‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ proves this franchise has a bright future

Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Hugh Jackman in 'X-Men: Days of Future Past
Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Hugh Jackman in ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past

The seventh film in the X-Men series, X-Men: Days of Future Past is set in a not too distant future where mutants and the humans who are helping them find themselves being hunted to the verge of extinction by “Sentinels.”  These are sentient robots created by “Bolivar Trask” (Peter Dinklage).  Thanks to the ability of “Kitty Pryde” (Ellen Page) to shift someone’s consciousness backward in time, one group of mutants is keeping one step ahead of the Sentinels.  This group hooks up with “Professor Xavier” (Patrick Stewart) and “Magneto” (Ian McKellan) who have come up with a plan.  Send the mind of “Wolverine” (Hugh Jackman) back in time to 1973 to prevent the murder of Trask by “Mystique” (Jennifer Lawrence).  His murder made him into the perfect martyr to serve as a reason to wipe out the mutants, and Mystique’s capture in the aftermath of his death gave them her mutated genetic structure; allowing the Sentinels to be engineered to deal with any mutant powers.

Only Wolverine, with his incredible healing powers, can handle being sent that far back in time.  He awakens and must find the younger Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender), who along with the young “Hank McCoy” (Nicholas Hoult), will try to stop Mystique from killing Trask.  First they have to break Magneto out of the prison cell where he’s being held, with the assistance of “Quicksilver” (Even Peters).  Meanwhile as this is going on in the past, the Sentinels are closing in on the mutants in the present, setting the stage for an epic battle sequence.

Jennifer Lawrence is "Mystinque" in 'X-Man: Days of Future Past'
Jennifer Lawrence is “Mystinque” in ‘X-Man: Days of Future Past’

What makes the Marvel branded action films so successful is that the people behind the scenes really understand the product.  Here they have an ensemble cast film with an amazingly talented company of actors.  Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry and Anna Paquin are all Oscar winners.  Ian McKellan, Michael Fassbender, Hugh Jackman, and Ellen Page are all Oscar nominees.  Great actors don’t always bring out the best in one another, particularly in action films.  Fortunately, in this film we watch how a great script, the right director and this excellent cast of performers combine to make a stellar film.  The acting, action and ambience are all perfect.

Sadly there just isn’t time to develop the newest mutants to come to the film franchise, like “Blink” (Fan Bingbing), “Bishop” (Omar Sy) and “Sunspot” (Adam Canto).  Hopefully we will learn more about them in the present time in future sequels.  We do get humor in just the right places, with the perfectly deft touch of Bryan Singer.  The authenticity with which the year 1973 is recreated is spectacular, right down to the sound quality of Roberta Flack’s haunting song “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.”   Homages to the earlier X-Men films can be found and yes, we get the obligatory post-credits scene which I will not spoil.

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