Release date: May 23, 2014
The story: Hold on tight, because this is where the XMU gets really complicated. Time travel is a major part of the X-Men comic mythos, and Days Of Future Past introduces that thorny narrative device as it reintroduces the X-Men of the first movie trilogy while continuing to explore the history of the characters introduced in X-Men: First Class. Both timelines have jumped forward: In the dystopian year 2023, the X-Men’s numbers have been severely diminished as the robotic Sentinels track down and kill any mutants who haven’t been herded into prison camps with their human sympathizers. The world is a mess but still considerably better in 1973; Magneto is in prison for allegedly assassinating President Kennedy, Mystique is out on her own rescuing mutants in peril, and Charles Xavier is a powerless junkie living in a dilapidated mansion.
The X-Men of the future keep getting killed by Sentinels, but their deaths are undone over and over again when Kitty Pryde sends Bishop back in time to warn the team and rewrite the timeline. Professor X and Magneto decide that the only way to stop this future is by changing the far past, and Wolverine’s healing factor makes him the only mutant capable of withstanding the massive mental damage caused by projecting his consciousness through time. He wakes up in 1973, where he has to prevent Mystique from killing Bolivar Trask, creator of the Sentinels. Logan enlists the aid of Xavier and Hank McCoy first and brings them to the home of Quicksilver, the young speedster who helps them break Magneto out of his prison underneath the Pentagon in the best action sequence of the entire X-franchise. Meanwhile, Mystique is uncovering the truth about Trask’s Sentinel program, and Logan’s crew finds her during her first attempt on Trask’s life in Paris.
Mystique takes a bullet in the leg during her escape, giving the U.S. government the DNA they need for the Sentinels’ adaptability in the future, but Xavier tracks her down again when he kicks his addiction to the serum that allows him to walk but kills his psychic ability. The movie builds to a climax when Logan, Xavier, and Beast have to prevent Mystique from killing Trask and stop Magneto from killing the president and his cabinet on the White House lawn, and the sequence is made all the more intense thanks to flash-forwards of the X-Men getting killed by Sentinels for the last time in the future. Mystique pulls through for the good guys and stops Magneto instead of Trask, and a mutant saving the president on live television turns the tides of history. Wolverine wakes up in the new present, and it’s one where Jean Grey and Cyclops are still alive, revealing that the events of the original X-Men trilogy have now been rewritten.
Professor X/Charles Xavier
Sunspot/Roberto Da Costa
Noteworthy events: The ending introduces a huge change that has a major impact on all future X-movies, and it’s still a mystery how the timeline gets to the present that Wolverine discovers at the end of this story. Logan is also the only mutant from the old timeline who has any memory of it, though Logan mostly glossed over that part. The post-credits sequence introduces Apocalypse, the ancient Egyptian mutant who built the pyramids and will cause the X-Men a lot of strife when he’s revived in the ’80s.