By Ray Potts – A&E Editor
When I walked into the movie theatre to see “X-Men: Days of Future Past”, I wasn’t expecting a great superhero movie. Being somewhat cynical when it comes to action blockbusters, many movie cliches ran through my head. Would the movie be saturated with special effects and terrible acting? Will the plot be paper thin? Is the story full of flaws? Fortunately, not only is the movie quite enjoyable and fun, but the ensemble cast (which is huge) seems to be on their A-game.
Spoilers ahead, you’ve been warned…
The story initially takes place 10 years in future. Most of the mutants and humans have been eradicated by Sentinels; machines that were created by anti-mutant humans to adapt to mutations and kill anyone with (or potentially with) mutant genes. Professor X and Magneto unite their forces and select Wolverine on a daring mission; he must travel back in time to 1973 and stop the skin-changing mutant Mystique from assassinating Bolivar Trask (the creator of the Sentinels), which would galvanize the public against mutants.
Now the story set-up may sound like something from the “Terminator” series and there may be one or two plot holes, but the acting and fun characters keep the film moving at aremarkable pace. James McAvoy (young Charles Xavier/Professor X), Michael Fassbender (young Magneto) and Jennifer Lawrence (young Mystique) play their roles with confidence and character depth not often seen in superhero films. Even the film’s weak spot, the villain Bolivar Trask (played by “Game of Thrones” star Peter Dinklage), is portrayed excellently but suffers from an under-developed storyline rather than lack of character. Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) plays his role with familiar ease, and it was great to see him with younger versions of the X-Men.
Some of the most enjoyable scenes in this movie are the rather quirky action sequences, displays of mutant powers and the Nixon-era cultural backdrop. Yes, of course there is an awesome moment of Magneto lifting some giant metal object into the air. And yes, watching the mutants affect world events from late 60’s/early 70’s is very satisfying and humourous. However, the best scene is when the mutant Quicksilver interrupts a tense situation by displaying his powers (super speed), and his perception during it. By the end, the audience and I were laughing hysterically.
Not since “The Dark Knight” trilogy have characters and plot in a superhero movie seemed so well developed and three-dimensional. Rather than simply dazzle the audience with special effects, the film takes us on a fun journey of character development and poses questions of moral and sociological depth. This isn’t just the best “X-Men” movie, its one of the best superhero movies ever made.