X-Men: Days Of Future Past

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (Bryan Singer). 131.

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (Bryan Singer). 131 minutes. Some subtitles. Opens Friday (May 23). See listings. Rating: NNNN

The continuity of the X-Men movie franchise has gotten confused in recent years, what with that (awful) X-Men Origins: Wolverine and that recent (and much better) X-Men: First Class. The rot reaches all the way back to The Last Stand, the one Brett Ratner made after Bryan Singer left the franchise to make Superman Returns.

Singer’s back in the director’s chair for X-Men: Days Of Future Past, a course correction for the franchise and for the narrative, sending Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine back to 1973 to rewrite history by preventing an incident that will send human-mutant relations down a path to a genocidal dystopia in which they’re hunted down by massive robot Sentinels. (It’s not good for anybody.)

Really, though, this is an excuse to let the all-star casts of the original trilogy and 2011’s swinging 60s prequel share the same screen space while the effects crew comes up with nifty new gags and suitably spectacular set pieces. On that level, Days Of Future Past delivers nicely, with a sense of grandeur and scale that doesn’t try to overshadow the emotional relationships at play.

Michael Fassbender is once again an even more charismatic Magneto than Ian McKellen, Jennifer Lawrence rocks the blue bodysuit as the young, not-yet-murderous Mystique, James McAvoy has a lot of fun with the notion of an angry, dissolute Charles Xavier, and series newcomers Peter Dinklage and Evan Peters make vivid impressions as sinister scientist Bolivar Trask and wisecracking speedster Peter Maximoff respectively.

Co-stars Jackman, Nicholas Hoult, Ellen Page and Halle Berry don’t get quite as much to do, but that’s okay this one isn’t really about them. Maybe next time.

normw@nowtoronto.com | @normwilner

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