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Review – New X-Men creates better future


Review – New X-Men creates better future

Photo obtained via http://www.x-menmovies.com/

Photo obtained via http://www.x-menmovies.com/

The X-Men movie franchise did not look well in 2006. Bryan Singer, who helped launch it, decided to direct Superman Returns instead of the third X-Men flick, which was titled “The Last Stand.”

Singer’s earlier work, particularly in the second film, really set the bar in terms of fan expectations, but the third film careened the mutant saga into a ditch. Major characters died in seemingly arbitrary fashion. Even the infusion of a Joss Whedon storyline couldn’t salvage “The Last Stand” from imploding.

It’s appropriate that Singer’s return is also a bit of patchwork that restores some sense into the series’ mainstream continuity. “X-Men: Days of Future Past” joins the cast of the earlier films with the cast of the more recent movie “X-Men: First Class.”

The story is about a team of mutants in a dystopian future working to change history so the future never comes to pass. The mutants send Logan, aka Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), to the 1970s to stop the shape shifting mutant called Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from assassinating Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), a scientist and anti-mutant crusader. The assassination convinces mankind to construct Trask’s Sentinels, giant robots that target mutants and start the war that leads to the nightmare future.

Unraveling that chain of events winds up being more complicated than Logan expected. But in the process Singer manages to iron out some of the narrative wrinkles created by the third movie and effectively reboots the franchise without having to actually reboot it. That’s great news for fans, because Singer’s X-Men movies got it right, for the most part.

“Days of Future Past” justifies most of its two hour run time. The director relies a little too much on the cliché of slow motion action sequences set to operatic music, but he strikes gold with a scene involving the mutant Quicksilver (Evan Peters). There’s also much more counseling coming from Wolverine than I think I can stomach. After a while he was starting to sound like Uncle Jesse from the TV sitcom Full House, and then that made me think of how much better that show would’ve been if Uncle Jesse had claws.

“Days of Future Past” Wolverine is a lot less stabby and a lot more cuddly. But he’s still pretty stabby.

The latest chapter in the mutant drama is better than X2 and sets the stage for a nice sequel (stick around till the end of the credits). It’s also a sobering reminder that Warner Brothers really needs to get its act together with its DC properties. Ben Affleck as Batman is a future I’d like to avoid.