X-Men: Days of Future Past successfully combines the old and the new

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Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), and Hank (Nicholas Hoult) making their way to the Cerebro. They use the device to locate Mystique (Jennifer Lawerence).

Sophia Kim, Senior A&E Editor Emeritus

What if you could go back in time and change the future?  Although it is an overused science fiction plot device, director Bryan Singer not only successfully keeps X-Men: Days of Future Past from becoming a cliched time traveling adventure, but also delivers the action-packed, yet at times sentimental, storyline X-Men movies are known for.

The film opens in a future in which robots called Sentinels, who have the ability to locate mutant genes in people, are hunting down the remaining mutants like the X-Men.

The Sentinels are in the midst of chasing down young mutant rebels, which include classic favorites Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) and Bobby (Shawn Ashmore), along with some new mutants like Bishop (Omar Sy) and Warpath (Booboo Stewart).  The remaining X-Men, along with Magneto (Ian McKellen), reunite with the young mutants to send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back into the future to prevent the Sentinels from ever being created, thus canceling the future as they know it.

The story line cohesively combines the original X-Men series with the 2011 prequel, X-Men: First Class. The film is both a continuation of X-Men: The Last Stand, in which Wolverine kills Phoenix/Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) to end the war between humans and mutants, and X-Men: First Class, after Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), leaves Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) to create a world for mutants with Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender).

X-Men fans can finally learn what happened after the third X-Men movie, as well as what happened to the first generation mutants from the prequel, all while watching Wolverine try his hand at mentoring the younger Charles for a change.

The main concern about this type of production is the switch between the future and the past, which usually uses tacky effects, making the whole time traveling process seem forced and unconvincing.

However, in X-Men: Days of Future Past, Kitty has the ability to transport one’s consciousness through time space, and she sends Wolverine’s future consciousness to inhabit the Wolverine of the 1970s, it makes for a seamless transition.

The film makes for a big reunion, bringing back beloved characters like Storm (Halle Berry) and Professor X (Patrick Stewart), while also introducing new characters, such as the aforementioned mutant rebel gang, Peter (Evan Peters), who will later be known as Quicksilver, and Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage).  The new characters, especially Peter and Dr. Trask, are well-developed and both have backstories that add a deeper layer to the film.

Peter, a young mutant with super speed and a mischievous streak, is the comical element of the film; he agrees to help Wolverine and Charles, but does everything at his own pace (basically at the speed of light) while listening to some good old 1970s music.  Dr. Trask makes for a great antagonist without coming off as too villainous; he does not have supernatural qualities to make him a villain, but he truly believes mutants will bring forth the extinction of mankind.

The acting in this X-Men outing is superb, and the dialogue is rich, accurately conveying the characters’ emotions.  The special effects are sophisticated and assist the action taking place in each scene without distracting the audience from the storyline.  All these factors combine to create a sophisticated sci-fi film and an epic adventure. The result is the best X-Men movie to date, with an underlying message against discrimination.

The newest addition to the X-Men franchise continues to deliver the message of tolerance through the struggle of mutants to find their place in the human society.

The film reciprocates the various activism and reminds the audience to be tolerant of those who are different from ourselves, giving hope to those who are victims of discrimination.