X-Men Days of Future Past delivers the goods
X-Men: Days of Future Past features the biggest ensemble of mutants put together on film to date as both the original cast and the newer cast from X-Men: First Class join together to fight a war for the survival of both human and mutant kind across two time periods. When the future war between mutant/mankind and the treacherous sentinels near its darkest hour the small but steadfast group of X-Men still alive –Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Storm (Halle Berry), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Magneto (Ian McKellen) – meet up with former students Kitty Pride (Ellen Page), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) and their compatriots to form one last ditch effort to save all their lives. Wolverine is sent back in time to join the then rival Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) together to stop the events that lead to the mass destruction to come.
The star studded cast also brings backs Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique and introduces Peter Dinklage as the man responsible for the sentinels, Bolivar Trask. Director Bryan Singer manages to coordinate all of this chaos into a complex yet balanced story that features the entire mutant cast getting enough exposure that they are not wasted while still feature the few that audiences really want to see. The film also packs some effective twists and some memorable cameos from other mutants that will delight audiences. The script ingeniously leaves room for multiple follow ups involving either cast and manages to reset the entire mutant universe in one shot.
The majority of our time is spent in 1977 with the younger cast with Jackman, McAvoy and Nicolas Hoult as the young Beast as well as Fassbender, playing Magneto at a crucial point in his history as he still has yet to fully embrace the darkness that will lead him to want to rule the humans instead of work with them. As good as it is to see Stewart and McKellen return to the roles that launched the series, it’s the excellent work from Fassbender and McAvoy as the younger versions of those characters that propels and elevates this film. Jennifer Lawrence seems to have matured into the role of Mystique as her character is pivotal to the entire story and its mythology and she handles the added responsibility without flinching. Ellen Page and Halle Barry also do solid work in smaller supporting roles, with Fan BingBing, Evan Peters and Omar Sy being the standouts from the new crop of mutants as Blink, Quicksilver and Bishop respectively. Anna Paquin’s Rouge is relegated to a one shot cameo this time around as her character became a victim to the cutting room floor.
The effects work is excellent, the sentinels look fantastic in both their future and past incarnations, and the new powers brought into play, specifically Blink’s portal creating power, make for some powerful and jaw dropping visuals. It’s also fun to see Wolverine needing to improvise again after being transported back to before his adamantium insertion and only having his bone claws to use. The fight sequences are excellently staged, with the Quicksilver aided break out of Magneto being the real highlight, and they carry an epic feel in scope to them.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is a solid sequel with a smart script and a stellar cast. After last weekend’s amazing opening from the brilliant joyride that is “Godzilla”, the rest of the summer certainly has a lot to live up to.
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