Saturday, June 28, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

X-Men: Days of Future Past

The latest installment of "X-Men" is fresh and lively with a tongue in cheek verve. Here again are Professor Charles Xavier, (James McAvoy) Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and the hirsute and Broadway-handsome  Wolverine (Hugh Jackman).

Kitty Pride (Ellen Page) is getting a mental-fusing vibe that The Mutants are under attack by a band of silver "Terminator" machines known as sentinels.  The cobalt blue siren Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) has set out to assassinate a creepy bureaucrat Trask (Peter Dinklage) who, armed with Mutant DNA will start an all out war between the different ones and humans for (what else?) world power.

The now elder magicians of time and space: X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellan) join forces, reasoning that if Mystique's attempt occurs, a darker fate awaits.

But time travel is very dangerous to the constitution, mutant, angry or otherwise, so they send Wolverine on the cerebral travel table.

After all, the man with the lycanthropic lamb-chops is virtually indestructible.

A nail less-knucked Logan wakes up in 1973 in the company of a seductive  sleeper and the music of Roberta Flack. Paisley and lava lamps abound.

Although a bit reminiscent of the kitschy nostalgia found in Tim Burton's "Dark Shadows", the fun is in seeing this furry one in culture shock and he hardly ever looses his cool.

Wolverine lopes from neighborhood to neighborhood convincing the somewhat psychedelic clan that he actually is from the future, sent to set things right.

A younger Shelleyan Xavier is hobbled and addicted to drugs. And a grim Erik (the future Magneto) is in solitary confinement charged with the Kennedy Assassination when in reality he was trying to save him.

Both men are at odds with the woman in blue between them, even though this was a before they are both green with Envy.

The appeal of this film (as with the entire series) is that these numinous folks stand on their own two feet as real beings with heart and not transient or ephemeral CGI freaks. What binds them together in parallel with the often more mutant mortals is passion, love, equilibrium and a desire to keep cruel chance at bay.

In a daring move, writers Simon Kinberg and Matthew Vaughn have set this during the turbulence of the Civil Rights movement thereby blurring the line between man, bland cyborg and monster in the most genuine sense.

There is a gleeful alternate history to ponder with two blue beasties here (Nicholas Hoult and Jennifer Lawrence) who pull some acrobatic strings in the lavender-smoking palm fronds of a turbulent Vietnam.

There is something comforting in watching a militaristic 1960s come unglued by these iconoclastically striped persons.

In a final madcap dash of social commentary, watch for Raven cloaking herself as President "Tricky Dick" Nixon.

The terrific phantasmagoric element of this story is that the men and women depicted originate from exclusive fauna, each coming into their own to make a heartfelt and hairy string of shape-shifting hippies with a very convincing ability to change the world from beyond the shadows.

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