X-Men: Days of Future Past
is kind of like a Muppet movie, only instead of putting on a show and celebrating weirdness, its characters spend their time beating the shit out of each other and making things explode. Still, at the core are a bunch of weirdos—a couple blue people, a metal dude, a toad-man, a gigantic metal guy, a soldier with hedgehog spikes and two grumpy old men among them—traveling the globe and getting into adventures. In the 14 years and 7 movies since the X-Men first hit the screen, the adventures of the students and faculty of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters have been a mixed bag, and even the best films had a difficult time balancing the over-seriousness of the subject matter with, you know, the fun that is inherent in comic books. Days of Future Past
finally strikes that balance, and that’s what makes it the best of the bunch. Make no mistake, this is an adult comic-book movie: It’s violent, heady and full of historical references, creating an alternate history interwoven with real-life events. But it’s also goofy as all hell, and the first hour lets loose a barrage of playful set pieces and winking in-jokes that makes it pretty damn delightful. Director Bryan Singer litters the film with geeky shout-outs to fans, but even outsiders should have little trouble getting swept up in the brisk, sprawling tale.