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X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) ****

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) ****

This installation of Marvel Comics' X-Men, is a sequel to both the 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand and the 2011's X-Men: First Class. It is directed by a confident Bryan Singer to a screenplay by Simon Kinberg, who wrote the story together with Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman. The cast is made an ensemble of familiar faces as well as a few of new ones, including Peter Dinklage as the main antagonist. Performances are all in all even, but what makes this film stand out is not the cast, the acting or even the special effects that we have come to expect of such films; it has to do more with the story. X-Men: Days of Future Past's opening moments are confusing. We are thrown right into the heart of a raging battle for the mutants survival. Without much explanation, we are left to trust the filmmakers to clarify what is going on. Not a moment too late, clarifications are indeed provided; this storyline is going to take the treacherous path of time travel. Treacherous because time travel has several paradoxes, the most notable of which is of course the Grandfather Paradox: changing the past can alter the future beyond recognition, to a point of elimination of the time traveler himself. Whether this film handles the paradox well or not is a matter of subjective taste. One thing is for sure, the franchise will enjoy the plot twist, which will now allow the filmmakers to bring back dead mutants from the past for future sequels. This may actually mean that changing the past doesn't always kill the grandson but rather revives him back to life. Hmmm...
One confusing point: I was under the impression that Professor Xavier was disintegrated by Jean Grey (as Phoenix) in X-Men: The Last Stand. How come Xavier is alive and well at the start of this film is not being explained.
But regardless, X-Men: Days of Future Past is engaging and, for the most part is well-paced. It occasionally borderlines with some good philosophical points, the ones you may expect Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard to ask: can we really change the future? The classic conundrum of destiny versus choice.
X-Men: Days of Future Past makes for a fun afternoon at the movies. Let's just hope it is a positive sign of summer movies to come, given last year's mediocare crop.

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