Cinema Review – X-Men: Days of Future Past

In the not too distant future, a war between mutants and humans has devastated the world, and Professor X (Patrick Stewart) traces the war back to a single event in the past. The Professor, along with Magneto (Ian McKellen), devises a way for Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) to send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back in time, to end the war before it even begins. There has been much buzz around Days of Future Past, the fifth ensemble X-Men movie outing, and for good reason. Not only are a lot of the old gang back together – Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore and Anna Paquin – but we get to see the cast of First Class back together as well, including Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Jennifer Lawrence. Fans! REJOICE!

The story is based on the storyline from the Uncanny X-Men published in 1981, and it is filled with huge set pieces, political thrills and emotional hooks. Michael Fassbender ditches the Kerry accent for his second turn as Magneto, and makes his performance not only one that mimics Ian McKellen’s, but has tons of scope for the actor to enjoy himself. James McAvoy gets to play Charles Xavier as a rock and roll mutant hero stuck in clouds of disillusionment, and Jennifer Lawrence appears to have tons of fun making Mystique a character with a story, and not just a foxy woman in blue body paint.

Also new to the franchise is Peter Dinklage as Dr. Bolivar Trask; a scientist with a plan to deal with the mutant problem once and for all. Dinklage continues his run of great roles as Trask and is horribly convincing in the anti-mutant arguments he makes. Also new to the cast is Evan Peters as Quicksilver – the character to be played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson in The Avengers: Age of Ultron – who makes his character just arrogant enough to work and just likeable enough to be fun.Taylor-Johnson has a tough act to follow.

Screenwriters Simon Kinberg and Jane Goldman allow the story to unfold, and twist and turn, while making the time travel elements of the story simple and engaging. Sure, there will be a megafan who picks holes in the logic, but the time travel is not the biggest deal here. The banter between the characters is great, Wolverine’s humour is back and better than ever, and the climactic scene is truly brought right down to the wire.

Bryan Singer is back in the director’s chair for his first X-Men movie since X2, and his experience with the franchise shows. The film is tightly and skilfully directed, with only one really noticeable lag in proceedings; not bad for a 131 minute long film. The set pieces are huge and, if truth be told, a little silly, but they are engaging and well paced, and serve to forward the action of the film.

X-Men: Days of Future Past is the best superhero movie to come out of a Marvel property since Avengers Assemble in 2012, and it is sure to be a contender for one of the best blockbusters of 2014. Fassbender and McAvoy shine in a cast filled with strong performers, the story is engaging and the pacing – apart from one lull – is top class.
Rating: 4.5/5

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