Wolverine slashes through days of past X-Men flops

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Wolverine slashes through days of past X-Men flops

Hugh Jackman, from left, Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy star in

Hugh Jackman, from left, Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy star in "X-Men: Days of Future Past."

Hugh Jackman, from left, Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy star in "X-Men: Days of Future Past."

Hugh Jackman, from left, Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy star in "X-Men: Days of Future Past."

LANCE LIJEWSKI | Evergreen columnist

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While mankind fears and destroys mutants on screen, it seems we can’t stop loving them in our own realm. “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is this summer’s most promising superhuman action epic.

Be warned: spoilers lie ahead.

Though fraught with issues of continuity, veteran X-Men director Bryan Singer and the cast deliver by taking advantage of the tried and true. The emotional gravity of the script, the dedication to character development and the humorous character deviations that became trademarks in the series’ previous six films culminated in this masterpiece with forgivable flaws.

“Days of Future Past” plays both sequel and prequel to the same generation of mutants. Borrowing from a storyline developed in 1981, a time-traveling Wolverine is sent back to 1973. There he rallies a young band of familiar misfits to restore the future of mutant-kind. Back in the distant future, Professor X and Magneto, among a few others, struggle to survive.

The story is about as far out as some of the drug-induced stereotypes displayed in jest but provides fertile soil for a cast of immense talent to take over.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Hugh Jackman takes the lead as the screen favorite Wolverine. He’s the only X-Man with two of his own films. But James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence steal a lot of his glory with their own dedication to their characters.

For instance, McAvoy and Lawrence explore the difficult relationship between Professor X and Raven Darkholme, also known as Mystique. This was touched on in the comics but avoided in both literary and cinematic realms. The student-teacher controversy was too much for readers. But McAvoy and Lawrence approach it with elegance, making it a leading point in the film.

Magneto should have no love for being the most bipolar villain in the Marvel Universe, but Fassbender wins us over as a troubled douchebag. His bromance with McAvoy makes him all the more convincing.

Cameos from other veterans of the series, including Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Halle Barry and Ellen Page, are a bonus that made me laugh in delight throughout. The introductions of new characters are fantastic and add a sweet touch of unexpected talent to the mix.

Quicksilver makes his theatrical debut during Wolverine’s trip to 1973, where he uses his ability to move faster than time to break into the Pentagon and engages in the most amusing dialogue of the film.

He is the anti-hero so nonchalant about his mutation that he will taste-test soup and give a security guard a wedgie before displacing a wall of bullets. It’s just enough childish humor to leave the most “mature” of us amused.

The next film’s villain is introduced after the closing credits. This is Apocalypse, mankind’s oldest mutant, who is seen building a pyramid in ancient Egypt. Those who haven’t read the comics (or that last sentence) will be left clueless as to his identity.

Nit-picky audiences, me included, can forgive minor flaws out of respect for the overall-stellar execution. My frustration will last as long as Professor X’s ability to walk, while my admiration will stretch the length of Wolverine’s lifespan.

It’s not often that a superhero film can excite both comic-book readers and a general audience, so this installation of the X-Men series deserves quite the shout-out, if you ask me.