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Review: 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' Dir. Bryan Singer exceeds all expectations

X-Men: Days of Future Past opens May 23
X-Men: Days of Future Past opens May 23Official Film still / 20th Century Fox

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Rating:
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"X-Men: Days of Future Past" is a triumphant return from director Bryan Singer. In what seems to be a complicated script, Singer magically transforms it into a super hero film that all super hero films should aspire too.

X-Men: Days of Future Past opens May 23
X-Men: Days of Future Past opens May 23Official Studio Still

Fast forward to a dystopian-like future where mutants and humans who carry the mutant gene are being exterminated by these horribly efficient machines called Sentinels. In a last ditch effort, a handful of X-Men devise a plan to send a member back in time to right a wrong.

There's a zillion things to say about what went right in this film, even including the 3D, if you can imagine that? First and foremost is the story from a team of writers (see below) and the ability of Singer to interpret that written word into what seems like an effortless portrayal of a complicated story, that follows two time lines, a huge cast, tons of special effects, and many A-list actors who all want their screen time to count.

Like "The Avengers" which had a lot of A-List actors all vying for their moment to shine, the entire team (see pictures) seems to rise above their celebrity and focus on the story and exactly how their role (not their real life) fits the bill. Some will boo-hoo that once again Storm (Halle Berry), doesn't have much of a role and even less is Rogue (Anna Paquin). Both are billed #5 and #7 on IMDB in the cast line-up even though they both have less than ten words in the film. The fact is, the characters have minor roles in this story, and it's too their credit that they appeared, which just goes to show how awesome Halle Berry and Anna Paquin are as real people. Their small roles really complimented the movie even though minimal. Perhaps there are plans to give them more story later in the the X-Men universe. However, the truth is, Storm just isn't that interesting or strong of a character. On the other hand, Rogue could possibly be of interest if given the right writing team. Nonetheless, they are part of the team of what makes X-Men so awesome and kudos to both putting their egos aside and doing their expected roles.

Moving on, let's talk acting. So many fine performances in the film as you might imagine from this stellar cast. Hugh Jackman personifies Wolverine. Last year at Comic Con (see pics) he talked to the Hall H audience and described how he walked around the con in costume and no one rushed him, and how one person even commented to him that he was just to tall to be the real Jackman! The fact is, Jackman owns Wolverine and rightly so. Physically the actor keeps himself in shape, and just carries the Wolverine persona in every way. I think he's played him now in eight movies, which he mentioned at the Comic Con International last year in San Diego, setting a record for appearances of a super hero (played by one actor) in a film. He's the central character of this X-Men film and rightly so the best man to once again take it on.

Newcomer to the genre, but simply a strong and substantial actor is Peter Dinklage (Tyrion on Game Of Thrones). He didn't get those zinger lines he has on the HBO's hit GOT, but as Dr. Trask, the creator of the Sentinels, he shines with that 70's swagger and fluffy hair do. As the man and his creation comes into question, his would-be assassinator, Raven/Mystique, played by Jennifer Lawrence, goes for broke in taking him out. Any actress who can get up there on the big screen in an outfit that shows it all, yet comes across as super confident, deserves an award. Never mind her acting, which was worthy, considering she had few opportunity in the dialogue department. Even so, she delivered her tears when necessary just as she delivered some deathly blows with her long legs. Is there nothing this actress can't do!

Since the story takes place in two time lines, Singer pulls the actors who originally played the X-Men, Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto/Erik (Ian McKellen) as well as the ones who played the same characters in the last film, "X-Men: First Class;" Which took place when the characters were much younger, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, Singer brings all of them into the fold in a meaningful way. Getting the story straight and the tine lines to make sense is not an easy task and the writers/Singer deliver 99% of the time. There may be some contention when young Professor X mind melds through time, and through Wolverine, to communicate with his mature and wiser self to receive a message (via Kitty Pryde). The fact is, the scene was well done and added to the momentum of the film. Time travel is confusing but nonetheless Singer makes it look easy.

The stand-out role and performance easily goes to newcomer Evan Peters, who plays Quicksilver. His character can move extremely fast, and the added touches of humor that the writers incorporated into his character, as well as his ability to do comedy, was undoubtedly the highlight of the entire film. A few years ago he got a role on "American Horror Story" (TV show). Great show, and the characters he has gotten to portray (the show changes the story every year but keeps the main actors) the past three seasons has given him the experience to land bigger roles. Peters has established a solid career in mostly smaller roles, but I think his portrayal of Quicksilver is going to land him on the short list of many casting calls in the near future. What sort of sucks, is that Quicksilver is a very unique character, in that he crosses over to the immediate Avengers Universe; However, Quicksilver is being played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Godzilla) in the next film. Now that I've seen Peters in the role, and I've seen Taylor-Johnson in "Godzilla," I sort of wish Peters was in the new Avengers film due out 2015. I doubt Joss Whedon will recast the role since it's filming currently but like a good fan, I will trust in Joss.

"X-Men: Days of Future Past" is the strongest outing to date for the series, and marks the return of Bryan Singer in the director's chair. Singer seems to be so in-tune with the X-Men universe and the super hero genre that he brings a new level of expectation to future films that will be remarkably hard pressed to outdo. With superb acting by the entire cast, including stand-out Even Peters as Quicksilver, the entire film from start to finish is a super hero masterpiece. The pacing, on the edge of your seat story-telling, the special effects, and even the 3D all well done. I usually don't condone 3D with few exceptions like "Avatar;" However, I could see that many shots were framed in this film to look good in the format. Also, make sure to see the 3D in the RealD format as their plastic glasses work much better than others I've had to utilize. The film works on every level, even when the time-travel story goes a little amiss, which you may not even even notice because of all the fun you will have watching the fine performances from the entire cast.

A

PG-13, 2 hr. 11 min.
Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By: Bryan Singer , Matthew Vaughn
Written By: John Byrne, Simon Kinberg, Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman

20th Century Fox (who always hook their Hall H fans up with swag! #SDCC)

Official X-Men: Days of Future Past site

Screened in Houston at Edwards Theater