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X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (2014) ****

Well, I can’t remember the last time a part 7 was the best film in a franchise. I mean Diamonds are Forever is one of my favorite Bond movies, but it’s not the best one or anything. All I’ve got to say to The Fast and the Furious 7 is… the gauntlet has been thrown down. It’s your move, Vin & Co.

Bryan Singer returns to the X-Men and pretty much doesn’t miss a single beat. He directs the film with confidence and packs the flick with eye-popping visuals and crackling good action sequences. It’s been more than a decade since his last mutant movie, but you’d swear no time has passed.

Speaking of passing time, the flick revolves around a desolate future where Sentinel robots hunt and kill mutants. There are only a handful of X-Men left alive and as a last ditch effort to destroy the Sentinels, Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) sends Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine (or at least his mind, anyway) back in time to warn Professor X (Patrick Stewart in the future, James McAvoy in the past) and stop the machines from taking over.

I won’t spoil the good stuff for you, so relax. All I’ll say is that this is the Back to the Future 2 of superhero movies. It plays with time in such a fashion that it simultaneously acts as a reboot and a sequel. Because the characters time travel, it changes the future events, but also the story arcs of the previous movies (sort of like the new Star Trek). And the way Singer breathlessly throws the characters (and the audience) into the mix is a real treat.

Now, not all of the time travel stuff jibes continuity-wise with the previous films. I could get into a whole lot of pointless comic book nerd bitching here. But the fact is, Singer kinda just cranks things up to 11 right from the get-go, so you never really have time (or really care) to nitpick. And besides, I kinda dug how the flick made up its own rules as it went along. (As well as the Dallas-inspired ending.)

Singer nails the action set pieces beautifully. The futuristic mutant massacre scenes are amazing and all the stuff with Young Magneto (Michael Fassbender) throwing football stadiums at people kicked lots of ass. Easily the best sequence comes when Quicksilver (Evan Peters) busts Magneto out of prison. It outshines any action sequence in any previous X-Men movie. There’s a sheer joy to this scene that’s missing from many a comic book movie lately. And that’s the plain awesomeness of using your superpowers to kick a little ass. Joss Whedon is apparently using Quicksilver (albeit with a different actor) in the next Avengers movie. He’ll be hard-pressed to top this sequence.

Days of Future Past is sort of like a high wire act. Singer is balancing several characters throughout several time periods (and timelines) at once, and while nothing less than the extinction of the human (and mutant) race is at stake, he resists the urge to make things gloomy. He doesn’t Nolan things up and make everyone mopey. Even when things get their bleakest, there is a prevalent, unflappable sense of fun to the flick.

And that’s the word that best describes X-Men 7: Fun. It might not be the best movie of the year (that would be The Raid 2), or the summer for that matter (that would be Godzilla), but it certainly is the most fun.

Of the cast, everyone is aces. Partially, that’s just because there’s a reunion aspect to the flick as it combines cast members from all previous X-Men films. All they had to do was show up and it would’ve been worthwhile. But everyone brought their A-Game (particularly Jackman, Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence).

I especially liked the dynamic between McAvoy and Stewart. Despite the fact they play the same character in different times, they still share a scene together and it’s one of the best of the entire series. Imagine if you could talk to your younger self. Imagine what you could say to them. This scene explores that possibility in a truly wonderful manner.

I’m sure there will be people out there that will want to pick this thing apart because it’s not exactly like the comic (or the cartoon). But the Days of Future Past storyline works nicely as a way to combine and reunite all your favorite X-Men together for one last showdown. And besides, I can’t imagine one solitary X-Man fan who won’t cheer the last scene of the film.

This summer is still young. It’s already given us the greatest Godzilla movie of all time. Now we get the greatest X-Men movie of all time. Damn, it’s a great time to be a geek.

Comments

( 2 comments — Comment )
aphroditemf
May. 30th, 2014 11:06 pm (UTC)
Oh man, just when I thought I couldn't get any more stoked about this movie, your review cranked up my excitement to a whole new level!
thevideovacuum
May. 30th, 2014 11:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I am sure you will enjoy it. Fassbender gets plenty of badass moments in it!
( 2 comments — Comment )

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