X-Men: Days of Future Past
dir Bryan Singer
scr Simon Kinberg
prd Lauren Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg, Hutch Parker
with Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Peter Dinklage, Nicholas Hoult, Ellen Page, Halle Berry, Evan Peters, Josh Helman
release US/UK 23.May.14
14/US Fox 2h11
X-men: Days of Future Past
Mutant threesome: Jackman, Fassbender and McAvoy

mckellen stewart lawrence

Wolverine attacks!

Shadows tries out a
Morph Costume

See also:
First Class (2011) Apocalypse (2016)
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
X-men: Days of Future Past This continues to be the only superhero franchise that has the nerve to break the formula, stressing relationships and big ideas rather than world-threatening mayhem. There is that too, of course, but it comes on a more engaging personal level. So even in its murkier segments, this film is still entertaining and provocative.

In the near future, Sentinel robots have mass-murdered mutants and anyone who sympathises with them. So a handful of surviving X-men led by Xavier and Erik (Stewart and McKellen) takes desperate action: Kitty (Page) uses her power to send Logan (Jackman) back 50 years to 1973 to stop the Sentinels from being built by the ambitious Trask (Dinklage). With the help of Hank (Hoult), Logan has to get Xavier (McAvoy) out of a drugged stupor, mend his feud with the imprisoned Erik (Fassbender) and convince Raven (Lawrence) not to take matters into her own hands.

Essentially a sequel to both The Last Stand (2006) and First Class (2011), this film isn't quite as brain-bending as it seems, as Kinberg's script merrily skips over the nitty-gritty of time travel to focus on the characters' moral tug-of-war. Jackman is the master of ceremonies, bridging the two casts while holding central focus in the plot. Meanwhile, the heavy lifting is done by McAvoy, Fassbender, Stewart and McKellen, who add electric currents to the dialog between Xavier and Erik.

There are also plenty of expert scene-stealers. Peters gets the most exhilarating sequence as his lightning-fast mutant hilariously sorts out an action scene frame-by-frame. And the superb Dinklage has the best 70s hair as the pushy, cocky baddie. But there are so many characters in the film that many get lost in the shuffle, both returnees (blink and you'll miss Anna Paquin) and newcomers (you'll want more of Omar Sy and Fan Bingbing).

Singer brings everything to life with strong commentary about the real world. While the future scenes are far to reliant on gloomy animation, and some of the bigger moments are ill-conceived (a levitating stadium?), the film's strength is in the interaction between its fine actors, especially when things get messy and ambiguous. And it's impossible not to see what he's subtly saying about the obvious future for a world that's afraid to embrace people who are different from the norm.

cert 12 themes, language, violence 14.May.14

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© 2014 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall