X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

With a fair share of characters involved in the film, and with their complex inter-tangling stories, X-Men: Days of Future Past should have been a mess, but nearly the exact right focus was applied leading to one of the best superhero films in some time.

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The X-Men franchise has been rocky since Bryan Singer left after X2. X-Men: The Last Stand was one of the most reviled films by critics and fans alike in recent memory, the two Wolverine spinoffs received mixed reactions at best, and though X-Men: First Class was arguably the best film in the franchise, it failed to please some of the most hardcore fans of the franchise. With X-Men: Days of Future Past, Bryan Singer, returning to the Marvel mutant franchise that he kick-started, skilfully meshes its two disparate story strands, crafting an ambitious time-spanning tale that brings together key players from the original X-Men trilogy and their younger counterparts from First Class.

At current time the mutated humans are facing extinction as humans invent release a new war robots, named Sentinels. In order to stop them from ever being made, Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) must be stopped from murdering Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), inventor of the Sentinels.

When Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) reveals to old Charles Xavier/Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (Ian McKellen) that she has the power to send someone’s consciousness back in time, it is decided that as he’s the only one that could survive the trip, Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman 😉 must go back to prevent this apocalypse from ever happening. To do this he must get the help of young Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik (Michael Fassbender) who are far from the friends they were in the middle of First Class and in the time Logan is coming back from.

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Singer, who knows how to stage impressive action sequences without ever skimping on plot or character development, gives us some thrilling set pieces, including the film’s opening Sentinel-attack sequence. There’s an element of genuine peril as the X-Men struggle to use their combined strengths to stop these formidable foes from crushing them.

But the film is not about action and explosion, it also includes some rocky humour, especially in the scene where Quicksilver (Evan Peters) saves Wolverine, Prof X & Erik from bullets. Its the kind of scene that will have you cheering from your seat. Days of Future Past is as much about the rocky relationship between McAvoy and Fassbender’s characters, who continue to clash over their differing ideologies on the coexistence of mutants and humans in the world. If Fassbender got the juicier part in First Class, then McAvoy is front and centre this time as the drunken, self-pitying Charles Xavier. It’s a moving performance, and in one poignant bit he’s visited by Stewart’s older version of the same character.

As Bolivar Trask, inventor of the killer robots, Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage, however, doesn’t strike the fear and intensity you expect from the talented actor. And while Hugh Jackman certainly gets ample screen time, he allows the younger cast to do most of the heavy lifting here. If there’s a complaint, it’s that so many beloved characters show up but have little to do, including Halle Berry’s Storm and others from the original trilogy.

I am going with three-and-a-half out of five stars for Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. In the end Singer succeeds in delivering a emotion rich superhero drama, that has been trending since the Batman trilogy, and the kind we love so much.