Movie review: 'X-Men Days of Future Past'

Sat. May 24, 2014 11:42 AM by Gregg Shapiro

hugh jackman as wolverine

photo credit // 20th century fox/marvel

X-Men, a satisfying serving of early summer entertainment

First the bad news, X-Men Days of Future Past (20th Century Fox/Marvel) is yet another example of the unnecessary overuse of 3-D. The few scenes in which it is best utilized would probably be as effective in 2-D. Also, newly out actress Ellen Page is completely wasted as Kitty Pryde, whose powers of intangibility extend to assisting others to travel through time. It's too bad she can't travel back in time to tell the screenwriters what a corny idea that is and ask them to better explain the morphing of her abilities.

Here's how the time travel in X-Men Days of Future Past (get it?) works: in the not too distant future, an army of indestructible sentinels, invented by mad government scientist Trask (Peter Dinklage), whose sole function is to hunt down and obliterate mutants, is getting closer to achieving its goal. In a last ditch effort to prevent that from happening Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman and his obligatory bare chest and ass) is sent back to the 1970s to prevent the reprobate Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from assassinating Trask, thereby rewriting history, especially for the hunted and misunderstood mutants.

The time travel element allows both the present/future version of Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Erik/Magneto (out actor Sir Ian MacKellan) to appear on-screen together, finally putting their long-standing differences aside. It also permits new and expanded insight into what went wrong in their relationship, in the early 1970s.

Logan/Wolverine, the only one built tough enough to withstand the potential dangers of such time travel is sent back to 1973 where he first convinces the young, damaged and defeated younger Xavier (James MacAvoy) of the purpose of his quest. Joined by Xavier's mentee and personal caretaker Hank/Beast (Nicholas Hoult), they set out to free an imprisoned youthful Erik/Magneto (Michael Fassbender), who has been found guilty of assassinating JFK (don't ask!).

In the movie's best scenes, the ones that combine dazzling special effects and brilliant humor, the velocity skills of Peter/Quicksilver (Evan Peters) are enlisted to assist in Erik/Magneto's Pentagon prison break. This section alone makes it worthwhile to sit through the more than two hours of seat rattling bombast. What follows is a series of exotic locales, from China to Vietnam to Paris, as well as a considerable amount of time spent in Washington DC and environs, and a race against time stop the shape-shifting and determined Raven/Mystique from carrying out her mission. Certainly not the worst installment in the series, it's far from the best (that honor goes to the very queer X-Men 2).

Nevertheless, from the perspective of this non-comic book geek, it's a satisfying serving of early summer entertainment. 

Reel Advice: X-Men Days of Future Past and The Normal Heart