Voilà! X-Men: Days Of Future Past!!!!
We begin in an alternate near-future where what has remained of The X-Men find themselves cornered in the ruins of a Chinese temple by rampaging, shape-shifting Sentinels. Professor X (Patrick Stewart) then hatches an idea to have one of the team travel back to 1973 to stop the Sentinel program – the chain of events were triggered by Mystique’s assassination of robotics specialist Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), who was researching on the Sentinels, an army of robots designated to kill mutants on sight.
They settle upon Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), primarily because his adamantium-reinforced healing powers can withstand the great physical stresses long-term time travel can have on an average human’s constitution. He – naturally – lands buck-naked in the bed of a mob boss’ mistress, then decides to make short work of said boss’ goons when he realises his claws are – bone!!!
Wolverine then manages to meet up with Charles Xavier circa 1973 (played by James McAvoy) – here, looking like The Big Lebowski‘s “The Dude” (but only half the weight) and fully mobile yet greatly de-powered – at the run-down Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters. Xavier and Wolvie, along with The Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and Quicksilver (Evan Peters), set out to break young Erik “Magneto” Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) from a maximum-security prison beneath The Pentagon. From there, they intercept Mystique, who is set to snuff out Trask once he pitches his Sentinel program to no less than then-president Richard Nixon at the White House.
With such a formidably big cast, it is fortunate that Bryan Singer, returning to the franchise after quite a while, nimbly balances the exposure of each individual X-Man, blending mind-blowing action sequences (Quicksilver’s use of his speed factor in rescuing Magneto from The Pentagon’s lock-up has to be the best use of bullet-time outside the Matrix trilogy) with moments of humour. Simon Kinberg‘s script takes a number of liberties with the source 1981 X-Men story arc; Kitty Pride was supposed to be the time-traveler, and her main target was anti-mutant US Senator Robert Kelly. Jackman is, as usual, very much at home in his character of Logan/Wolverine; Jennifer Lawrence seems a tad too “healthy” to play the slinky Mystique (give me Rebecca Romijn anytime). Peter Dinklage‘s Bolivar Trask seems devoid of any attempts toward going all ham – maybe his Game Of Thrones stint may have imparted to him the necessity of under-acting. Sadly missing, though, is the obligatory Stan Lee cameo…
I am quite happy that the rebooted X-Men appears to be connected with real-world events (the JFK assassination, The Cuban Missile Crisis and even Watergate) even as the divergent character development of estranged friends Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr is likewise highlighted. Bryan Singer manages to successfully deliver a solid SF-thriller film, with enough ofthe X-Men’s iconic characters and continuities to keep even the most nit-picky fanboys sated. This is a leaner, meaner X-men film than its already-sterling predecessor.