Copyright © 2014 by 20th Century Fox
All mutants in the future are being hunted down and captured by the Sentinels, robots created from Trask Industries. The remaining X-Men band together to survive the attacks with Kitty Pryde’s (Ellen Page) ability to project Bishop’s (Omar Sy) consciousness back in time. He ensures the team anticipates the Sentinels next move and the success of deflecting these adaptive androids prompts Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) to send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back to 1973 in convincing his younger self (James McAvoy) on the cataclysmic future mutants faced from the assassination of Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), the inventor of the original mutant-hunting machines by Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence). His death will spearhead the programme and Mystique’s capture enhances the new batch of Sentinels into their current indestructible form. With Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) on their side, Xavier must locate his adopted sister to prevent her actions from shaping the continuous mutant genocide.
Ever since Bryan Singer returned to the franchise with the magnetic and mind-bending revamp on the formative years of Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr’s friendship in the 1960’s, his next course of action is to fix the continuity issues that has plagued ‘The Last Stand’ since ‘First Class’ introduced an alternate look into its storytelling. In short, Singer is trying to wipe out that bad aftertaste left by Brett Ratner and just start over, without having to recast the stars of the original trilogy. What better way than to craft an intricate extension for both timelines with a classic from Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s time travelling escapade.
Many have wondered prior to the release how would the existing and newer mutants share the screen in a running time of just 130 minutes long. It is finally answered with the main players from the 2011 preboot shouldering most of the emotional weight whilst the jaw-dropping action sequences are left for the internationally diverse recruits to impress in the grim future; the display of powers in the opening is awe-inspiring but the most visually-stimulating is Blink’s (Fan Bingbing) ability to create portals of teleportation. As with all other installments, the problem still seems to be too many mutants (blink, and you may miss them for good).
Rather than just being mere silent survivors of the apocalypse, it always helps if the viewers are better acquainted to these characters’ background and their timely fight against the Sentinels. That being said, it is welcoming to see Stewart and Ian McKellen back as their older selves, providing the dignified elegance in a chaotic world literally going up in flames. There are a few surprise cameos that will delight any ‘X-Men’ fan but Halle Berry’s Storm may as well been that as she continues to struggle as a force to be reckoned with. It is great news of her younger self being considered for the next chapter (hopefully, more on her challenging upbringing than her weather-wielding powers).
The drama unfolds soon after Logan is transported back to his younger self in 1973. Jackman can sleepwalk in the role and still be captivating whenever he is on screen (he does take a backseat for his younger cohorts to shine this time around). In ‘First Class’, the scale is tipped more in favour for Fassbender’s damaged master of magnetism to flex his acting chops but the mantle now has shifted to McAvoy. His portrayal of a broken Xavier is easily the heart that bridges the soulful connectivity to Fassbender and Lawrence’s representations.
A major difference in Singer’s present effort compared to his first two entries is the much needed humour injected into an otherwise still very serious film. The backlash surrounding Evan Peters’ Quicksilver I would have to say is quite unfounded here. A scene stealer from the moment he steps into the picture, his antics are absolutely hilarious and gets top marks for most original breakout in a heavily guarded facility. Too bad his services do not extend further into the plot. It surely would have elevated the dismal tone which follows after that.
For those who are not aware of the X-Men’s next endeavour, it will be set in the 1980s. A fun retrospect to the various decades and the wealth of pop references which go hand in hand to set this new trilogy apart from its more contemporary trio told in the 21st century. Do not be baffled if some key points cannot be accounted for. It is getting neatly there with each episode. Sure, the running time could have been longer coupled with a more climatic battle but it is no small achievement when your (Singer) latest nearly tops the best (X2) in the series. Be sure to also stay right till the end of the credits for a peek to an X-travagantly ‘apocalyptic’ teaser.
Rated PG- 13 for sequences of intense sci-fi violence and action, some suggestive material, nudity and language