X-Men: Days of Future Past (Bryan Singer, 2014)

Arriving among a deluge of continuing superhero legacies, X-Men: Days of Future Past so confidently surpasses its competition that even I had to second-guess my adoration of its entirety. At its bleak opening, we’re introduced to the impending extinction of all humans and mutants at the hands of the unstoppable Sentinel army. Thought up by hyper-intelligent tech genius Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), the now wholly united X-Men devise a plan to stunt Trask’s inception of the war machines via the harvesting of a particular mutant’s advanced DNA. Being that literal time travel remains the only means of fulfilling the lofty goal, Logan (Hugh Jackman) is soon deemed the only individual physically capable of convincing feuding young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) to reach a very necessary respite.

Immediately benefiting from the narrative’s aptly conveyed direness, the eye-rolling if necessary time travel gimmick sidesteps typical gripes as logistics take a backseat to general engagement. With nary a lull in between bombast and brief exposition, Singer’s handling of the material well and truly surpasses even his best go with 2002’s X2, the script’s potential convolutedness diminishing as soon as it begins to rear its head. Hell, to say that the script is convoluted in the slightest could be considered sacrilegious given the steadfastness of it all, what with the film rarely ceasing to miss a beat as perpetual, moreover effective conflict trumps obvious shortcomings.

For as many things Days of Future Past does right however, its repeated stabs at emotional profundity run their course. Among all of the palpable grandiosity and suspense, the crux of the film hinges upon these individuals’ past selves putting aside their differences for the sake of (literally) everyone and everything. Needless to say, this results in continued if intermittent heart-to-heart exchanges between them, all of which consist of two key players staring intently at each other in moments of earnest conviction. While mostly effectual, it all falls flat as we grasp what the stubborn lot of them can’t, however the flaw remains forgivable as things come to an ever-gratifying close.

Despite the ever-present existence of superhero properties in contemporary cinema, X-Men: Days of Future Past is an effort that effortlessly projects a certain freshness – one that injects new life into an overpopulated subgenre as it capitalizes on its multifaceted atmosphere and presentation. Deftly illustrating the bona fide life-or-death situation at its core, the proceedings carry with them enthralling senses of emotionality, intelligence and scale while partially avoiding self-serious pratfalls. It’s hands-down the best pre-summer summer blockbuster you’ll see, so if you’re still mildly interested in the Marvel superhero canon, X-Men: Days of Future Past is the surefire way to go.

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