X-Men: Days of Future Past – reviews of latest Marvel film

Jennifer Lawrence in X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men revisit their past in a 'fantastic', bewildering chapter that refreshes the series, say critics

LAST UPDATED AT 07:15 ON Fri 23 May 2014

What you need to know
Superhero film X-Men: Days of Future Past has opened in UK cinemas. Bryan Singer directs the seventh instalment in the X-Men series based on Marvel Comics characters.

This film is set in a dystopian future where the X-Men ensemble send Wolverine into the past to join forces with their younger selves in a war to save humans and mutants from a robot army. The ensemble cast includes Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Halle Berry, Michael Fassbender, Peter Dinklage, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen.

What the critics like
"This vast-scaled, decades-leaping blockbuster, throws in everything up to and including the kitchen sink," says Nick de Semlyen in Empire. There's a lot going on but it's largely fantastic, not only re-energising old-favourite characters like Wolverine but introducing intriguing new ones.

This "vigorously entertaining X Men" is shot through with a stirring reverence for the Marvel characters and their universe, says David Rooney in the Hollywood Reporter. Hardcore followers will have a geek field day dissecting the pretzel logic of this ambitious, suspenseful chapter, which secures a future for the franchise while reinventing it.

If you come to this film knowing nothing of the X-Men, "it can be like trying to follow two games of chess at once", says Steve Rose in The Guardian says. But there's always a neat special effect, a well-timed gag or an action set piece around the corner, whipping up the action towards a symphonic climax.

What they don't like
There are tremendous visual effects and good performances by Jackman, McAvoy, Fassbender, Lawrence et al, but "the absurdly convoluted screenplay is both confusing and increasingly irritating", says Geoffrey McNab in The Independent. You can't help but wish that the same level of resources that went into the film's special effects had been devoted to the storytelling. · 

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.