Sunday, March 23, 2014


X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST is a long and convoluted film. That it remains engaging says something for the quality of the cast it has assembled, the ballsiness of its premise and the elegance of its action scenes.

The movie sees Wolverine sent back in time to the 1970s by Kitty Pryde to persuade Professor X and Magneto to come together and prevent Mystique from being captured by an evil inventor called Trask.  He will create robots called Sentinels who use Mystique's own mutated blood to become the ultimate Mutant killing machines.  If she isn't stopped Mystique will unleash a future in which Mutants are all but extinct.  But the mission isn't an easy one. Wolverine has to persuade a disillusioned, drugged up Professor X to help; he has to bust Magneto out of prison for killing JFK; and that's before he even gets to Trask.

The cast is impeccable. Fassbender vs McAvoy as Magneto vs Professor X is just the ultimate buddy movie with consequences.  You need actors will real heft to pull of a man scarred by the Holocaust and another who has to go back into his wheelchair for the good of humanity.  Jennifer Lawrence plays a woman on the brink of a massive ethical decision. The new additions are Peter Dinklage as the bad guy, Trask, fine but nothing spectacular, and Evan Peters as Quicksilver. (Yes, you're right - a different Pietro Maximoff to the one in AVENGERS....)  Peters doesn't have much to do, but he does star in the most awesome action sequence of any X-MEN movie to date, in which he goes so fast the reality around him slows down and he literally re-arranges bullets in the air.  Amazing scoring for that scene too. As for Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, well, he's played Wolverine so many times by now I almost don't think of him as acting anymore.

The heart of the film is the relationship between Mystique and Magneto.  Is he going to stay good or go bad?  And between Charles Xavier and, well, the world. Is he going to give in to depression or grasp the future, the future he can create?  It's this more than anything else that keeps us coming back to the franchise.  It's not just ever bigger and bolder action sequences but that these are grown up, complex, scarred characters that wrestle with their doubts and dissatisfactions. There are no easy choices. Everything carries weight. Everything matters.  That's what elevates X-MEN, and this instalment in particular, to something very special indeed.

X-MEN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST has a running time of 131 minutes and is rated PG-13. The movie is on global release.

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