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'X-Men: Days of Future Past' is on the clock

** (out of four)

You can call it superhero burnout, but it’s really just idea burnout: “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is a big-budget, highly anticipated comic-book movie that does nothing to set itself apart. The story? The action? Yes, there’s a lot going on. But the texture and wow factors are gone.

Don’t get me wrong. I really, really liked 2011’s “X-Men: First Class,” and “Days of Future Past” does, uh, travel all over the world in hopes of being entertaining. There’s New York, Moscow, China, Paris, D.C., Saigon. There’s also a very “Terminator”-esque plot in which Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) goes back in time (to the ‘70s, where those sideburns fit in perfectly) so he can stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from killing a doctor (Peter Dinklage) and, in effect, causing a war in which killer robots exterminate nearly all mutants.

In other words, that’s a double whammy for those suffering both superhero and time-travel fatigue.

Returning to the franchise, director Bryan Singer (“X-Men,” “X2: X-Men United”) has lost his handle on freshness and fun. Scribe Simon Kinberg co-wrote the horrible “X-Men: The Last Stand,” so yeah. The poorly constructed “Days of Future Past” too often feels like work, attempting to wield its size as a weapon without finding ways to stick (unlike last week’s surprisingly finessed “Godzilla”). I guess it’s nice to see Lawrence speaking both Vietnamese and French, and in small moments Michael Fassbender (as Erik/Magneto) and James McAvoy (as Charles Xavier) stand out from an overloaded cast rarely able to make individual contributions. Fans of the Marvel comics may rejoice at the sight of certain characters, but they do little onscreen.

Elsewhere, the movie features a lousy Richard Nixon impression, odd references to the JFK assassination and Ellen Page (as Kitty Pryde) supervising Logan’s time jump in a manner reminiscent of “Inception,” just without the engrossing plotting or impressive use of slow-mo. “X-Men: Days of Future Past” won’t be mistaken for the 1967 Moody Blues album “Days of Future Passed,” but it also shouldn’t be mistaken for a good “X-Men” movie.

Watch Matt review the week's big new movies Fridays at noon on NBC.

mpais@tribune.com

 

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