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X-Men: Days of Future Past

Character development is perhaps one of the better developments of superhero movies these days. From Captain America to the recent Amazing Spider-man, what stood out in most of these films is how the heroes are exploded from brutish gun men to humans driven by circumstances. The latest movie in the X-Men series is not an exception, as it delivers us again to the heroes and villains we loved, right down to the very core of their souls. 

X-Men: Days of Future Past is the seventh installment in the X-Men film series. It is directed by Bryan Singer who previously directed the first X-Men (2000) and X2 (2003). The movie is based on the 1981 Uncanny X-Men storyline “Days of Future Past”. Like every X-Men movies before it, this recent version is another unfaithful adaptation. In fact, the X-Men series is perhaps one of the messiest film franchises in action hero genre. However, the movie exudes cinematic genius with its distorted storyline, CGI-effects, and heart-pumping actions.

The movie opens with scenes from 2023. It is a dystopian future and robots known as Sentinels are exterminating both Mutants and their supporters. A small band of X-Men are constantly on the run from these robots, and with Kitty Pryde’s (Ellen Page) power, they are able to project their consciousness back in time to deliver warnings.

Now, the X-Men meet with Magneto (Ian McKellen) and Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) in a monastery in China. In order to alter the course of the future, the group plans to send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back in time in order to prevent Mystique from assassinating Bolivar Trask, the mind behind the Sentinels project. In the aftermath of the murder, Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) had been captured and her powers reverse-engineered and copied to create the terrifying Sentinels.

Hence, Wolverine travels back to 1973 and seeks out the help of young Charles Xavier. However, the mission has become difficult for Wolverine as it involves seeking the assistance of Magneto. Again, the two old friends clash in their beliefs and principle; yet, towards a common goal, they agree to prevent the great tragedy that looms in the future. Indeed, the assassination is prevented. However, when Magneto tries to shoot Mystique, she suffers a minor wound and tiny drops of her blood left on the pavement is used to power up the Sentinels.

Once again, Magneto is back to his old self and uses the Sentinels to fight humans. Mystique is presented with another opportunity to assassinate Trask. But Professor X steps in, talks into her mind and reminds her of the gentle, sweet girl she once used to be. Mystique takes a bold choice. While the 1973 X-Men struggle to prove their worth to the humanity, the future X-Men fight backs against the raging Sentinels…..
The one thing I love about the movie is its number of great cinematic moments, such as when time freezes and Quicksilver rearranges the gun shots and punches to the beat of Jim Croce’s Time in A Bottle. It’s witty and exciting at the same time. I also enjoy the fight scenes between the future X-Men and the Sentinels. The scenes are actually brutal and one would hear “ahhh” and “ughhh” from other viewers in the cinema house. It’s actually savage and revolting as these heroes are twisted, stabbed and mutilated by the robots.

Other than these jaw-dropping moments, it’s the character development that stood out most for me. Jennifer Lawrence is very authentic as Mystique. She delivered well as despite the blue and hideous prosthetics, the conflict and sadness and hopefulness are all projected from her eyes. For me, Mystique is the central figure in the movie and the take on this misunderstood and troubled mutant is refreshing. It’s also quite amazing how this character and J-Law herself stood out from this great ensemble of heroes and highly-acclaimed celebrities. The movie is actually jam-packed with both actions and characters that many fall down to being insignificant, like Halle Berry’s Storm and Anna Paquin’s Rogue.

Still, the movie is an entertaining film to watch, even for the avid fans of the original comic book and TV animation. The general plot of returning to the past to rewrite the future remains the same, though details are quite different. In the end, after watching it in the cinemas, just like all the other X-Men movies, you would have to smile that big smile, contented for your money’s worth.

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