After Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class (2011) rejuvenated the series original director Bryan Singer returns with the daunting task of uniting two timelines and two casts in the ambitious X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014). With both new and old characters to introduce and re-introduce, as well as the tricky mechanism of time-travel, there was tremendous potential for it to go horribly wrong. Which makes it all the more impressive that Singer gets it mostly right.
Taking inspiration from Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s beloved comic book storyline of the same name, Days of Future Past begins with a chilling battle in a dystopian future between powerful mutant-hunting robots – known as Sentinels – and a motley cadre of mutant survivors. In order to avoid extinction, Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) uses her powers to send Wolverine’s consciousness back into his younger body in 1973 (both versions played once again by the ageless Hugh Jackman) to alter past events and change the course of history. To do so, Logan must enlist the aid of both a younger Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensher aka Magneto (Michael Fassbender), whose friendship is on the rocks.
DC’s jewel in the crown Superman marked his return to the silver screen this year with the somewhat divisive Zack Snyder-directed, Christopher Nolan-produced Man of Steel, but next year will be an all-Marvel affair for superhero blockbusters. We were given our first look at ‘Phase Two’ offering Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) last week, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) are two other highly-anticipated entries, but now the first trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) has landed online. Based on the celebrated comic-book arc of the same name, the footage offers a tantalising glimpse of what is an elaborate undertaking.
Whilst Wolverine remains one of Marvel’s most popular characters, his latest big screen appearance is low on hype. Maybe it’s because it’s released in the same year as superhero juggernauts Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel, or perhaps the critically-savaged X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) is still weighing on people’s minds. James Mangold’s The Wolverine (2013) presents us with a different kind of superhero movie, and whilst it gives us a solid examination of the ‘ol’ Canucklehead’, the film’s problems – many of which occur in the final third – prevent it from being the definitive take on the character.