Monday, May 26, 2014

‘Future’ intense

(Some spoilers ahead.)

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” brings together the casts of both the original trilogy and 2011’s momentous “X-Men First Class,” a fitting, ambitious union that matches the epic adaptation of the comic book story. Directed by Bryan Singer, “Days of Future Past” presents a dystopian future where mutants, believed to be the next step in human evolution, are nearly eradicated by the powerful Sentinel automatons.

The psyche of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman, playing the character for the nth time) is sent back in time to his younger body in 1973. Tasked with stopping the assassination of weapons designer Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) by the shapeshifter Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Wolverine enlists the aid of ex-friends Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender).

There are many fan-pleasers, from the star-studded cast to new mutant characters (Quicksilver! Blink! Warpath!). The mission to prevent the subjugation of mutantkind via time travel has been a recurring concept in the monthlies, but the original one from the early ‘80s is rightly adapted for the big screen, reworked into a visually spectacular, similarly urgent and affecting scifi caper.

And fans who were disappointed with 2006’s “X-Men: The Last Stand,” rejoice: Due to the X-Men’s continuity-altering mission, the messy installment is eventually wiped out of existence, along with the Sentinel-ruled timeline! Reality is “Back to the Future’d,” but it’s a justified, rewarding restructuring of the X-films’ mythology.

The assemblage of actors, again, makes the film extra-fleshed-out: Fassbender is still complex and intense; McAvoy plays a disillusioned Professor X; Lawrence gives depth to Mystique; Ian McKellen plays a more subdued, resigned Magneto; Patrick Stewart offers a wizened Charles; Jackman is still good as Logan, a decade and a half later; Ellen Page is given a significant part this time.

The extra scene after the credits heralds the arrival of a new character, which will make its presence felt in the next film, another story inspired by the comics. For now, though, “Days of Future Past” makes the X-universe cohesive, fixing the franchise and offering an exciting future.

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