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Latest 'X-Men' will please hardcore fans (w/video)

  • Ian McKellen in "X-Men: Days of Future Past." (AP Photo/20th Century Fox, Alan Markfield)

Drab in look and overly talky, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” lacks the life force and lilt of its 2011 predecessor, “X-Men: First Class.”

And that one had January Jones in it.

But it also offered more moments that appealed to viewers who did not have the X-Men canon frontloaded in their brains. “Future Past,” by contrast, cannot be enjoyed fully by those unfamiliar with X-Men films, or even by people who have seen them, but not recently.

'X-Men: Days Of Future Past'

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The time-traveling, whole-cast-of-the-franchise-including “Future Past” aims squarely at devoted fans – the only ones who can glean satisfaction from seeing characters on screen in 30-second bursts.

Halle Berry, as the weather-churning Storm, barely appears. Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, though reliably twinkly, seem as if they breezed in from the street to play the older Erik/Magneto and Charles Xavier/Professor X.

Even Jennifer Lawrence, part of the “main” cast of younger actors from the origin-story “First Class,” shows her real face for about five minutes, looking bored for all five. Otherwise, her shape-shifting character, Mystique, assumes the physical guise of others or her own blue, special-effects-eyed, near-naked form. (Lawrence has a killer figure, but I prefer my Oscar-winning actresses more clothed).

If you enter “Future Past” just having watched an “X-Men” marathon, you are golden. You can use your encyclopedic knowledge of this comics universe to understand the importance of a seconds-long appearance of a character, and cheer it.

Otherwise, “Future Past” just seems crowded with characters constantly talking philosophies or trying to persuade someone else to change his or her mind or take action – and not enough subsequent action.

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