X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

X-Men_Days_of_Future_Past_posterWhile some comic book franchises struggle to be good (Spider Man reboot) or maintain the quality of the original (Iron Man), X Men has for the most part been consistently entertaining. But this latest sequel takes the entire franchise to a whole new Avengers type level. A clever, suspenseful, emotional, and often funny ride that does everything right. Keeps what could have been a complex time travel storyline simple. Brings out some stellar performances from its cast of actors…not just stars. And it seamlessly reboots the whole franchise in a way that rids the XMen world of the much despised Brett Ratner era. Credit goes to the last movie “First Class” for laying the essential groundwork and Bryan Singer for breathing new life into a series that was becoming played out. — Stormy Curry

Before the release of X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, Hugh Jackman said he may finish the X-Men films he’s committed to, then hang up his adamantium claws. Jackman has more recently backed off a bit, which is good news because it would be a shame not to see him as Wolverine just as the franchise is moving from the realm of decent comic book movie to the arena of good cinema. The latest incarnation is simply a very good film. The combination of Bryan Singer and a cast of very fine actors is what elevates this beyond the genre movie. In the future, Sentinels have been tasked with destroying mutants. But as usual with a government plan, it goes way too far and the Sentinels target anyone who either helps mutants or may have a tendency to produce offspring that could be mutants. So, pretty much everyone. There are only a few left, Professor X and Magneto (Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan teaming up once again) are the leaders and they have a plan. Send someone back in time to stop the Sentinel program before it gets off the ground. Wolverine is selected because of his ability to survive. It is several years after the Cuban Missile Crisis portrayed in the First Class. Professor Xavier is living mostly alone (except for Beast) in his mansion. He is dependent on a serum Beast invented that allows him to get out of his wheelchair and walk, but also has sapped him of his mutant abilities. He is a broken man in mind and body. Wolverine must re-unite him with Magneto who is being held under the Pentagon because he is suspected of having a hand in the Kennedy assassination. Meantime, Mystique has her own plan to stop the Sentinels– kill their inventor (Peter Dinklage). But that will set off the chain of events that dooms the mutants. Time travel stories can be challenging and confusing. Not here. They keep it simple and use it as a device for the larger issues of forgiveness and resurrection. There are tons of Easter eggs in the film and each is a joy rather than an eye roll. There isn’t a weak performance in the film, probably because these are among the best actors working. Here’s to more X-Men films featuring this ensemble because this has the potential to be as good, if not better than The Avengers (yeah, blasphemy). — Alan Yudman

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