X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
Author: J.A. Hyde
May 22, 2014

SYNOPSIS: The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. The beloved characters from the original "X-Men" film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from the past, "X-Men: First Class," in order to change a major historical event and fight in an epic battle that could save our future.

Now that’s what I’m talking about! X-Men: Days of Future Past is everything you’d expect plus a few things you probably don’t expect. An exceptional cast and great effects are just part of the film’s success. It also offers an intriguing story line involving time travel from what Professor X (Patrick Stewart) deems a “dark and dangerous future for both mutants and humans” back to 1973. As everyone knows, monkeying around with the past in time travel can have unexpected consequences.

Hugh Jackman (Logan/Wolverine) really carries this film, and here’s one of the unexpected features: Jackman gives us a subdued Wolverine. Logan/Wolverine is the only mutant who can survive the foray back into the past and is instructed to be “patient” – in his own words, “Not my strong suit.” The story line gives Jackman a chance to show his considerable range as he conveys his own confusion, suffering, and determination to “save” the future.

The film opens with the few remaining mutants, including Professor X (Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellen), Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat (Ellen Page), Storm (Halle Berry), Bobby/Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Bishop (Omar Sky), Warpath (Booboo Stewart), Colossus (Daniel Cudmore), and Blink (Bingbing Fan), holed up in a remote Chinese monastery to avoid certain extinction by the Sentinels – deadly robots whose sole purpose is to kill mutants. Former mortal enemies, Professor X and Magneto, now united in the quest to save themselves and the other mutants, agree that someone must be sent back to 1973 via the powers of Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat. She warns that no one can withstand being sent back more than a few days, but Logan, with his ability to immediately heal, agrees to risk it.

Logan’s mission, to stop an event involving Raven/Mystique, will be complicated by the young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), who lives in his ruined school in a drunken haze, aided by Hank/Beast (Nicholas Hoult). Logan has some heavy-duty convincing to do. A second formidable problem involves busting Erik Lehnsherr (Micahel Fassbender) out of a heavily fortified concrete prison far below the Pentagon. Instrumental in this will be Peter/Quicksilver (Evan Peters), whose power is supersonic speed. There’s not a lot of levity in this film, but Quicksilver provides most of it.

The review continues after the jump!

The amazing Peter Dinklage portrays Dr. Bolivar Trask whose Trask Industries has created prototypes of Sentinels – sentient and invincible robotic creatures with the single-minded purpose of using mutants’ powers against them. Dinklage makes Trask arrogant and short-sighted, and Raven/Mystique believes that the only way to save the mutants is to kill him – a plan that the future Professor X knows will backfire horribly. Jennifer Lawrence gets much more screen time as she morphs in and out of various bodies to accomplish her goal, and Lawrence brings her considerable talents to this very physical and emotionally demanding role.

Resurrecting the tacky fashions, some of the cloying music, the cars, and ubiquitous smoking of 1973 provides a bit of humor as does Mark Camacho portraying President Richard Nixon. Of course, the many roadblocks Logan and his companions face generate significant tension, and though you sense all will come out well, you begin to wonder how it possibly can.

The special effects and stunts are breath-taking and will keep you riveted throughout the film. Some are beyond description – for example, “death by stadium.” Don’t ask – you just have to see it! - JoAnne Hyde

GRADE: A


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