Singer's excellent return to form shows off a sophisticated and entertaining ride.
I'd never thought I'd see this storyline brought to life, but Singer nails it in every way, taking a potentially confusing and convoluted story and bringing an entertaining multi-era character arc to a satisfying conclusion. Amazing.
Excellence. Every right move one could possibley hope for. the best X.
This film does a great job of tying up multiple timelines and stories, while paying homage to one of the greatest X-men stories of all time.
Retroactive continuity, or Retcon, is a comics term that describes when a narrative is revised for a mistake or expansion or replacement. This film is the best cinematic example of that you could hope for.
X5 is about correcting the past to save the future. It ties the '60s mutants of X4: First Class into a dystopian future of the team from the first trilogy, sending Wolverine back to 1973 to suture a better timethread. Similarly, Bryan Singer returned as director to meld his two trilogies together and erase aberrations that had happened along the way in his absence.
In a strange parallel, Singer is undoing past bad films with great present ones. Singer had intended to restart Superman with a new franchise in the Donner tradition. Oddly enough, Superman Returns (2006) is so perfect a Donner homage that it becomes the actual Superman III that should have been, effectively erasing the terrible III and IV to create a new trilogy bookend. Now, with this time travel film, he repeats this same odd feat, basically making the real X-Men 3 that should have happened instead, while doing so in the middle of a second trilogy that follows it. Everyone knew Singer would never have screwed up X3, and he proved it here by returning to fix that disaster. Days of future blessed.
The film is reverently based on Chris Claremont, John Byrne, and Terry Austin's "Days of future past" story arc (1981), in which it was Kitty Pryde who phased in to save the days. The original was only two issues, but--in a retcon irony--it was so popular that it kept being expanded out with later additions. The movie also brings to the screen fan favorites like the Sentinels, Bishop, Storm's punk persona, and other welcome surprises.
Like Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier, it also homages the conspiracy thrillers that surrounded Watergate in the mid-'70s. Much of Marvel's SF explosion from that period was fueled by countercultural creators and prog rock*, as slyly reflected here by Quicksilver from the Glam side of the moon. And the spirit of '70s Clint Eastwood haunts Wolverine every which way.
But what holds its epic scope and two casts/times together is the tether of Xavier and Magneto, here bracketed by the younger and elder versions of themselves. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan radiate their true friendship in the elders, while Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy complicate their youth with an anguish and doubt that threatens that possibility.
This film is an excellent return to form that resets the bar going forward.