First things first: The Rogue Cut is probably the greatest misnomer since I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. Most likely propagated by fan outrage on account of Rogue being cut from most of the Theatrical Version. It’s not like every single remaining character got oodles of screen time. Iceman, Storm, and even Ian McKellan’s Magneto got pushed to the sidelines as most of the movie takes place in 1973 when the older characters are younger and the younger characters aren’t born yet. Rogue is in this movie maybe five or at most ten minutes. And her first appearance isn’t even until the 1hr. 40-minute mark!
Days of Future Past begins years into the future, after an apocalyptic event has taken place involving Sentinels: highly-advanced robots that are programmed to hunt down and kill all mutants (i.e. our heroes). Professor Charles Xavier (who’s resurrection STILL isn’t explained in this version – something I would have preferred to more Rogue) leads his X-Men to a Chinese temple in hopes of laying low long enough to try to change the past. If you’ve seen the Theatrical Version, you know what happens next: they send Wolverine’s consciousness back to a previous point in history where Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is going to kill a man trying to rid the world of mutants, Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), whose murder ironically causes all of these apocalyptic events to take place.
I get that the whole Days of Future Past storyline involves a dystopian future, but in a seven-movie franchise, it felt like it came out of nowhere. At the end of The Wolverine, the world is still normal and Professor X and Magneto need Wolverine’s help with something. Cut to 10 years or so later and the world is an ash-colored graveyard reminiscent of Terminator‘s future war. And yet technology is more advanced? Maybe I’m just a sucker for the good old days of Canadian cage-fighting and mutant kids trying to go to school. Although Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan are looking a little worse for wear these days. They were old when these movies started, and this is 14 years later!
While I prefer Bryan Singer’s directing style over all the other directors (the Quicksilver scene is worth watching over and over again!), I was never entirely sold on the First Class characters. Maybe they met and parted ways too quickly. Maybe Mystique being Professor X’s “sister” didn’t fit with the other movies. Or maybe the whole movie was too colorful (literally). The point is: when First Class came out, it didn’t feel like a prequel; it felt like the beginning of its own sub-franchise. But here, it is very blatantly meant to have been a prequel. And bringing the younger characters in with the original crew just doesn’t mesh the way I would have liked. Not that it wasn’t an improvement on First Class. It very much was. But maybe that crew should have gotten a Second Class as well as a Third Class so they’d have their own trilogy at least, and THEN merge the two timelines. But X-Men isn’t a franchise known for staying the course.
The movie as a whole is largely the same as before. The same plot plays out the same way, there’s still that awkward Richard Nixon look-a-like guy, and there’s also still that giant-middle-finger-to-Brett-Ratner ending. If you liked it before, you’ll like it again.
The Rogue Cut is 17 minutes longer than the Theatrical Version, and I’m happy to say that most of that time is owed to the addition of Rogue about 2/3 of the way into the movie. I won’t give too much away, but for anyone who’s seen the first movie, then any scene involving Magneto saving Rogue’s life would seem like the opposite end of the spectrum compared to that. The rest of the additions are added dialogue, minor parallels between past and future, and one near-sex scene involving two young mutants (I won’t say who!).
Is The Rogue Cut better? Tough question. It has more, for sure. But is it better? The Blu-ray comes with both versions, so the good news is if you don’t like one, you’ve got the other. Anyone who’s seen both should completely understand why Rogue would have been cut from the Theatrical Version. The sequences in the future play a very small and often-brief part in this movie, and Rogue’s slow rescue 2/3 of the way in may seem like the movie goes off-the-rails for a few minutes (although it fully explains how the Sentinels find them in the end, which is a nice touch). The new version doesn’t really make the movie any better or worse, but if you’re a hardcore fan of either the comics or the movies, it’s definitely worth a look.