Thursday, June 26, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

Wolverine Goes
Time Traveling In
New “X-Men” Film

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Here I go again, reviewing another superhero movie. But it’s not because I used to be publisher of Marvel Comics. It’s because Marvel is cranking out new blockbusters faster than comic books fly off a spinner rack.

This week we have “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” As it happens, this is based on a comic book storyline by Chris Claremont and John Bryne. I recruited Chris back to Marvel’s bullpen in the late ’90s. That was about the same time we were publishing the “Heroes Return” titles, welcoming back our errant characters.

“Days of Future Past” appeared in The Uncanny X-Men #141-142. Its plot deals with a dystopian future where mutants are being hunted down. One of them travels back in time to warn the present-day X-Men about a fatal moment in history that will trigger anti-mutant hysteria if it isn’t altered.

In this new movie version -- currently showing at the Tropic Cinema-- it’s Wolverine who travels back in time, but his tripping is facilitated by Kitty Pryde’s phasing ability.

Directed by Brian Singer (“The Usual Suspects,” “X-Men”), this is a sequel to “X-Men: First Class.” Aside from the time travel theme, what makes this movie particularly interesting is the two X-Men casts, young and old. One set from the original series, another from the more recent reboot.

Professor X is played by both Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy. Magneto is both Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender. Kelsey Grammer and  Nicholas Hoult are Beast. Jennifer Lawrence returns as the blue-skinned shapeshifter Mystique. Halle Berry is back as the electrifying Storm. Anna Paquin again gives us Rogue. Ellen Page is Kitty Pryde. And, of course, Hugh Jackman provides the lynchpin role of Wolverine, the self-healing mutant with retractable claws and an invincible Adamantium skeleton.

You haven’t seen this many superheroes in a movie since “Marvel’s The Avengers.” But then, the comic book company has over 5,000 trademarked characters to draw on.

Now owned by Disney, Marvel is pulling out all the stops on rolling out its multiple movie franchises. Lately, eyes have been focused on the Marvel Cinematic Universe (“Iron Man,” “Thor,” “Captain America”), but all the while the X-Men movies have been steadily rebuilding their creds.

This one will prove to be a fanboy favorite.

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