The lat­est movies re­viewed,

The Church of England - - Front Page - Steve Par­ish

X-Men: Days of Fu­ture Past (dir. Bryan Singer, cert. 12A) seems to have got most crit­ics to say this sev­enth film in the fran­chise is the best. You can just about get away with know­ing lit­tle about its six pre­de­ces­sors and the prin­ci­pal char­ac­ters.

In X-Men: First Class (2011) younger ver­sions of X-Men founder Pro­fes­sor Xavier and su­per-vil­lain Mag­neto were in­tro­duced – in the new film we get both. Pro­fes­sor X is played by Patrick Ste­wart (old) and James McAvoy (young), and Mag­neto by Ian McKellen (old) and Michael Fass­ben­der (young).

The ba­sic plot is that in the 1970s sci­en­tist Bo­li­var Trask (Peter Din­klage) de­vel­ops me­chan­i­cal “Sen­tinels” to erad­i­cate the mu­tants who are mostly peace­fully in­te­grated with hu­mans. Trask is as­sas­si­nated by Mys­tique (Jennifer Lawrence) but that merely prompts world lead­ers to pro­mote the Sen­tinel pro­gramme.

Fifty years on, the Sen­tinels are close to achiev­ing their pur­pose, so Pro­fes­sor X and Mag­neto unite to send Wolver­ine (Hugh Jack­man) back in time to thwart Mys­tique’s plan. So when Wolver­ine finds the young Pro­fes­sor X, and X asks “Who sent you?” the an­swer is “You did”.

There are plenty of in­ter­est­ing side­lines, not least when Wolver­ine first lands back in the 70s, in bed with a young woman – a wa­ter bed – so you just know that wa­ter beds and re­tractable claws don’t mix well. We even get a new in­sight into the Kennedy as­sas­si­na­tion and the bendy bul­let.

Mys­tique’s shape-shift­ing gets well-used – she even trans­forms into Richard Nixon – but per­haps the best scene is a bril­liant slow-mo­tion set-up that il­lus­trates how Quick­sil­ver (Evan Peters) moves faster than a speed­ing bul­let, all to Jim Croce’s song Time in a Bot­tle. There are of course lots of fights – be­tween X-Men, and X-Men against Sen­tinels, and maybe they get a bit repet­i­tive, es­pe­cially once you know about each char­ac­ter’s su­per­power.

That will not dent the box of­fice, for a fran­chise al­ready over two bil­lion dol­lars of ticket sales world­wide. If you sit through the cred­its, there’s what pre­sum­ably is a bit of a trailer for X-Men: Apoca­lypse, due in 2016.

There’s not much to ex­plain the source of the dif­fer­ent ap­proaches of Pro­fes­sor X and Mag­neto (based on Martin Luther King Jr and Mal­colm X re­spec­tively) or their his­to­ries (Mag­neto a Jewish child of the ghetto and a sur­vivor of Auschwitz, X from an aca­demic New York fam­ily and then drafted into the US Army in Korea). It doesn’t mat­ter much – this is a sim­ply a film strong on plot, plus im­pres­sive ef­fects and a real emo­tional pull.

It be­comes a race against time as dif­fer­ent bat­tles play out in par­al­lel 50 years apart. Mag­neto’s lift­ing and mov­ing Wash­ing­ton’s RFK Sta­dium to sur­round the White House is not a bad pre­lude to the dra­matic cli­max.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.