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X-Men: Days of Future Past
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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that X-Men: Days of Future Past (the sequel to X-Men: First Class) is an exciting superhero film that's filled with fantastic special effects -- and bone-crunching battles. There's some blood -- as well as guns, stabbing, and hand-to-hand fighting -- though most of the action violence is of the large-scale carnage variety, including explosions and super-powered combat. Skeletons and corpses are seen. One scene shows a man's naked backside after he gets out of bed (a woman is lying next to him), and there's some swearing (one "f--k," plus "s--t," etc. ), drinking (the young professor drinks a lot, with bottles all around), and the "shooting up" of a serum that mimics drug use. As with all of the X-Men movies, this one explores issues of identity, fearing what's different, and embracing who you are, as well as the notion that killing isn't the answer to problems.
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What's the story?
In X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, it's the future, and mutants are in peril after a prolonged battle with both humans and robotic warriors, called Sentinels, that were designed to fight mutants by Boliver Trask (Peter Dinklage). This dismal situation harkens back to 1973, when Raven -- aka Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) -- shot Trask to put a stop to the growing threat against mutants. But that plan has clearly backfired, so Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) decide that the only solution is to send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back to 1973 to prevent Mystique from pulling the trigger. But the professor and Magneto's younger selves (James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender) are as estranged as two friends can get, and Mystique is filled with rage.
Is it any good?
The X-Men franchise knows how to deliver the goods -- this movie is thrilling filmmaking, a deft combination of engaged storytelling and impressive special effects. (Plus, heaps of charisma from the likes of McAvoy, Fassbender, and Jackman). While the film sometimes feels overcrowded, with too many characters and a busy plot -- you may find yourself wishing you'd spent more time getting to know a character or doing without them at all -- X-Men: Days of Future Past manages to be entertaining, not just for die-hard X-Men fans but also for those seeing it without the X-Men fandom lens. It's great to watch the talented cast do their thing, do it well, and enjoy themselves to boot. The audience will be cheering them on.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about superhero movies. How does X-Men: Days of Future Past compare with the other X-Men films? How do the X-Men movies stack up against other popular franchises, such as The Avengers or Spider-Man? What makes each one stand apart from the others?
What do the X-Men movies have to say about racism and discrimination? How do ordinary people view mutants?
What do the mutants' struggles have in common with other challenges that people have faced? Why do people tend to fear what is different?
- In theaters: May 23, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: October 14, 2014
- Cast: Patrick Stewart, James McAvoy, Hugh Jackman
- Director: Bryan Singer
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Superheroes
- Character Strengths: Teamwork
- Run time: 130 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sequences of intense sci-fi violence and action, some suggestive material, nudity and language
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