X-Men: First Class came out three years ago now, and it was a breath of fresh air in a somewhat stagnating series of films (in my opinion anyway). After all the flashy special effect shows with muddied plots and too much Hugh Jackman, it was good to see a nice, grounded attempt at the franchise, with some fantastic actors and a gripping story. I thought the days of the mediocre X-Men were over, until I found out that Days Of Future Past would feature Hugh Jackman again, and would bridge the gap between both past and present X-Men. I was disappointed, but it still certainly showed some promise, so I had to go and see it, didn't I?
We join the X-Men at some point in the near future, where Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Christoper Lee), Wolverine (Jackman) and even Storm (Halle Berry) are struggling to survive against a new enemy that is wiping out mutants across the globe. In a last ditch attempt to save the mutants, Wolverine's consciousness is sent back in time to his 1973 body, so he can find the younger Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender), and enlist their help to stop the catalyst of the war that threatens all their lives.
It's fair to say I'm not a massive fan of Jackman's Wolverine. He was a main focus for much of the first trilogy, as well as two mediocre movies dedicated entirely to him, so I was hoping that he wouldn't be pulling all the attention this time around. Thankfully, this isn't the case. This movie continues the focus on the early relationship between Xavier and Magneto, and Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique plays a much larger role in the proceedings, one that she handles extremely well. While there are quite a few quiet moments throughout, there is always some great dialogue and chemistry between these three to really keep the movie going.
But when the dialogue's finished, the action certainly kicks in. There are some fantastic battles in this movie, both in the past and the future, all with impeccable special effects. Magneto in particular gets to show off his chops, and Fassbender adds just the right amount of menace to his conflicted character. There's not a lot of action for action's sake either, all the scenes fit in very nicely with the plot, which may seem confusing at first, but actually moves at a very reasonable pace, with not many questions left unanswered. Like with First Class, the story is woven very well around real historical events, and is never outlandish or boring.
So while I did have my misgivings about this awesome new X-Men series linking itself to a not so great one, Bryan Singer has pulled the two together very effectively. The character balance is great, and the amount of nods to the original trilogy is fantastic. I was particularly impressed with the amount of actors that have returned to portray the heroes from as far back as the original X-Men in 2000. Days Of Future Past is an awesome movie, that manages to take all the best elements from all that came before, and tie them up in one neat package. I'm definitely looking forward to what comes next.
My rating: 5/5