Run time: 131 mins
In Theaters: Friday 23rd May 2014
Box Office USA: $233.9M
Box Office Worldwide: $746M
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Production compaines: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Donners' Company, Marvel Entertainment, Bad Hat Harry Productions, TSG Entertainment, Down Productions
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Fresh: 217 Rotten: 20
IMDB: 8.2 / 10
Director: Bryan Singer
Screenwriter: Simon Kinberg
Starring: Hugh Jackman as Logan / Wolverine, James McAvoy as Professor Charles Xavier (Past), Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier (Future), Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto (Past), Ian McKellen as Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto (Future), Jennifer Lawrence as Raven / Mystique, Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy / Beast, Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde / Shadowcat, Shawn Ashmore as Iceman, Peter Dinklage as Bolivar Trask, Halle Berry as Ororo Munroe / Storm, Booboo Stewart as James Proudstar / Warpath, Fan Bingbing as Clarice Ferguson / Blink, Daniel Cudmore as Piotr Rasputin / Colossus, Adan Canto as Roberto da Costa / Sunspot, Omar Sy as Lucas Bishop, Evan Peters as Pietro Maximoff / Quicksilver, Lucas Till as Alex Summers / Havok, Josh Helman as William Stryker, Evan Jonigkeit as Toad, Famke Janssen as Jean Grey, James Marsden as Scott Summers / Cyclops, Anna Paquin as Rogue, Mark Camacho as President Richard Nixon, Kelsey Grammer as Hank McCoy / Beast (Older)
Continuing to be the most original and resonant of the Marvel superhero franchises, the X-men return in the capable hands of director Bryan Singer, who again stirs plenty of meaty subtext beneath the thrilling action. He also has one of the best casts imaginable, including Oscar winners, cinema royalty, rising stars and matinee idols.
Best of all, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) returns to the fold after two less-than-thrilling solo adventures. He's at the centre of everything here, as Professor X and Magneto (Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen) ask Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) to send Wolverine's consciousness back 50 years to 1973. His mission is to prevent Dr Trask (Peter Dinklage) from inventing mutant-hunting robots, because they will go out of control and cause a present-day dystopia in which mutants and anyone who sympathises with them are killed. But Wolverine's biggest task will be to get the then-feuding Professor X and Magneto (James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender) to work together to keep renegade mutant Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) from making everything worse.
Thankfully, Simon Kinberg's script doesn't worry too much about the whole time-travel thing, shrugging off dubious logic by keeping the focus on the characters. And there are a lot of people to keep an eye on, which makes the film sometimes feel a bit crowded and leaves some characters barely on-screen at all (blink and you'll miss Anna Paquin's Rogue). The best newbie is Evan Peters' Quicksilver, who gets the film's most entertaining sequence as he races around tweaking an action sequence frame by frame. Other set-pieces are grippingly darker, and some don't quite make sense (why does Magneto feel the need to levitate an entire stadium?).
What makes the X-men movies rise above the crowd is the way they knowingly tackle present-day issues that connect strongly with viewers who feel like they don't quite fit in. There are clear links here with, for example, recent laws in Africa, Russia and Brunei that criminalise gay people and anyone who befriends them. Thankfully, these issues add texture to the film without taking over, mainly because the cast is so good. The chemistry between McAvoy and Fassbender is prickly and urgent, and watching these fine actors would be worth the price of admission even if there wasn't a 3D effect in sight.