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Past and Future Days in Marvel’s X Universe

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X Men Days of Future Past

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Now playing among Philadelphian theaters, Bryan Singer’s nationwide release of the latest “X-Men” franchise is perhaps the most impressive feat since Singer’s original millennial film boggled audience minds everywhere. Singer taps into his original creative vitality behind the entire franchise generation, birthing this latest film with a forceful, narrative finesse.

Immediate superlatives must tip hat toward each actors’ ability to lend life and believability to a comic book world of fantasy and fictional science. A special kudos and shout-out to everyone’s favorite Lannister, Peter Dinklage, who breaks form from his medieval British creation to breathe life into a different sort of amoral rogue, and one much less likeable. Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Jennifer Lawrence deliver particularly honed performances, accenting the film’s weight in the storyline’s past even as it runs parallel with X-Men’s present.

Die-hard comic purists may be disappointed; key plot points from the superlative comic narrative antedating this film shift to accommodate theatrical media. There seems one very specific, somewhat ridiculous plot addition involving a random new power to an otherwise defined character, which both confuses and bewilders. Other than that, the film is pretty flawless. Philosophically, the screenwriters tread similar ground as the Terminator franchise, specifically its second film, by questioning the underlying quantum reality behind time.

What is time? Can we change the past, and thereby change the future? Can consciousness be projected without and within to our past selves in order to cause and prevent? These questions are wrestled with, adding substance to an otherwise silly (delightfully so) and action-packed melodrama. One sequence in particular, involving a time-slowed, Matrix-esc film bender via Evan Peters’ “Quicksilver” character, is alone worth the price of admission.

All in all, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” feels almost too perfect, at times…so much so that it then borders on being somewhat hollow and wooden. Still, such manufactured, sleek special effects and superlative writing never detract from the film’s power. Jennifer Lawrence’s “Mystique”, or Raven, commonly named, hinges the entire plot upon one held-breath decision toward the film’s end. She is a forceful and talented actress, not the least of which is earned by driving through the difficulties presented by this role- the hours-long make-up process, physical stamina, and (in this film) Vietnamese language skills required. It’s no coincidence Lawrence has an Oscar under her belt.

Not to be missed. Especially for the 70s get-ups.

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