Highly anticipated summer blockbuster, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” skyrockets onto the big screen with a chilling story of predeterminism and the power of compassion to overcome fear.
With Bryan Singer returned to the helm, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” tidies the franchise and unites the characters into a cohesive tale.
Set in a bleak and destitute future, the lives of the superhuman have been reduced to hunted creatures taking refuge in a dilapidated cityscape with no shade, no cover, nowhere to hide. Dr. Trask’s (Peter Dinklage) Sentinels are coming and for all their grand gifts, the mutants are little more than sitting prey.
With no alternative to extinction the only hope lies within the past. Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) sends Wolverine to the 1970s to eliminate the choices that snowball down the mountain of time and become the avalanche that eventually leads to their ultimate annihilation.
But choice is always the culprit. It is the underlying enemy that creates so much strife and war, for the individual as well as society. “X-Men: Days of Future Past” examines the role of choice in both the beauty of our experience and the darkness of it. It weighs that choice against the idea of destiny. The evaluation is subtle, but effective.
More noticeably are the elements of the X-Men movies that keep audiences coming back installment after installment. Demonstrations of cool powers is always a part of what makes X-Men so hot, but this time we see them up against formidable foes, ones that make mutant powers a necessity rather than extraordinary flair.
Beloved characters resurface, but it is the performances of the core cast – Patrick Stewart, James McAvoy, Ian McKellan, Michael Fassbender and Hugh Jackman – that ensnare the viewer and shepherd him through time and story.
James McAvoy as the young Professor X of the past is sure to emerge as the star of this chapter. His heady talent both as actor and character charms and draws an intense sympathy.
But this is not the expected Professor X. Here is a man struggling with loss and the consequences of his own choices. McAvoy tunes every note of this weighty performance to the proper frequency and each beat vibrates against the heart of the onlooker.
The complexity of Professor X and Magneto’s relationship is a prime staple of the series, but here there is no question from where the tension stems as Fassbender delivers a more black and white version of the singular focus metal bender.
And what is a superhero flick without superhero action? It stands to reason that many go for the excitement, the blasts of energy and the strikes of flesh. This movie provides ample exhilaration coupled with those more touching moments.
Just be clear, the fights are a bit hardcore and graphic. Also there is some fleshy nectar in the form of Wolverine’s backside. Though delicious and dazzling, it may be best to heed the rating.
The only quasi-downfall to the movie is, because so much of it is set in the past, which looks like authentic footage taken in the 70s, many of the original stars seem to mostly sit around and get paid.
Even with the threat of the Sentinels, at its core, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is about the spoils of choice, about the consequences and benefits and how because of choice destiny is fluid.