Director: Bryan Singer (2014)
Hugh Jackman sharpens his claws for the seventh time as superhero Wolverine in this action-packed adventure with added time-travel thrills.
The film has exciting set-pieces, a terrific cast, some good jokes and an entertaining new angle on the Kennedy assassination of November 1963.
Yet the script struggles to find time for a plot amid the cacophony of characters – so the special effects have to do the dramatic heavy lifting.
The story begins with mutants under attack by super-powered robots called the sentinels.
Mutant leaders Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) send the mind of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back to 1973 to inhabit his younger self’s body.
He has to find the young Xavier (James McAvoy) and convince him to help recruit Magneto (Michael Fassbender).
Magneto is jailed inside the Pentagon so they recruit a lightning fast mutant called Quicksilver (Evan Peters) to break him out.
This leads to a brilliant action comedy sequence set to the wonderful music of the late singer-songwriter Jim Croce whose music was also used in Tarantino’s bloody opus Django Unchained (2012).
Next the mutants have to stop the shapeshifting Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from carrying out a revenge killing of the scientist Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage).
She decides to take direct action not realising his death could lead to the annihilation of the mutants by giving the the US government the excuse they’re looking for.
Fassbender and McEvoy have great fun in costume but neither has to squeeze himself into an unforgiving blue leotard like Lawrence.
It’s not uncanny of the film-makers to put the world’s most popular actress centre story. But even she can’t steal the show from the prowling, growling Jackman.