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Ambitious 'Days of Future Past' helps to set the 'X-Men' universe straight

X Men Days of Future Past

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Release date: May 23, 2014

Wolverine helps to merge the two X-Men universes in order to inject some energy into franchise.
Wolverine helps to merge the two X-Men universes in order to inject some energy into franchise.
20th century Fox, with permission

Directed by: Bryan Singer

Written by: Simon Kinberg

Hey comic book fans. Don’t give up on the X-Men yet. After a run of less than stellar mutant super hero flicks, Bryan Singer returns to the director’s chair with the ambitious “X-Men Days of Future Past” and manages to inject some energy into this fading franchise and right some of the mistakes that have been made along the way.

The plot, at a glance, may seem a little complicated. In a desolate future where giant robots known as sentinels have nearly wiped out the mutants, Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Sir Ian McKellan) must send Wolverine (again, Hugh Jackman) back in time to stop a disaster that will ultimately lead to this doomed timeline. Complicated, yes. But Singer’s guidance makes it simple enough to follow even if you’re not up to date on the series as a whole.

A majority of the film takes place in 1973, allowing for some fun kitschy play with costumes and settings and jumps back and forth between the ’73 timeline and the 2023 timeline. This allows Singer to use his old X-gang, including Stewart, McKellan, and Halle Berry; as well as the younger models from “X-Men First Class” including James McAvoy and James Fassbender as the younger Professor X and Magneto, respectively.

Merging universes the universes helps to right some of the wrongs that have been made along the way, and ties up the plot holes (as best as he can anyway), while setting up a more cohesive future for the franchise with both sets of characters. Be sure to stay through the credits for the stinger that will set up the next movie in the series.

There are a ton of characters peppered in, some who have appeared in past films, others who are making their X-debut. Thankfully, the script from Simon Kinberg, who is penning one of the new “Star Wars” spin-off flicks, gives everyone something to do. No one really feels just thrown in, nor does anyone feel slighted. Look for a fun turn by Evan Peters as super speedster Quicksilver, a character that will also be seen – although unrelated and played by a different actor – in next summer’s Avengers sequel.

Singer is clearly happy to be back among his mutant brothers and sisters. “Days of Future Past” delivers some of the best super hero action seen on screen in recent memory, as well as a lot of new and creative uses of the mutant powers. But more importantly, the film has a sense of urgency that has been lacking in recent outings.

“X-Men Days of Future Past” helps return the X-Men to the glory days state Singer had left them in when he bolted to temporarily derail the Superman’s franchise. But he’s back where he belongs and the film is a dark, violent, but incredibly fun summer action flick.

Running time: 131 minutes

Rating: PG- 13 for sequences of intense sci-fi violence and action, some suggestive material, nudity and language