“X-Men Days of Future Past” (2014) a Tedious Installment

imageReturning to the director’s chair he occupied for the franchise’s first two installments, Bryan Singer brings little new inspiration to X-Men Days of Future Past (C-), a tedious time travel installment in which the veteran ensemble of mutant superheroes sends Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine back to the ’70’s to help his First Class colleagues of younger selves avert a robot war started by Peter Dinklage. After filmgoers have enjoyed better warped reality executions in Inception, more fun with period detail in American Hustle and more all-around humor and adventure in The Avengers, this fifth (or seventh, depending on how you count) outing of this Marvel menagerie just seems like too little too late. It’s especially disappointing coming off a reboot prequel and an origin story (thanks Matthew Vaughn and James Mangold) that held together more effectively. Jackman phones it in, and Jennifer Lawrence gets nary enough screen time to develop her status as a character playing both sides of warring mutant factions. Most series regulars are reduced to extended cameos (Halle Barry may or may not have been computer generated). James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, given amazing characters in their past outing, are merely at the service of set pieces here. Evan Peters’ Quicksilver is a singular highlight with one hilarious montage of time-lapsed highjinks. There is missed opportunity with the waning days of the Vietnam War and the age of Watergate to have had something more to say here about the need for heroes. Instead the series simply needs to be rescued back from Singer’s lugubrious and poorly plotted return.