Preview: 'X-Men: Days of Future Past'

DC's jewel in the crown Superman marked his return to the silver screen this year with the somewhat divisive Zack Snyder-directed, Christopher Nolan-produced Man of Steel, but next year will be an all-Marvel affair for superhero blockbusters. We were given our first look at 'Phase Two' offering Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) last week, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) are two other highly-anticipated entries, but now the first trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) has landed online. Based on the celebrated comic-book arc of the same name, the footage offers a tantalising glimpse of what is an elaborate undertaking. Official synopsis below.

The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-Men: Days of Future Past. The beloved characters from the original X-Men film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from X-Men: First Class in an epic battle that must change the past - to save our future.

The post-credits teaser of The Wolverine (2013) saw Hugh Jackman's anti-hero encounter Magneto (Ian McKellen) and Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), and a good portion of the trailer focuses on the trio. Whilst the comics had Kitty Pryde being sent back in time to alter the future by changing the past, Singer has smartly chosen to use Wolverine as our grumpy guide.

In addition to the usual fast cuts of action sequences and plot info, we also get a tantalisingly brief look at some new fan-favourite characters; Sunspot, Warpath, Bishop (Untouchable's Omar Sy) and Blink are but a few who show up here. Arguably the most intriguing aspect of this two-minute eye-opener are the two differing viewpoints of Professor X, with the trailer concluding with James McAvoy's younger (and world-weary) Xavier seemingly in conversation with his older self. Whilst there is much to be buoyed about here, the sheer scale of Singer's undertaking also begs caution.

Time travel in any film is often a tricky plot mechanism, but attempting to use it to link together several films in different timelines - in doing so introducing many new characters - makes X-Men: Days of Future Past the most ambitious superhero film to date. We'll have to wait a few months to see if Singer has indeed managed to pull it off, but until then footage such as this will no doubt get audiences to "hope again".

Bryan Singer's X-Men: Days of Future Past hits UK cinemas on 22 May, 2014.

Amon Warmann

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