Directed by Bryan Singer | Starring Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Peter Dinklage, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen | Rated PG-13
There's so much going on in "X-Men: Days of Future Past" -- tons of mutants good and bad, new and old, multiple timelines and a dense plot contingent on time travel -- that this could have been a disaster.
But with the Marvel mutants back in the deft hands of director Bryan Singer, who returns to the franchise after directing "X-Men" and "X-Men 2," the film is a kaleidoscope of action, history, humor and powerful character moments.
Based on an acclaimed comic book by writer Chris Claremont (who makes a cameo) and artist John Byrne, the story starts in the present, where the world is a wasteland and giant morphing robots are hunting a semi-familiar ragtag group of mutants, including Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen), now working together.
The world is in shambles because these robots, the Sentinels, were created as a defense against mutants by Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) and put into action after he was murdered by Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence, showing that -- sorry "Hunger Games" fans -- this is her finest film franchise).
The plan is to send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman, his usual awesome self) back in time to 1973 to work with the Professor and Magneto's younger selves (with James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, respectively, returning to their "First Class" roles) to stop Mystique from making the kill, which would change history and make for a better future.
Yes, the plot is complicated -- and this is all revealed in the first few minutes of the film, by the way -- but it's told beautifully. Fassbender and McAvoy are at the top of their game, showing some serious 1970s swagger.
Singer and screenwriter Simon Kinberg keep the film moving and splice in some wonderful comedic moments -- many with the speedster mutant Quicksilver -- and play around with a key historical moment in a clever way with the use of Magneto's powers.
There already has been a sequel and a spinoff announced, and after seeing "Days of Future Past," keep them coming.