“X-Men: Days of Future Past” is dark but deliciously satisfying

*Contains mild spoilers*

The X-Men franchise has always had a special place in the hearts of gay fans, mainly because the struggle that the mutants face has long been considered an allegory for LGBT rights. The most recent film in the series, X-Men: Days of Future Past, takes that struggle and explores its darkest side and is undoubtedly the most haunting of the X-Men movies. In the not too distant future, Dr. Trask and his dreaded Sentinels, an army of mutant detecting robots, have hunted mutants and humans alike to near extinction. The few survivors, including Professor X, Magneto, Storm and Wolverine, along with a group of plucky young mutants, fight for their lives and the key to stopping their assured destruction.

In her first major film role since coming out earlier this year, Ellen Page plays Kitty Pryde (ShadowCat if you’re nasty). Kitty is a mutant of many talents including the ability to walk through solid objects and in this film, the ability to project herself or others through time. The latter gift is vital to saving the mutant race. Many die-hard fans have expressed frustration that the film chooses to send Wolverine back in time to stop the apocalypse, and not Kitty as in the comic books. This greatly reduces Kitty’s role but considering that Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine had been the focus of most of the franchise (including spinoffs), it’s not entirely surprising. Kitty does play an important role in the film, and with buzz already beginning about the sequel, fans of Ellen Page will likely see much more of her character in the next installment, X-Men: Apocalypse.

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In Days of Future Past, Wolverine finds himself sent back to 1973, to try and convince a much younger and disillusioned Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and his protégée Hank (Nicholas Hoult) to aid him in finding Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence in all her indigo glory). She needs to be stopped from setting off a chain of events that will bring about the Sentinels. Along the way, they utilize the skills of a young Quicksilver (a ridiculously charming and perfectly cast Evan Peters) to bust Magneto (Michael Fassbender) out of maximum-security prison. Magneto and Xavier get to continue their highly charged bromance while playing opposite sides of the dilemma. As you have probably already guessed, nothing goes according to plan. While Kitty struggles in the future to keep Wolverine grounded in the past, all hell breaks loose around them.

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X-Men: Days of Future is what you look for in a summer blockbuster: Loads of action, compelling characters, even a little comic relief. The fight sequences between the mutants and the Sentinels are some of the most incredible to ever appear on screen. They are complete marvels of CGI and fight choreography. Beloved characters fall and new mutants rise. Friendships are forged and bonds are broken. Jennifer Lawrence wears a blue body suit.

As long as you don’t allow continuity issues and plot holes to distract from it, Days of Future Past can be a very satisfying film. Lovers of the previous X-Men films and comic books will be particularly interested in the last sequence before the credits, which I won’t spoil for you. Let’s just say, it’s heavy on the feels.

X-Men: Days of Future Past is in theaters now.

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