ByJerome Maida, writer at
Jerome Maida

(No Spoilers!)

I got to see this fantastic film May 9 and have been prevented from speaking about it until now. Having been disappointed by highly anticipated movies in general ("Amazing Spider-Man 2") and X-Men films specifically at times, I tried to temper my enthusiasm.

At the same time, with all the characters on hand and the incredible cast playing them, I wanted a story and film that was unforgettable. Seeing as how the story was adapted from one of the most memorable X-Men tales of all time, that raised the stakes.

Afterward, I could sum my feelings and thoughts on " [X-Men: Days Of Future Past](movie:203942) " very succinctly: The film absolutely kicks ass!

Consider this an abridged review since I don't want to spoil anything for anyone, not even small surprises. I want people to enjoy their experience as much as possible. There is so much to like here.

While it's been a while since a X-film was a legitimate event, this qualifies - and the result is sure to be the first absolute smash in the X-Men Cinematic Universe since "X-Men: The Last Stand" in 2006 and the first smash to get a positive reception since "X2: X-Men United" in 2003.

In 2011, "X-Men: First Class" polished the "X-Men" brand for FOX and audiences alike. Unfortunately, due to a sip in the excitement for the franchise at that time, it remains the lowest-grossing entry in the series.

What also hurt "First Class" was that it just couldn't match the star power of the Hugh Jackman - Halle Berry-Patrick Strewart-Ian McKellen original cast. All they had were actors like Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence Anyone ever hear of them?

Of course the profile of the "First Class" cast has increased dramatically the past three years. Lawrence is now an international superstar, Oscar winner and arguably the most bankable actress alive. Fassbender merely got an Oscar nomination for "12 Years a Slave" and raves for his performance as young Magneto in "First Class".

So this ambitious pairing of both the star-studded casts of the previous films coupled with time-travel, had a million ways to go wrong.

Instead, it gets almost everything right.

First, there's the story. Forget about Wolverine going back in time instead of Kitty Pryde. It works. The story is complex without ever being confusing , which is no small task when you consider it involves time-travel, 12 major characters, two time periods and two sets of villains, not even counting Bolivar Trask and Magneto.

With the stakes involved - if Wolverine's mission fails, Mutantkind will likely perish due to the Sentinels - the early scenes are justifiably dark and foreboding. However, Simon Kinberg's marvelous script also has wit and actually makes the whole journey coherent and more importantly: FUN!

Everyone involved acts like they're having a good time and it's infectious to the audience.

The movie has a lot of Big Ideas,but rather than getting lost in an increasingly complex maze. viewers will see the logic behind all of it as Kinberg's script is precise and magnificent.

The talent onscreen is something to behold as well. In a cast of no less than seven Oscar winners/nominees (Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Michael Fassbender, Ellen Page and Jennifer Lawrence), each gets at least one memorable, emotional moment, as do the other major cast members.

These would include Blink, Colussus, Sunspot, Bishop, Iceman and Beast. None are there just to be seen. All have a role to play. As the story lines and character acrs dovetail, the stakes just keep getting higher. So does the X-Men marquee.

When "X-Men" first hit in 2000, it was clear the Big Three were McKellen's Magneto, Stewart's Professor X and Jackman's Wolverine. That's the way it has stayed, though technically with their younger versions of Magneto and Xavier played by Fassbender and McAvoy it's a Big Five.

Even Kinberg admitted to me that the Big three has become a Big Four, because Jennifer Lawrence totally kicks ass in this movie as Mystique - in fighting skill, emotionally and by exuding, well, Mystique.

Lawrence's Mystique more than holds her own with her strong colleagues in this film and she plays a central role that asks a lot out of her - and she is up to the task.

As usual, Jackman looks like he's having fun playing Wolverine, though we do get to see a berserker rage or two. His scenes with the Sentinels and with young Magneto are the best, though he is more than up to the task of having Wolverine be a mentor to James McAvoy's young Xavier.

Perhaps the highlight of the film is McAvoy's young Xavier going toe-to-toe with Stewart's older version.

Of course, as intense as the movie is, perhaps the best scene in where Evan peters' Quicksilver gets to strut his stuff.

Quicksilver shows himself to be amazingly gifted, funny and able to get it's goal accomplished - all at once.

You know, sort of like "X-Men: Days of Future Past" itself!



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