Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA/United Kingdom, 2014. Twentieth Century Fox, Marvel Entertainment, TSG Entertainment, Bad Hat Harry Productions, Donners’ Company, Ingenious Media, Down Productions. Story by Jane Goldman, Simon Kinberg, Matthew Vaughn, Screenplay by Simon Kinberg. Cinematography by Newton Thomas Sigel. Produced by Simon Kinberg, Hutch Parker, Lauren Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer. Music by John Ottman. Production Design by John Myhre. Costume Design by Louise Mingenbach. Film Editing by John Ottman, Michael Louis Hill. Academy Awards 2014.
The adventure of the story behind the adventure continues with another enjoyable romp featuring that multi-pack of superheroes, divided as always between a desire to use their powers to protect humanity or destroy it. In the not so distant present, the world is in shambles, with an all-out war between humans and mutants being waged by complex Sentinel machines created by humans and able to adapt to any power in order to destroy their targets. Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) have been brought together by this fight and go for their only option for survival, getting Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) to use her powers to send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back to a pivotal moment in 1973 and change events in order to secure a better future. When Jackman arrives in the era of bell bottoms and wide-brimmed hats (all of it rendered with impressive consistency, particularly in the jaunty costumes), he finds young Xavier (James McAvoy) rendered miserable and powerless by the events of the previous decade, and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) stuck in maximum-security prison where he is being held for having participated in the most famous murder of the twentieth century. From there it spirals many places but, thanks to spirited direction by Bryan Singer and a smart script that is grounded without ever being too self-righteous, it is a delight to sit through from beginning to end. As always the ambivalence of morality is present, with X-Men loyalties splintering based on their ability to trust humans to be their friend or the fear of annihilation that leads those with more powers to wipe out those with less; the film does a good job of treating this with enough complexity and without hammering the message home too hard, particularly as it all centres down on the character of Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence, doing a wonderful job) and her moral choices.