X-Men: Days of Future Past Review

Watching an X-Men film feels like sitting through an examination that challenges your memory, while leaving logic out of the equation. Even with a new time travel gimmick, X-Men: Days of Future Past is – as it’s always been – about bringing the mutant gang together. With Bryan Singer at the helm, he has indeed rounded up the usual suspects. The list of stars is long, impressive and probably daunting for anyone who isn’t an X-pert. One faction is reintroduced in 2023, a nightmarish future where Sentinels (robots that look like Iron Man) efficiently hunt and kill mutants. The remaining X-Men to have survived this far: Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Storm (Halle Berry), Magneto (Ian McKellan), Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Shadowcat (Ellen Page) and Bishop (Omar Sy). To cut a lot of exposition short, the Sentinels were created during the Nixon regime by a scientist called Trask (Peter Dinklage). It’s decided that Wolverine will travel back in time – via a vortex created by Shadowcat – to prevent the machines’ creation. image Wolverine’s adventures in the 1973 aren’t exactly Back to the Future in terms of soaking in retro details or playing about with the format. Apart from a few outdated music choices, the era is instead paid tribute through jokes about bad acid. The target audience presumably won’t mind, given a rapid-fire meet n’ greet when Wolverine has to reintroduce himself to the various mutants. “I was sent from the future...” he wearily attests. Each conversation effectively serves as a reboot for each relationship, while serving up nugget-sized cheat notes for any newcomers. McAvoy is, of course (of course!) the younger version of Stewart’s Professor X, and he lives in hiding with Beast (Nicholas Hoult). Soon, they reteam with Magneto (Michael Fassbender as McKellan’s predecessor) and are on the hunt for Raven (Jennifer Lawrence). With these many stars, the narrative is inevitably muddled – and that’s before taking into account the time travel and multiple storylines. image Little time is left for developing Dinklage as a villain, or whether Sentinels are anything other than stand-by foes for when a writer is empty on ideas. That might be why the X-Men resort to fighting each other, leading to a battle that’s more to do with personalities than mutant powers. The other heroes outside of the core 1973 timeline are understandably reduced to contractual cameos, and are dealt with the film’s baggage in terms of dialogue and action. Yet I’m making Days of Future Past sound far more ambitious than it truly is. The underlying message is the usual blockbuster mumbo jumbo about the value of “hope, and whether “pain” makes you stronger – all half-heartedly tacked on in the usual places. For a story that’s more driven by character than special effects, a real trick has been missed. Stylistically, the series is moderate popcorn fare with little to prove, other than how many famous faces it can fit into 131 minutes. McAvoy’s Charles Xavier sums it up with a wish: “I’d like to wake up now.”



out of 10

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