Director: Bryan Singer
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Halley Berry, Nicholas Hoult, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Peter Dinklage, Omar Sy, Daniel Cudmore, Fan Bingbing, Boo Boo Stewart, Adan Canto, Evan Peters, Josh Helman, Lucas Till, Evan Jonigkeit.
Running Time: 131 minutes.
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 “X-Men: First Class,” in an epic battle that must change the past – to save our future.
The follow up to Matthew Vaughn’s really quite superb X-MEN: FIRST CLASS has been in development pretty much since the first movie opened to a staggering $350 million in worldwide revenue all of the way back in 2011. Vaughn’s nostalgic trip to the early days of Professor Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr, tickled and triumphed in all of the right places, but something was missing from the 1960s-set origin story; those much-loved character’s of the earlier movies, notably Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, and the older, wiser Xavier and Magneto, played by Sirs Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen.
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST attempts to fix all that, and plots a new story that further develops the younger ‘X’ cast, whilst, at the same time, uniting them with the older crew. ‘Days Of Future Past’ is based around a story arc from a 1981 Uncanny X-Men comic book series by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, and sees Jackman’s Logan transported back to the early 1970s to alter the past to save the future.
Taking over the scripting duties from Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman on the film is JUMPER, SHERLOCK HOLMES and MR & MRS. SMITH writer Simon Kinberg, who, while not a newcomer to the franchise by any means (he wrote X-MEN: THE LAST STAND and co-produced ‘First Class’), has the unenviable task of building upon the foundations laid by the the applauded Goldman/Vaughn team. A film attempting to use 20-odd major Marvel characters is in danger of spreading itself a little thin, and while there are some characters massively underused in the piece (Halle Berry’s Storm, Shawn Ashmore’s Iceman, Anna Paquin’s Rogue and even McPeter Dinklage’s Trask), Kinberg has somehow managed to ace it in terms of weaving old and young Xavier and Magneto, and balancing the screen time of the extremely strong performances of McAvoy and Fassbender, both of whom are excellent once again. Stewart and McKellen are sadly limited to minor supporting roles, but Jackman’s Logan/ Wolverine is very much centre stage as the time-travelling saviour, and this is perhaps his strongest performance as the metal-clawed, hugely popular mutant to date.
Other stand-outs are the aforementioned Dinklage, a newcomer in the form of Dr. Bolivar Trask, and KICK-ASS alumni Evan Peters as Quicksilver, a role that will be played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson in the upcoming AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON. There are a few early scenes in which the talented Peters dominates as the speedy super-hero, and he delivers a lot of the more comedic moments in the first part of the film, including a superb set-piece with Fassbender’s Magneto, which is perhaps the stand-out moment of the movie; one which gives a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘bullet-time.’
As for Singer, well this is his return to form following his directing-sabbatical from the franchise and his disappointing dip into the DC universe with SUPERMAN RETURNS, and the diabolical fantasy-tale that was JACK THE GIANT SLAYER. He seamlessly re-immerses himself into the X-Men series, flawlessly weaving old and new, and bar a little overkill on the whole time-travelling exposition in the first reel, balances the pace quite nicely throughout, making the 131-running time, quite literally fly by.
This won’t please all by any means, but it’s a solid addition to the X-Men cannon, bridging old and new quite nicely with excellent performances from its central cast, who all still seem to believe in a franchise that has lasted the test of time.
It is the biggest and best X-Men movie yet, and a worthy addition to a superhero summer that is shaping up to be one of the best.
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST is very much a must-see.
[usr=4] X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST opens in UK cinemas from the 22nd May, 2014, and North American territories from 23rd May, 2014.