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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

May 24, 2014

"X-Men: Days Of Future Past" Offers A Spectacular Action-Packed Climax

MARVEL’s X MEN franchise started in 2000 with “X-Men”, followed by “X2” in 2003, “X-Men the Last Stand” in 2006 and “X-Men First Class” in 2011. There’s also the two movies on “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”. It’ll help that you remember a lot of what transpired in these movies for you to get a good grasp of what will happen in “X-Men Days of Future Past”. Bryan Singer is back as director (his last was “X2”) and he does a pretty good job. The new movie starts in a bleak horrifying future where cities, men and mutants have been ruthlessly destroyed by the Sentinels, invincible robots (a cross between Iron Man and Robocop) created by Trask (Peter Dinklage) of Trask Industries.

Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) join forces to fight the Sentinels, along with Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), Storm (Halle Berry, who’s given very little exposure), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Bishop (Omar Sy), Colossus (Daniel Cudmore), Blink (Fan Bingbing), Sunspot (Adam Canto) and Warpath (Booboo Stewart) — who have remained alive only because Kitty’s powers of projecting someone’s consciousness can send Bishop back in time a few days before an attack takes place to warn them of what’s going to happen. How this is done is shown in the opening sequence.

The only hope for them to defeat the Sentinels is to travel back in time to 1973 and stop Raven aka Mystique (formerly played by Rebecca Romijn, now by Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence) from killing Trask. This will undo the timeline and erase the Sentinels completely. What Mystique did then magnified the hatred of humans against mutants. Mystique was also captured and her DNA as a shape-shifter was even incorporated into the Sentinels.

Wolverine is then sent back to 1973 (ala-Terminator) to look for the younger versions of Xavier and Magneto, Charles (James Macavoy) and Eric (Michael Fassbender), who were last seen in “X-Men, First Class”. With the help of Hank aka The Beast (Nicholas Hoult), they first have to free Eric who is imprisoned under the Pentagon for the assassination of JFK (who is said to be also a mutant here.) To do this, they enlist the help of Quicksilver (Evan Peters), whose high speed moves in a slow motion, stopping bullets sequence nearly steal the movie away. It’s such a visual treat you’d wish he was given more scenes but we learned he’ll also appear in another Marvel franchise, the next “The Avengers” movie, “Age of Ultron”.

Don’t ask too many questions if you want to fully enjoy this movie as they don’t really bother to explain the twists and turns in the plotting as based on previous X-Men flicks. It’s up to you to fill up the missing pieces, if you care to. The spectacular climax of the movie takes place in front of the White House where Eric/Magneto makes an entire football stadium levitate then transplants it to fence the White House in, along with Pres. Richard Nixon (played by a lookalike.)

Fine acting is not the priority here but most of the major players actually do a good job, notably Macavoy (whose interpretation of his scenes is nothing less than Shakespearean), Fassbender and Lawrence (who are both oozing with their personal charisma.) They all play characters who’ve hurt each other and they somehow struggle how to best relate with one another. And the three actors really take their respective role very seriously, giving it a very emotional texture.

Josh Helman as the younger version of Bill Stryker, one of X-Men’s fiercest opponents with his Weapon X, also manages to make quite an impression. The one who is shortchanged here is Peter Dinklage as Trask, a role that pales so much in comparison to his star-turning portrayal of Tyrion Lannister in “Game of Thrones”. Don’t leave the theatre right away when the end credits are shown as there is bonus sequence from the next sequel, “X-Men: Apocalypse”, with the Four Horsemen while a huge pyramid is being built.