X-Men Days of Future Past - Review

Michael Fassbender as Magneto.
Michael Fassbender as Magneto.

I remember when I was at St. Eugene’s P.S. and I bought a second hand ‘Wolverine’ figurine at a jumble sale.

I was beside myself with excitement but that was 25 years ago.

A lot of things have changed since that fateful day but my fascination with the guy who likes to smoke cigars and call people ‘bub’ has stayed the same.

‘XMen - Days of Future Past’ is based on the comic ‘Days of Future Past’ which was produced by writer/artist team of Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin in 1981.

The story is set well into the future where the mutant race’s very existence is threatened by deathly Sentinels (manmade robotic beings with ability to withstand the most severe mutant attack).

Led by Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen), the XMen must send someone back into the past to stop the development of the Sentinels.

If they can successfully stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from killing the brains behind the Sentinel programme then there is a good chance they will be able to change the future and thereby save the mutant race, but as you’d guess it doesn’t go according to plan.

The film sets out a very easy to understand plot within the first 20 minutes and quicker than you can say ‘I’m mutant and I’m proud’ you’re thrown right into the action.

At the age of 45, Hugh Jackman has never looked so good as Wolverine. Women (and some men too) will find both Jackman and his ridiculous array of muscle irresistible while men like me will be thinking - ‘I wish I looked like that’.

As a result of his amazing self-healing ability, Wolverine is sent back to 1973.

What follows is rip roaring action that even the most sceptical comic book fan would find difficult not to enjoy.

Although the film is quite dark and its moral standing is spectacularly liberal, there are moments of fantastic comedy.

Jackman is outstanding as Wolverine and ever since he first appeared on screen as the claw wielding berserker in 2000’s ‘XMen’ it’s almost impossible to imagine anyone else playing him.

The most amazing aspect of ‘XMen - Days of Future Past’ is the action and the special effects.

The opening scene, which is set in the future, is reminiscent of the ending from 1999’s ‘The Matrix’ but the plot in ‘XMen - Days of Future Past’ is based on a story written in the early 1980s so it’s hardly fair to accuse it of being derivative.

If, like me, you spent many of your teenage years watching the animated XMen series on television you will know all too well just how awfully sinister the Sentinels are.

The Sentinels are almost indestructible and a very important component of the film but I thought they looked a bit too much like the Destroyer from Marvel’s 2011 film ‘Thor’.

The way the film drifts from the past to the present and vice versa is impressive and is almost flawlessly seamless but what I enjoyed the most was spotting the different characters and trying to work out each of their powers.

Jennifer Lawrence returns with a much more prominent role for her character Mystique and after getting injured in a battle with Magneto (Michael Fassbender) she goes on to boast the sexiest limp ever seen on a big screen.

Lawrence is great and Fassbender is off the scale as Magneto but perhaps the most enjoyable part of the film for me came when I saw the character Quicksilver (Peter Evans) on screen - I’ve never laughed so much at one scene in a long time.

There’s no question about it. ‘XMen - Days of Future Class’ is a first class sequel to well, ‘XMen - First Class’ and don’t forget to stay seated until the credits finish rolling - you have been warned!

‘XMen - Days of Future Past’ went on general release yesterday and is currently showing at Brunswick Moviebowl. For full listings visit www.brunswickmoviebowl.com or telephone 02871 371999.

VERDICT: 4/5 - The plot is well delivered and never feels too contrived. It’s an obvious leave your brain at the door kind of movie but the fact that the mutants in the XMen can represent virtually any maligned or mistreated group on society. Hugh Jackman is, as you would expect, fantastic as Wolverine and some of the new characters, such as Quicksilver, are tremendous fun. The action sequences are superb and the special effects excellent but the presentation of the Sentinels was disappointing. Make sure you stay seated until the credits stop rolling.