X:Men: Days of Future Past

WRITTEN BY: Simon Kinberg
DIRECTED BY: Bryan Singer
STARRING: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence
RATING: 5 stars

X-Men: Days of Future Past is everything X-Men fans want and more. With one of the most impressive casts playing intriguing characters, great special effects, good use of 3D and a complex plot that somehow manages to make sense, the film elevates the already successful franchise and builds on the renewed momentum established with X-Men: First Class. It helps that Bryan Singer, who directed the first two films in the original trilogy, returned to the project as director and the seventh film in the series is certainly worth its two-hour running time.

Adapted from the comic of the same title, but with some changes, X-Men: Days of Future Past is set in the future where mutants are hunted and killed by robots called Sentinels. Few mutants have survived the war, so Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellan) send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back to the 1970s to warn their younger and less wise selves (James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender) about the future danger. Wolverine, who is sent back in time because he is the only one whose body can rejuvenate after the ordeal of travelling that far back into the past, must stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from killing scientist Dr Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), which is the catalyst that leads to the destructive future.

Although the film is quite dark at times with references to the Vietnam War, there are also some very funny moments once Wolverine returns to the 70's including a water bed, a lava lamp and music from the decade. Jackman's facial expressions and deadpan banter with the rest of the cast is always enjoyable. He simply IS Wolverine at this point and it will be a long time before Marvel fans will accept anyone else playing the role.

Dinklage is a welcome addition to the film, while Stewart and McKellan are as reliable as ever. McAvoy is superb as the disillusioned younger Xavier, while Fassbender and Lawrence are equally compelling in their anger. Nicholas Hoult returns as Beast and is given an opportunity to further expand his character. Other favourites returning to the franchise included Halle Berry as Storm, although she is not given much to do, and Ellen Page in an integral role to the centre of the plot. Australian actor Josh Helman also appears as the younger Major Bill Stryker, providing a good tie in to Wolverine's back story. Super fast mutant Quicksilver (Evan Peters) is also a great addition in a small but pivotal role. His slow-motion kitchen scene is a highlight of the film. There are also some surprising cameos that die hard fans will relish. No spoilers on who they are.

X-Men: Days of Future Past sets itself up well for yet another sequel. Remember to stay for a post-credit scene too.