With this next installment in the X-Men franchise, MARVEL are tightening their grip on the summer movie market, and such a grip is very, very tight. Although the idea of robots and machines destroying other races on the planet may not be entirely unique, this time it works rather well.
The outline of the film is as follows: Peter Dinklage, (Tyrion Lannister in Game Of Thrones), is Bolivar Trask, a power hungry, assassinating weapons maker whose efforts and machines are great threat to mutant-kind in 2023. Rewind to the 1970’s and we see Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) sent back to unite Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) in the hope of preventing the capture of one of their own – the highly dangerous, but hugely admired Mystique AKA Raven, played by the ever popular Jennifer Lawrence, before her DNA becomes the ultimate tool with which to kill others.
Xavier as a young man is seemingly lost in a depression, taking injections to ensure he can walk, at the sacrifice of his powers, with only Beast (Nicholas Hoult) for company. You might think such would make the film angsty, and at parts, it does, yet thanks to a number of comical quips, combined with resonating feel of honesty and trust being shared between Wolverine and the Professor, as he struggles, then fights to regain the power he all but threw aside, the centre point of the movie becomes one of resonance rather than regret.
Back in the present day, as the soldiers (for lack of a better term to call them by), approach with only death and destruction on their job list, the X-Men make a stand, determined to fight for as long as they can in order to give Kitty (Ellen Page) as much time as she can to maintain the connection for Wolverine to do his work in years gone by – the fact that she continues to do so despite being slashed at and left weakened and bloody is most impressive, if not a little unlikely in every day circumstances.
McKellen and for that matter, Stewart, play only minor parts in this chapter of the franchise, which many may be disappointed by. Considering both actors have played pivotal parts in the success of such, it is a little sad to see them standing all but in the shadows.
Despite a number of solid performances, it is ultimately McAvoy that makes this film as great as it is – and there are few actors who can steal such limelight from the British heavyweight stars that are Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart. DOFP may not be the ultimate summer blockbuster movie we’ve all been waiting for, but it’s surely set a high standard for it, as well as setting the benchmark for DC to reach with their upcoming releases.