X-Men: Days of Future Past (20th Century Fox)
Rated PG- 13 for sequences of intense sci-fi violence and action, some suggestive material, nudity and language.
Starring Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Nicholas Hoult, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage, Shawn Ashmore, Omar Sy, Evan Peters, Josh Helman, Daniel Cudmore, Bingbing Fan, Adan Canto, Booboo Stewart, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Lucas Till, Evan Jonigkeit, Mark Camacho.
Written by Simon Kinberg, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn.
Directed by Bryan Singer.
In our current bonanza of awesome superhero film gluttony, one has to wonder when the gravy train will crash and burn. Ever since Marvel Studios shook up the world with so much Avenger tableau, other franchises have experienced their own renaissance; DC has joined the party – with the runaway success of Chris Nolan’s Batman and Superman mulligans. The X-Men got into the act a few years ago with their First Class reboot/prequel. Although flawed, First Class proved that the X-Men could rebound from a franchise killer like Brett Ratner’s forgettable X-Men United (2004). It also opened the door for a convergence between the new cast and the old – with X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Set in the future, the old X-Men, led by Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) are waging a losing battle against an army of robotic sentinels, being used to obliterate all mutants. Professor X is joined by his old nemesis Magneto (Ian McKellen), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Storm (Halle Berry), Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) and a few others. Using Kitty Pryde’s mind powers, X hatches a plan to send Wolverine back to 1973, so that he can alter the future by preventing Mystique/Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) from killing Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), the man responsible for developing the sentinel program. X sees the killing of Trask as the impetus for the anti-mutant movement, and hopes that by avoiding it, the future will be void of those pesky sentinels.
When Logan arrives in 1973, he has to find the younger X (James McAvoy) and the younger Beast (Nicholas Hoult) to convince them of the plan. That plan also involves breaking the younger Magneto (Michael Fassbender) out of a metal-free jail (his crime is a doozy) and enlisting the help of Quicksilver (Evan Peters), a mutant who is able to move extremely fast (Quicksilver is a real scene-stealer, providing one of the best superhero moments in recent film history). As Logan and his gang track down Mystique, Trask gets closer to developing the sentinels, set against the backdrop of the end of the Viet Nam War.
The story reaches its climax as the X-Men (old and young) meet at the White House where President Nixon is about to turn national security over to the sentinels. Meanwhile in the future, the sentinels are closing in on the last remaining mutants. Will the X-Men’s tinkering with the past change their futures?
X-Men: Days of Future Past is the mutant movie we’ve been waiting for. Bryan Singer (who directed the first two X-Men films in 2000 and 2003) returns to form, weaving the older actors with their younger counterparts to form a narrative that not only amazes, but also makes sense (despite leaving a lot of collateral damage in the minefield of time travel paradoxes).
X-Men: DOFP is not perfect, but it’s fun and allows all those super characters to mesh into a team comprised of characters that compliment each other without getting too mushy about it (much like Marvel’s other ‘team’ franchise – The Avengers). The franchise reboot is working out so far, and it seems to be back in good hands.
To read Jenniffer's thoughts on Days of Future Past, click here.