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X-Men: Days Of Future Past (Review 2)




Released: 22nd May 2014

Directed By: Bryan Singer,

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James Mcavoy, Sir Ian Mckellen

Certificate: 12A

Reviewed By: Darryl Griffiths

Ever since he abandoned the franchise a mere decade ago after providing what is still highly regarded as the franchise’s strongest entry (X-2), to pursue his burning ambition of bringing Superman back to our screens in 2006, director Bryan Singer has seen his beloved mutant ensemble struggle to reach such dizzying heights. Whether it’s the at first distinctly dull to solid solo Wolverine outings followed by Matthew Vaughn’s well received ‘First Class’, the X-Men franchise has been relentless in its attempts to repair the damage many fans, felt stemmed from Brett Ratner’s ‘The Last Stand’.

An audacious time-hopping narrative to ‘right the wrongs’, ‘Days Of Future Past’ sees a battle-weary Magneto (Sir Ian Mckellen) and Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) desperate to protect the longevity of their kind. The year 2023, fifty years on since their ominous ‘birth’ funded by narrow-minded American authorities and led by their creator Bollivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), the Sentinels’ daunting capability to adapt to the powers of any respective mutant has left the race on the brink.

Able to pinpoint the moment in time which sparked such a devastating chain of events, their fate lies in the sharp adamantium claws of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and the capable hands of Ellen Page’s Kitty Pryde. Adamant his ability to self-heal will defy the potential harm of sending one’s consciousness longer than a few weeks back in time, he finds himself in the year 1973. The repercussions of a tortured relationship which encapsulated ‘First Class’ now in full effect, Wolverine is met with the daunting task of aligning X’s and Magneto’s younger selves (James Mcavoy and Michael Fassbender) once more to prevent the creation of such a destructive force.

The ‘X-Men’ films have often had a wonderful grasp of its political and social resonance, no matter the period it embraces aesthetically. Intertwined with this particular instalment’s narrative complexities and its reliance on the plot threads that ran through fellow series entries, ‘Days Of Future Past’ could so easily have been bloated by endless exposition. Here, Bryan Singer proves why he and this Marvel product should never have been torn apart.

Instilling a real sense of dramatic heft which has been sorely lacking in recent instalments whilst refusing to stifle the wisecracking qualities of its ensemble, Singer ensures that the film’s obligations to thrill never overshadows the inner struggles of its protagonists. Playing on the ‘alienation of one race’ angle which remains shamefully prominent in modern society, Jennifer Lawrence’s duplicitous Mystique is the ideal ‘vessel’ for such dissection as she wrestles with the personal satisfaction of ‘avenging’ such significant loss.

A further threat to upstaging the original cast, James Mcavoy raises his game in compelling fashion, introducing us to an emotionally fractured Charles Xavier, with scenes shared with a refreshingly restrained Wolverine in Hugh Jackman particularly packing real punch. Exposing us to the torment that has plagued his mind through his altercations with Fassbender’s Magneto whom remains a steely presence and his attachment to Lawrence’s Mystique, it’s the ideal juxtaposition to Stewart’s wise if unnervingly calm Xavier, aiding the ‘barrier breaking’ between mutants and humans which has been deftly dealt with on previous occasions.

Whilst not as action-driven as its predecessors, the film delivers pitch-perfect adrenaline shots with debutant Quicksilver’s (Evan Peters) ‘Time In A Bottle’ prison break, a mischievously played set-piece which may just top Alan Cumming’s Nightcrawler’s exhilarating ‘X-2’ entrance. Singer doesn’t skimp on capturing the turbulent mood of the period as he orchestrates, with his shot selection of capturing such spectacle evoking a fitting sense of historical significance.

A seamless blend of two generations, with the verbal tussles as compelling as its fantastical splendour. In hitting the rewind button,  ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’ has laid the foundations for an exciting future. Bring on the Apocalypse..







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