A-Plus for ‘X-Men’ sequel

By Frank Ruggiero (frank@mountaintimes.com)

Article Published: May. 29 | Modified: May. 29
A-Plus for ‘X-Men’ sequel

From top, Nicholas Hoult and Hugh Jackman star in ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past.’

Photo submitted

Comic-book movies are the trend du jour.

Every title and its mother, including the critically panned “Every Title and Its Mother,” have gotten the Hollywood treatment, and box offices are no worse for wear.

But it’s no coincidence that the man who started this movement is responsible for some of the genre’s best. When Bryan Singer directed “X-Men” in 2000, he brought one of comics’ most recognized titles to the big screen, in a grounded, yet fantastic interpretation that breathed life and depth into its iconic characters.

In the latest installment, “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” Singer doesn’t disappoint. In fact, he delights. This sequel/prequel hybrid is easily one of the finest entries in the “X-Men” series, thoroughly entertaining, quick-witted and action-packed, with its fair share of mind-blowing special effects and an ever-necessary dose of humanity.

With minimal exposition, viewers are thrust right into the story, which brilliantly combines the cast and continuity of the original films with those of the 2011 reboot/prequel, “X-Men: First Class,” all in one exquisitely wrapped package. It’s a comic-book fan’s comic-book movie, and it unfolds just like a pulpy page-turner.

In the dystopian future, a government-sanctioned plan to control the world’s mutant population has led man- and mutant-kind to the brink of extinction. As Prof. Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart, TV’s “Star Trek: The Next Generation”) sees it, it’s a war his species cannot win. Having joined forces with his old friend and frequent enemy, Erik “Magneto” Lehnsherr (Ian McKellen, “The Lord of the Rings”), he determines the only way to save the future is to change the past.

To do so, they’ll have to send the consciousness of everyone’s favorite badass, Logan, aka Wolverine (Hugh Jackman, “The Prestige”), back in time to the 1970s to prevent the shape-shifting Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence, “The Hunger Games”) from assassinating one Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage, “The Station Agent”), the scientist behind the project that leads to the aforementioned dystopia.

In order to stop Mystique, however, Logan will have to bring together an estranged — and younger — Charles (James McAvoy, “Trance”) and Erik (Michael Fassbender, “Inglourious Basterds”), both of whom have fallen on considerably hard times and couldn’t be at further odds with each other.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking in the future, leaving Logan with only so much time before Xavier’s desperate plan is put to a dismal end.

At its heart, “Days of Future Past” is a time-travel adventure, taking cues from the James Cameron (“The Terminator”) and Robert Zemeckis (“Back to the Future”) schools of sci-fi storytelling. As such, it’s an exceptionally fun time at the movies. Despite its darker overtones, the sequel is actually quite bright and rife with wit and humor, especially as Singer weaves the “X-Men” mythos into world history, including the Kennedy assassination, Vietnam and the Paris Peace Accords.

Fans of the series will also delight in the many references and character cameos peppered throughout, which actually fit seamlessly into the narrative.

Granted, with such little exposition, this neatly self-contained film could alienate viewers unfamiliar with the previous six entries, and rightly so. This works to its strength as a sequel. Without having to spend time on establishing characters who’ve already been established for 14 years, Singer and company can concentrate on pace, character development and, most importantly, heart.

“X-Men: Days of Future Past,” rated PG- 13 for sequences of intense sci-fi violence and action, some suggestive material, nudity and language, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone. For show times, visit http://www.mountaintimes.com/movies.

Additional Images

From top, Nicholas Hoult and Hugh Jackman star in ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past.’
Photo submitted

Michael Fassbender stars in 'X-Men: Days of Future Past.'
Photo submitted

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