Leave it to the X-Men to put the fun back in summer blockbusters.
Hugh Jackman, in the role he was coiffed to play, and the rest of the crew
from pretty much every film in this past, present and future franchise, deliver
the action and the laughs in “Days of Future Past,” an all-star/all-X-Men outing designed to transition from the aging first generation cast into their younger
selves. It’s too long and so cluttered with characters and exposition that if
you weren’t a fan of the comics, you may feel you’re being punished. But it
delivers the 3D thrills and the Wolverine (and Quicksilver) giggles, and
In a “Terminator” future, the robotic Sentinels have all but wiped out
humanity and the mutants who love them. But with the aid of time-bending Kitty
Pryde (Ellen Page), the X-Men may be able to stop the mad — or at least greedy
and irritable — scientist (Peter Dinklage) who invented these machines back
during the Nixon administration. Future mutants send the greying Wolverine
(Jackman), or at least his consciousness, back to 1973.
And from the minute the guy wakes up in a world of lava lamps, Little Feat
and ‘Lectric Shave, things are popping. Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and
his nemesis-turned-MFF Magneto (Ian McKellen) need Wolverine to convince their
feuding young selves (James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender) to prevent a vendetta
by Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) that dooms the future. So Wolverine, Beast
(Nicholas Hoult) and the two mutant leaders contend with the Vietnam War peace
talks, Richard Nixon, as well as the young soldier who will age into the evil
Stryker as they chase Mystique hither and yon.
Because she’s seen the experiments this scientist has been doing on mutants.
She’s been to Vietnam, where a selection of them were used in combat. And she’s
got blood in her blue-green eyes.
History is twisted and sent up, from the Kennedy Assassination to “Star
Trek.” They need to bust into the Pentagon, so they track down a punk teen, the
future Quicksilver (Evan Peters, who just kills in this part). That break-in
scene, in 3D slow motion “bullet time,” may be the coolest action beat ever
filmed in 3D and packs the biggest giggles in any X-Men film. Quicksilver
hurtles through a sea of military police, misdirecting their guns, playing the
“stop hitting yourself” game, giving wedgies.
Meanwhile, in the future, Bishop (Omar Sy), Storm (Halle Berry), Blink
(Bingbing Fan) try to hold off the Sentinels using some of the most spectacular
effects (instant wormholes) you’ve ever seen in a fight scene.
Jackman has most of the one liners. He drops in on the past version of
Xavier’s school for gifted (mutant) kids, which has closed as the Professor has
lost his way and crawled into a bottle.
“Are you a parent?” Hank/Beast asks at the door.
“I sure as hell HOPE not!”
The acting is all you could hope for from this cast, with Page bringing the
empathy and Jackman delivering the cool. Dinklage could have brought a bit more
villainous glee, but McAvoy re-interprets Xavier nicely and Lawrence doesn’t let
down the side.
There’s no Stan Lee cameo, the onslaught of characters is a bit much and the
third act drags and drags before delivering a heartfelt payoff. But “Days of
Future Past” is most everything we’d hoped the summer’s earlier popcorn pictures
would be, most of all — fun.
MPAA Rating:PG- 13 for sequences of intense sci-fi violence and action, some
suggestive material, nudity and language
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Ellen Page, James
McAvoy, Peter Dinklage, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Omar Sy
Credits: Directed by Bryan Singer, written by Simon Kinberg, Jane Goldman and
Matthew Vaughn, based on the Marvel comic books. A 20th Century Fox release.
Running time: 2:12