unsuitable for under13s and many slightly older children, so parental guidance is strongly recommended for younger teens. Parents may also be concerned by the coarse language in the film.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • Losing sight of our goals, or what is important, does not have to be permanent - with the help of friends we can re-find what is meaningful or important to us.
  • Small incidents can lead to massive change.      

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Unity and teamwork: many of the film’s mutant characters are willing to put differences and rivalries aside and work together for the greater good.
  • Empathy and selflessness: throughout the film the character Charles Xavier demonstrates caring and thoughtful behaviour for the need of others as well as taking on personal and physical pain to benefit others.     

Parents may also wish to discuss how non-mutants in the film treat mutants and compare this to the way minority groups are treated in our culture.

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