85%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (3 Votes)
71%

Join Wolverine on the adventure of a life…time?

In a desolate future reminiscent of the Holocaust meets Terminator, the last remaining survivors of both the human and mutant race must fight to live on. A small crew of surviving X-Men come together to take a huge risk in rewriting the last 50 years of history.

How’s this for a time-travel premise? By phasing into the brain of a host, Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) is able to time warp the host’s consciousness into his/her past self. As a decades-long journey back in time would be trying on the mind, it falls on Logan (Hugh Jackman) to have his consciousness transported back in time to his younger body in 1973 so he can warn a young Charles Xavier of the future yet to come. Their mission: to stop the assassination of Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), as it would lead to the catastrophic evolution of the Sentinel robots resulting in humanity’s current dire straits.

In order to fully execute a plan to keep Trask’s Sentinel program from launching, Logan must join forces with the young Professor X (James McAvoy) and a small host of supporting mutants. Following the events of 2011’s “X-Men: First Class,” a very reluctant Charles agrees to help Logan release his former friend turned nemesis Erik “Magneto” Leshner, imprisoned for his apparent involvement in an historic high crime.

Meanwhile, Rayven “Mystique” (Jennifer Lawrence) plots her own dastardly deeds while protecting fellow mutants serving overseas in Saigon. When these American soldiers are found to have special abilities, a private group has them transported to a special testing facility run by Trask. Disguised as a military commanding officer, Mystique intervenes whenever possible. But a much more significant plot lies beneath.

As the battles for superiority rage between the humans and different bands of mutants, Logan must work harder than ever to help all sides overcome multiple adversities to right the past in order to save the future.

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It’s been a little over ten years since Bryan Singer took the helm of directing an X-Men movie. The same style he used to make the first two films of 2000 and 2003 so memorable is comfortably recalled in this feature. While the action sequences in this movie are much more watered down and not nearly as exhilarating as comparable comic book flare, the writers and cast make up for it with a well-conceived story and some X-cellent acting.

For the most part, the characters all stand out and make their marks. From the scenes stolen by Quiksilver to the brief yet significant presence of sinister supporter Major William Stryker. Except for Magneto, all of the characters reprised from “First Class” have very different personas, which adds to the journeys of self-discovery that they all face.

One major complaint is the underuse of Dinklage as Bolivar Trask, whose interest in “controlling” the population of mutated humans is never truly explored but for his political stance. It’s hard to follow that he truly believes he is doing the right thing and not just torturing the mutants for kicks. What might have been considered an anticipated discussion of mutations versus conditions such as dwarfism is never discussed either. The absence of a development into his plot leaves something to be desired for the significance of the story. However, it’s hardly noticeable or necessary when factored in with the rest.

Keep in mind, this story acts as both a sequel and prequel, being that different timelines are merged in a way that is neither too logical nor too confusing (fortunately).

While not overwhelming the audience with too many characters and supplemental plot points, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” falls short of disappointment with an interest focused more on storytelling than on over-the-top action sequences. Director Singer even holds his trademark circle fetish until a major scene involving a stand-off between Magneto and President Richard Nixon.

The movie is based on a popular two-comic story arc from 1983 that spawned a couple of iterations in both graphic fiction and animation. Traditional fans of the X-Men comic storyline are likely to forgive the substitutions of certain characters in order to maintain the movie’s star values. Those who have flocked ceaselessly to the six previous “X-Men” movies released over the past 14 years are sure to be amused as well. Although it does give in to a few too many Hollywood clichés, in the end it’s an entertaining piece of work that leaves the audience eager for the next chapter.

 

Directed by Bryan Singer

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender

Runtime: 131 min

 

About The Author

Contributing Writer

Herbert M. Shaw began writing movie reviews for his high school newspaper and hasn't stopped since. In 2005, his radio program "The Shaw Report" was started with WCDB Albany 90.9 FM in Albany, New York, and lives on with online streaming at www.wcdbfm.com. In addition to film and TV reviews, Herbert also covers a variety of pop culture events surrounding technology, gaming, and the arts. He has covered every single New York Comic Con since 2006, and writes an annual Oscar prediction guide.