‘X-Men’: ‘Back to the Future,’ Superhero Version

May 23, 2014 Updated: May 20, 2014

Parallel dimensions. Supernormal abilities. Time-travel. These concepts are on everyone’s radar now. “Back to the Future” paved the way, but “Days of Future Past” is breaking new dimensional barriers.

X-Men: Days of Future Past” depicts parallel time-space powerfully. Yes, it’s a Marvel cartoon, but don’t underestimate this very entertaining summer blockbuster’s ability to shift our collective consciousness. It can tinker with your dogma. We might actually learn something.

Mutant Armageddon

Picture a futuristic, war-torn New York, where mutants crawl in the mud wearing high-tech dog collars following a government-led attempt at a mutant genocide. Them, and the humans who dared to help them.

Shift time zones to a mutant stronghold in Moscow. Incoming ships drop Sentinels—mutant-murdering, morphing military machines. They’re completely impervious to anything a mutant can throw at them because they’ve incorporated mutant DNA. They attack!

All the mayhem started when blue-skinned shape-shifter mutant Mystique (formerly played by supermodel Rebecca Romijn, now played by superstar Jennifer Lawrence) killed the man with the plan of how to get rid of mutants. Which made everyone want to get rid of mutants even more!

That man was Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage of “Game of Thrones”). Mystique sniffed out his Sentinel plan and went after him, but the government snatched her and extracted her DNA. Then they weaponized it to make shape-shifting Sentinels.

So, someone needs to go back in time and stop her from killing. Have their consciousness projected back in time, into their younger body.

However, no one could survive being sent back that far because the process rips you apart. Luckily, there is one mutant up to the task. Wolverine can supernormally heal any detriment to his body as it occurs.

Wolverine will need to find both masterminds, Magneto and Xavier (Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy), and unite those two enemies to complete this task.

So they send the Tri-Clawed One back to 1973, where he wakes up next to a lava lamp, in a waterbed. And the audience has an epiphany: Wolverine belongs in that decade. Perfect match! His Walt Frazier-style mutton-chop sideburns are a ’70s thing. The leather jacket and big-boat, gas-guzzling cars complete the look.

The enterprising Dr. Trask pitches Sentinels to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, while Wolverine goes looking for the old, defunct mutant school. There he finds the young Charles Xavier holed up. So far so good. Now, where’s Magneto?

Magneto’s being held 100 floors under the Pentagon (no metal down there for him to play Uri Geller with). Seems he killed JFK. How? We’ll not spoil it.

They next recruit delinquent teenage-mutant smart-mouth “Quicksilver.” What’s in it for him, he wants to know? “You, kleptomaniac, get to break into the Pentagon,” is the reply. 

Five-Star Scene

The scene where they get apprehended by Pentagon security is the reason you should go see “X-Men.” This outranks all scenes to date that depict a character moving in another dimension with a much faster time-speed, including Keanu’s bent-over-backward “Matrix” bullet-swerve. 

It’s the first ever to be shot with cutting-edge, high-speed phantom cameras and photo-sonic technology at 3,000 frames per second.

They also used massive, 400,000-watt lights so bright that the actors had to keep their eyes closed until the moment they did the scene. You’ve not seen the likes of it, and it’s hyper-entertaining—you’ll explode with amazement-laughter. Because it’s also hilarious.

In the final showdown, President Nixon puts the Sentinels on display in the Rose Garden, Magneto levitates a stadium with his mind, and Wolverine gets tied up with concrete rebar and dropped in the Potomac.

Will Mystique get Dr. Trask? Will she survive? Will Wolverine? Will any mutants? Will anyone survive anything?

A solid, very entertaining cinema-cartoon. It’s 2014’s best summer blockbuster thus far. Largely because all the actors are world-class. If you put world-class actors in a cartoon, you get a world-class cartoon.

It’s said that advanced martial artists (the super-advanced ones who hide in mountain caves) can punch and block in a different dimension, moving so quickly that nothing in this slower physical time-space of ours can keep up with it. Watch that new high-speed, high-tech scene carefully.


‘X-MEN: Days of Future Past’
Director: Bryan Singer
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Nicholas Hoult, Peter Dinklage, Omar Sy, Fan Bingbing
Run Time: 2 hours, 11 minutes
Rated PG-13
Release Date: May 23
4 stars out of 5

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