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X-Men: Days of Future Past


Stars: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage, Nicholas Hoult, Josh Helman, Shawn Ashmore, Halle Berry, Omar Sy

Director: Bryan Singer

Visually amazing as SFX get ever more ambitious, but dramatically much less effective, this is a case of draining the last ounces of blood out of a Marvel action franchise. Bewilderingly plotted, the film is almost impossible to follow, and I'm still trying to get my head round the ending (though there's a scene after the credits you should stay to see).

And so authoritative portrayals from Jackman, Stewart and McKellen are more than welcome, especially given McAvoy's in-and-out performance as the young Xavier, while Fassbender is forceful but dull as the younger Magneto.

Plot? Don't get me started. The world has entered dark days (and the beginning of the film is undoubtedly impressive) with all-seeing robots called Sentinels trained to hunt down mutants and it seems, pretty well every human who helps them.

The last few special powers people are trapped in their underground lair, where Magneto (McKellen), now fully converted to to the good guys, and Xavier (Stewart) determine, with the assistance of Kitty (Page), to send Wolverine (Jackman) back in time to prevent the assassination of the Sentinels' creator, dwarf scientist Bolivar Trask - a name that belongs only in comic books - played without a trace of tongue-in-cheek by Dinklage, at the hands of the blue-skinned Mystique (Lawrence), who can transform herself into anyone.

You might have though Wolverine better occupied preventing the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand but let it pass: this is X-Men territory and not world history.

Back in 1973, however, the younger Magneto is soon up to his old tricks again, threatening everything. There are fleeting glimpses of Berry, Famke Janssen and James Marsden from the old crew, but Anna Paquin's part, though she's star-billed, is barely there. Still, the movie has to get seven out of 10 for the sheer glory of its technical wizardry and the impact of its fantasy action. Perhaps its denizens can now be laid to rest.

David Quinlan

USA 2014. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour by FotoKem.
131 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 1, Swearing 1.

Review date: 16 May 2014