Days of Future Past

X-Men - Days of Future Past
Made in: USA, Canada
Language: English, French
Director: Bryan Singer
Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Michael Fassbender, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Peter Dinklage, Halle Berry, Evan Peters, Ellen Page, Omar Sy, Shawn Ashmore, Josh Helman, Fan Bingbing, Adan Canto, Booboo Stewart, Daniel Cudmore
Year: 2014

Synopsis: An all out war between humans and mutants leaves the world dark and devastated. With an oppressive world government in control, the mutants are being relentlessly hunted by unstoppable, monstrous machines known as sentinels.

Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and the few remaining members of the X-Men have gone into hiding. Teaming up with his old nemesis, Magneto (Ian McKellen), the two find themselves in a desperate battle for survival.

How did this all happen?

In 1973, Dr. Bolivar Trask,(Peter Dinklage), a brilliant government contractor, was on the verge of creating the first generation of those mutant-hunting machines. But after being murdered by the shape-shifting mutant known as Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), the US government under Richard Nixon (Mark Camacho) authorized unlimited funding for his research. The result would eventually lead to the invention of the advanced sentinels of the present, as well as world devastation and the inevitable extinction of all mutantkind.

From a hideout somewhere in China, Professor Xavier hatches a daring plan. With the help of Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), who has the ability to somehow transfer an individual's consciousness through time and space, the X-Men plot to alter the course of history. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), with his super healing ability, is selected for the mission, and he's transported back to the year 1973 where he wakes up in the body of his younger self. Amongst the turmoil of the Vietnam War and horrendous fashion trends, he must find Mystique, thwart the assassination of Trask, and prevent the invention of the sentinels.

To make matters more challenging, Wolverine must somehow convince young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) to join him on his mission. With most of his students having been drafted or killed in the Vietnam War, Xavier has lost his way. The famed school has shut down and the professor spends most of his time drinking and regretting the estrangement of his adopted sister, Raven (aka Mystique).

On top of that, Wolverine must reunite the young Xavier with the young Erik Lehnsherr, aka Magneto (Michael Fassbender), at a moment in time when they've become bitter enemies. With the situation becoming more volatile by the second, our heroes wonder if their histories, both personal and physical, can truly be altered…or if their destinies are fixed no matter what they do...

The Good: X-Men - Days of Future Past does an excellent job combining the best elements of the first two X-Men movies, as well as Michael Vaughn's prequel. Although the cast is huge, director Bryan Singer does a great job keeping focused on the central characters and overall plot. 

Hugh Jackman is still loads of fun as Wolverine (can you believe it's been 14 years since he first played that character??), and it's great to see him play off of James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, who reprise their roles from the acclaimed prequel. Many original cast members from the first three X-Men movies make an appearance, either as small or bit parts. It should be appreciated that Singer took so much care in preserving continuity.

There's plenty of action, humor, amazing special effects, and moments of genuine emotion. The characters are just as compelling as the action sequences, with the moments of exposition actually serving the story rather than being filler until the next fight scene. 

The movie is never dull, nor does it exhaust you.

The Bad
: The pace is too fast during the first few scenes. Characters are introduced a little too quickly, and it was hard to keep track of (and process) everything that was happening. At least for me. 

But before long, things do slow down just enough before the movie can feel rushed.

Also, I was hoping for an explanation as to why Professor Xavier is alive after the atrocious 3rd film. Maybe I missed it. Or maybe it'll be on the DVD release. But it's not much of a sticking point because the rest of the movie is pretty darn good.

Who would like this movie: This X-Men movie is definitely for fans of the first two Bryan Singer-directed films, and obviously for fans of the comic series (which I admit I've never read). It's likely that not all those who follow the comic series will be appeased, as the priority here was making a coherent story for the big screen.

Plenty of references are made to the previous X-Men movies, and it's assumed that you've already seen them all.

It would have been great to see more interaction between Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and the rest of the cast, but it was understandable to give them relatively small roles as the focus was mainly on the events of 1973.

There's a lot of story to cover here, and Singer does the job very nicely. It's bold, entertaining, and every bit as thrilling as the trailer promises.

This is a another solid success for Marvel, and sets the bar high for the 2014 summer movie season. And as with other Marvel movies, stay for the end credits to get a taste of the upcoming sequel slated for 2016.

(3 and 1/2 stars out of 4)

Review written by: Joe Yang

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