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  • Jared Huizenga

Where the X-Men are Going They Don’t Need Roads

Time travel in movies is nothing new.

At the end of 1985’s “Back to the Future,” Dr. Emmett Brown famously told Marty McFly that where they were going (30 years into the future) they “didn’t need roads” before flying off in a souped-up DeLorean.

Time travel plays a major role in the latest chapter in Marvel Studios’ and 20th Century Fox’s most recent foray into the X-Men saga “Days of Future Past.”

But for these mutants to bend the laws of space and time they don’t need a 1980s sports car, just the mutant powers of a couple of members.

In “Days of Future Past,” the X-Men of the future (2023) are fighting a war they can’t win – in the form of an army of robots known as Sentinels, which are targeting – and eliminating – humans and mutants alike.

A small group of mutants, led by Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (Ian McKellen) and Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) decide the only way to defeat the Sentinels and ensure Earth’s survival is to go back to 1973 and stop them before they can start.

To do so, they must use Kitty’s ability to project someone’s consciousness back in time … think of it as a mental flux capacitor.

The problem? The return trip would be too taxing for most to recover from. In fact, the only one physically capable of doing so is Wolverine (Hugh Jackman).

Wolverine travels to 1973 and recruits the younger versions of Professor X (James McAvoy), Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) to help him track down and stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from killing Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage, Tyrion Lannister in “Game of Thrones”), the scientist who created the Sentinels and whose murder set forth the chain of events that led to the future war.

If he’s successful, the timeline will change and only Wolverine will remember the future. If not, humanity will surely crumble at the feet of the seemingly undefeatable robots.

He must also contend with Magneto and Mystique drifting toward their respective dark sides and the undetermined amounts of time in the future that a) Kitty can keep his consciousness in the past and b) the Sentinels find them again.

There is virtually nothing to dislike about “Days of Future Past” – the acting is top-notch, the cuts between future scenes and past scenes are seamless and the lines aren’t at all blurred and the story is interesting, engaging and unlike anything we’ve seen from the franchise in the past.

The film also serves as sequels to both 2006’s “X-Men: The Last Stand” and 2011’s “X-Men: First Class,” which means we get to see our favorite old and young X-Men on screen together for the first time … although the newer cast members (McAvoy, Lawrence, etc.) are featured far more prominently than the old ones (most notably Halle Berry’s Storm who has but a couple of lines of dialogue and Anna Paquin’s Rogue, who was all but cut from the film).

But I think the thing I appreciate most about the X-Men movies – especially in the case of “Days of Future Past” – is that while the action and special effects are there, it’s simply used as a device to help move the story along, rather than be the story as has been the case in other recent “comic movies” (I’m looking at you, “Amazing Spider-Man 2”).

After more than 50 years (51+ to be exact), thousands of comics, nearly 30 video games, multiple animated series and 7 movies, it seems the X-Men are only getting stronger … “Days of Future Past” is the prime example of that.

★★★★ ½ of ★★★★★

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