Director Bryan Singer’s much heralded return to the X-Men franchise proves an exciting if slightly confusing instalment, with plenty of superhero action, excitement and the regulation hang-wringing about tolerance.
Days of Future Past was a popular story in the comics, and it really was only a matter of time before the subject of the mutant annihilating Sentinels were brought to the big screen. The plot begins in a Terminator-esque future where robotic beings (the afore-mentioned Sentinels) have turned on mutants and humans alike. Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellen), Storm (Halle Berry), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) and a few others surviving mutants join forces to send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back through time to the 1970s to meet the younger Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) in order to enlist their help to stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from assassinating Dr Trask (Peter Dinklage) – the man most directly responsible for the rise of the Sentinels.
Borrowing liberally from The Terminator, The Matrix and countless other sci-fi or time travel tropes, Days of Future Past gleefully romps along at a good pace with Singer generally getting good performances from his cast and throwing in some smashing set pieces. One in particular – involving a heist in the Pentagon and a brief appearance from soon-to-be-appearing-in-the-Avengers-sequel Quicksilver (Evan Peters) – is very impressive indeed. There is also some incidental fun to be had with Magneto’s supposed involvement in the Kennedy assassination. Visual effects are excellent, and even though I’m not sure the plot always makes sense, it’s hardly worth trying to understand a film so bogged down in its own mythology, parallel timelines, and so on. Really it’s better just to go with the flow.
Densely plotted storytelling aside, and despite the fact that I’d have liked a little more from McKellen and Stewart, X-Men: Days of Future Past is a solid if hardly groundbreaking entry in the series. You’ll need to have seen the earlier films to follow half of what happens, but assuming you have it’s a fun ride and well worth a look.