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The X-Men heroically save themselves from incoherence, as Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine goes back in time in a dizzyingly satisfying sequel

Film: X-Men: Days of Future Past ·

Genre: Action and adventure · Science fiction and fantasy ·

Cast :Hugh Jackman ·

Jennifer Lawrence ·

Michael Fassbender ·

James McAvoy

Stars: 3.5

 Beautiful mutant … Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique.

With a whoosh, the X-Men go forward to the past, or possibly sideways to an alternative present. This headspinning and chaotic time-travel adventure is written by Jane Goldman, Simon Kinberg and Matthew Vaughn for director Bryan Singer: a funky, surreal experiment in counter-factuals and variant myths. It channels Watchmen, The Terminator, The Matrix, Life on Mars and Independence Day. At its best, it’s delirious, crazy fun with splashes of passion and romance; at its worst, it gets muddled (the way time-travel films will always tend to) and becalmed in its own fanboy portentousness.

We begin in a dark future. The war between the non-mutants and the mutants has resulted in devastation all over the world. No one, it seems, is the true winner. Some holdout mutants appear to be battling a rearguard guerrilla action against terrifying new soldier-robots called Sentinels. They are physically at a disadvantage but have the ability to escape through portals in the space-time continuum – they can scoot back in time to warn themselves when and where a Sentinel attack is on the way.

Fassbender’s Magneto is curt, cool, duplicitous – an elegant foil to Xavier and his angry self-pity. Set against them is Lawrence’s Mystique, who is always required to disport herself in her blue body-hugging quasi-nudity. (As Spinal Tap’s Nigel Tufnel might have commented: “What’s wrong with being sexy?”) As for Jackman’s Wolverine, he is as robust and unassuming as ever, though I feel he is always in danger of being upstaged by the other, more cerebral and self-aware characters.

The action flashes eagerly around – to Vietnam, Paris, to that post-apocalyptic wasteland from which Wolverine makes his blast to the past. And, of course, there’s Washington DC, where the mutants are to encounter the president, Richard Nixon (Mark Camacho), in a truly spectacular setting. Finally, the X-Men extricate themselves from incoherence – more or less – with the help of a newspaper pagefront that explains to the audience how exactly a reasonably happy ending has supposedly been achieved.

We say: It was a dizzying but enjoyable ride.

 – Navmeen Khot.

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