One of the great things about introducing time travel into a screenplay is that you can revisit the past in order to change the future. This is worth bearing in mind as you don your 3D specs (or not) to watch this movie.
In an apocalyptic near future where huge robotic Sentinels are intent on hunting down and dispatching the last of the mutants, it seems only Wolverine (Hugh Jackman, yet again totally believable in those absurd sideburns) can (might) be able to save the day – by allowing himself to be transported back in time to 1973 in order to stop the Sentinels ever being unleashed on an unsuspecting world.
He arrives back in a time where Professor X (James McAvoy) is a psychological self-pitying wreck being cared for by Beast (Nicholas Hoult), while Magneto (Michael Fassbender) is in an ultra-secure lock up having been framed for the most outrageous of famous murders (let’s not give the whole game away here). Wolverine’s mission is simple; he needs to get Professor X and Magneto working together to stop the Sentinel programme in its tracks, but of course he encounters the usual problem between these two – Professor X thinks humans and mutants should work together while Magneto thinks the mutants should rule the world.
While all this is going on, Professor X’s childhood friend Mystique (a very blue Jennifer Lawrence) is becoming radicalised as she watches her fellow mutants being ruthlessly hunted down by the likes of scientist Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage in 1970s specs and bushy moustache).
All of which leads to the most spectacular of climaxes with whole football stadiums being used as weapons. In fact, the opening scene is pretty spectacular too – director Bryan Singer bringing all his action experience to bear. It’s also nice seeing all the young mutants bonding and behaving just like teenagers do all over the world (i.e. badly). But best of all is one stand-out sequence where a young Quicksilver (Evan Peters) whizzes madly about in slow mo changing the trajectory of bullets while the classic track If I Could Save Time In A Bottle plays over the action.
There are some good laughs, lots of hijinks and – as there always is with time travel – various anomalies and paradoxes you’d need to be Stephen Hawking to solve (and even he may struggle).
So it’s big and bold and moves extremely quickly through its 131 mins running time – and it single-handedly wipes the past clean so they can reboot the whole franchise and start all over again. Clever that.