Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on Dawn.com.

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience

.

By this time one thing should be clear: Wolverine is the bone of the X-Men's franchise - metaphorically, and of course literally.

In X-Men: Days of Future Past, an effective and simply-told adaptation of the comic by Chris Claremont and John Bryne, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) travels back to 1973 from a wrecked future where mutants are all but eliminated by Sentinels. The Sentinels are violent sentient robots, capable of mimicking mutant abilities, created by Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) and initially controlled by the government, who eventually, like any thinking machine from Skynet to Robocop, found loop-holes in their prime directive.

A scene from movie, "X-Men: Days of Future Past". – Courtesy Photo
A scene from movie, "X-Men: Days of Future Past". – Courtesy Photo

Wolverine travels to the past by unconventional means – a mind warp that swaps his past version's consciousness – so that the future deviates from its intended course. The science, like most movies, is not worth pondering over, as are some of the finer points in the page to screen adaptation.

In comics, Kitty Pride, played in the movies by Ellen Page, is sent back by Rachel Summers. In Days of Future Past, it is Kitty who "phases" Logan's consciousness across time. How Kitty's abilities of walking through solid mass evolved to that point, has no explanation – and with the way Days of Future Past concludes, we may never know.


Comic to film


As a comic and science buff, I don't agree with the whole future-rectifying aspect of time-travel. Logically, traveling back in time creates a split parallel reality with an alternate future and does not erase the future where the time-travelling individual comes from.

A scene from movie, "X-Men: Days of Future Past". – Courtesy Photo
A scene from movie, "X-Men: Days of Future Past". – Courtesy Photo

Nevertheless the screenwriting in Days of Future Past may itself be as robust as that crystal. Screenwriter Simon Kinberg, working on the story by Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman, reconstitute enough rules to re-draft future X-Men movies without any chronological imbalance; After all, X-Men, apart from the Amazing Spider-Man is one core Marvel property whose movie licensing is not with the publisher – and with six movies out, it is a great sell, partially because of Jackman.

Even with Jackman steering events to avoid the bleakness of the future (the production design by John Myhre shifts hues to variants of black and blue, with shades of warm), his role in the past is limited pulling the team together. His recruits, probably ten years after X-Men: First Class, are less than shipshape. Professor X (James McAvoy, the younger version with hair) is a pessimistic junkie; the Beast (Nicholas Hoult), is still green around technology (and blue and furry all over); and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) is locked up in assassination charges. Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) meanwhile is emotionally hung-up, which may lead to the future where Logan came from.

A scene from movie, "X-Men: Days of Future Past". – Courtesy Photo
A scene from movie, "X-Men: Days of Future Past". – Courtesy Photo

Every so often Days of the Future Past intercuts to the future and more familiar faces. There Professor X and Magneto (Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen), fight off Sentinels with Storm, Ice Man, Colossus (Halle Berry, Shawn Ashmore, Daniel Cudmore) and some new recruits, Blink, Sunspot, Warpath and Bishop.

In one of the movie's unparalleled high-points, Magneto is sprung from prison with the aid of a speeding youngster by the name of Peter Maximoff played by Evan Peters.

A scene from movie, "X-Men: Days of Future Past". – Courtesy Photo
A scene from movie, "X-Men: Days of Future Past". – Courtesy Photo

Singer, whose directorial hand has a passive ingenuousness even in grandstanding special effect sequences, has a better handle helming the X-Men movies and this sequence has enough of a finesse and wit, to let you know how much fun Singer is having.

The rest of the action and story in Days of Future Past has much catching up to do, but that's okay. Singer has enough smarts to adapt his version of a milestone comic arc with cinematic panache, clarity and a restrained equanimity.

A scene from movie, "X-Men: Days of Future Past". – Courtesy Photo
A scene from movie, "X-Men: Days of Future Past". – Courtesy Photo

Some of the movie's logics tumbles somewhat – Wolverine's bone-claws, for instance are a head-scratching moment, since they happen in the future after Jean Grey's death in X-Men: The Last Stand; another potential fowl may be of how this movie connects to Logan’s abduction by Striker (a younger version casts Josh Helman here) and the first X-Men movie, where he has Adamantium.

Days of Future Past isn’t infallible, but then again very few movies and most plots in the comics are.


The final word


X-Men: Days of Future Past is exhilarating, sharply made entertainment. I doubt any of the summer's upcoming grandstanding – or most of the X-Men's own movies, Wolverine spinoff's included – can match up to this one.


Released by 20th Century Fox, X-Men: Days of Future Past is rated PG-13 for fast action featuring indisposible, and very familiar, characters.

Directed by Bryan Singer; Produced by Mr. Singer, Mr. Kinberg, Lauren Shuler Donner and Hutch Parker; Written by Simon Kinberg, on a story by Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn; Cinematography by Newton Thomas Sigel; Edited and Music by John Ottman.

Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage, Nicholas Hoult, Omar Sy, Shawn Ashmore, Evan Peters, Daniel Cudmore, Lucas Till, Fan Bingbing, Booboo Stewart, Josh Helman, Evan Jonigkeit and Adan Canto.