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The Darkest Timeline 

Going Back to the Future with the X-Men

Traditionally, X-Men stories need at least two things: Way too many characters, and a plot that doesn't make much sense. In those regards, X-Men: Days of Future Past is a rousing success! By cramming in at least 4,000 mutants and a story that spans continents and decades, there's a whole lot of gibberish going on, with a whole lot of people gibberishing it up. But Days of Future Past also does something only a few other X-Men stories do: Despite all that chaos, it ends up being pretty good.

I know! I'm surprised too! Given that this is the seventh (SEVENTH!) X-Men movie (the first came out waaaay back in 2000, before any of us were even born), it's hard to imagine anyone getting too excited. But in bringing back Bryan Singer (who directed the first X-Men and its obnoxiously titled sequel, X2: X-Men United), Days of Future Past recaptures the fun and ambition of those earlier blockbusters. You could do a lot worse if you want to see Wolverine wave his claws around while Magneto lectures boring regular people about how fancy he is.

Pulling together the dumb mutant babies from 2011's X-Men: First Class (Jennifer Lawrence! James McAvoy! Michael Fassbender!) and the blathering mutant geriatrics from those old black-and-white X-Men movies (Patrick Stewart! Ian McKellen!), Days of Future Past sets up a migraine-inducing time-travel story: In the future, mutant-hunting robots called the Sentinels have all but wiped out mutants, so Wolverine (played, as always and for all eternity, by Hugh Jackman) travels back to 1973 to stop the Sentinels from being deployed. Doing so involves convincing the shape-shifting smurf known as Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) to not kill the inventor of the Sentinels, Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage). Jesus, even that doesn't make sense, and I didn't even mention Peter Dinklage's mustache.

SO ANYWAY, Wolverine wakes up in 1973 and gets Professor X (McAvoy), Magneto (Fassbender), and about 4,000 other mutants to work together to save the future. There's a joke about Wolverine taking some bad acid, and Richard Nixon shows up, and nobody even bats an eye at Wolverine's muttonchops, because 1973. Stuff blows up, Hugh Jackman shows his ass, Jennifer Lawrence's wardrobe consists of blue paint, and Michael Fassbender lectures boring regular people about how he's soooo fancy. Meanwhile, Quicksilver (Evan Peters), whose mutant power is being able to move super fast even while dressed like a total idiot, steals every scene he's in, running around and fucking with people in the time it takes them to blink.

X-fatigue is a very real disease, and if it hasn't afflicted you yet, it soon will: Twentieth Century Fox is going to keep cranking out X-Men movies until the heat death of the universe. Days of Future Past, though, is one of the good ones: The pacing is punchy, the action is clever, and the whole thing's goofy and fun. There have been better X-Men movies, and there will be worse X-Men movies, but let's just appreciate the present—a present in which someone spent $250 million to make a film that features both Jennifer Lawrence's blue body paint and Peter Dinklage's mustache.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

dir. Bryan Singer

Various Theaters

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