X-Men: Days of Future Past (PG-13)
Action/Adventure 130 May 23, 2014
That's where the film starts: a present-day apocalypse and piles of lime green corpses, some fresh and some already artistically mulched. The last of our aging X-Men — those actors happy to collect another X-check as long as it doesn't require anything strenuous — are days away from death.
With help from Ellen Page as pocket-size quantum physicist Kitty Pryde (I'm giving names because the film itself doesn't bother), the X-Men seize on a Hail Mary last hope: send Wolverine's (Hugh Jackman) consciousness back in time into his younger body so he can find Mystique before the pivotal murder and, you know, very nicely ask her not to.
You have to admire X-Men's audacious rejiggering of history. Even at their clangiest the films have never forgotten that these metal, ice, claw, and magma brawls are really metaphors for acceptance. Luckily for the franchise, we've marginalized so many groups that each generation can layer its own struggle over the mutants'. Still, all this good-intentioned selflessness means that the movies don't have room to enjoy themselves. Future Past starts fast and never slows down. There's not a line of dialogue that isn't exposition.