Friday, 20 June 2014



I'm really not the biggest fan of the X-Men. I didn't care that much for the first two films so I wasn't that bothered when the mighty Bryan Singer was replaced by the somewhat less than mighty Brett Ratner for The Last Stand, and if I'm being totally honest if you showed me a scene from one of those three I couldn't tell you which one it was or who had directed it. Like Christopher Nolan's Batman movies, and unlike the ongoing Marvel Avengers series, I desperately wanted them to lighten up and stop being so glum and serious all the time. These films are supposed to be fun, not gloomy Bergmanesque examinations of the (super)human condition, and happily they did lighten up a bit. X-Men First Class was lighter, and more enjoyable, as was last year's The Wolverine.

This time around, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) has to go back in time so you get the regular X-Men from the present day as well as their younger selves from First Class. In an indeterminate alternative future the Earth has been ravaged by Sentinels: robots tasked not just with exterminating mutants but any regular humans who might have mutant children. Hiding out in a Chinese temple, Wolverine's consciousness is sent back in time by old Magneto and Xavier (Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart) into his early 70s body, tasked with uniting their own younger selves (Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy) to stop young Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from assassinating the Sentinels' creator Boliver Trask (Peter Dinklage), as it's this moment that will ultimately lead to the Sentinels' manufacture and the subsequent slaughter....

I probably had more fun with X-Men: Days Of Future Past than any of the previous X-Men entries, as it generally doesn't have those scenes of massive urban destruction we've seen too often in comic-book movies (and others) and which are starting to get more than a little boring now. For another thing, there are less of the mutants to keep track of: one of the ongoing problems I've had with the series has been forgetting who are the good mutants and who are the evil ones, and indeed which ones have survived previous instalments, but in this one it doesn't really matter as only a few are left and they're now all on the same side. You could perhaps argue that the film doesn't do much in the way of gender representation, with women restricted mainly to Ellen Page clinging onto the future Wolverine to keep him alive and Jennifer Lawrence cavorting about in the blue nudey suit, but in truth it's not something I had a problem with.

The best individual moment of the film belongs to Quicksilver (Evan Peters) who can operate at superspeed so everything is slowed down to the point where he can pluck flying bullets from the air, and that's probably the sequence that would have worked best in 3D. (I was happy to watch it in 2D where it played perfectly well.) Somewhat inevitably, the film does end with the obligatory teaser for the next film in the saga, X-Men: Apocalypse which Wikipedia suggests isn't due for another two years! And then there's another Wolverine movie....Well, frankly, if they're as good as Days Of Future Past I'm not about to object as I generally enjoyed it more than any of the earlier films. Not perfect, but well worth seeing.


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