Friday, June 03, 2016

X-Men: Apocalypse. The End is Nigh!

I saw this movie with an open mind. Or at least as best as I could. I went in with few expectations and all I asked was that it didn't suck as much as X-Men 3. That was a snooze-fest of over-dramatic boredom if there ever was one.

Here's the TLDR version: Fans of the franchise will probably have some nit-picking points to make about the movie. Overall it's not bad. Not great, but not bad. I still have a soft spot for First Class, which was a great twist on the X-Men origin story for Xavier and Magneto. Apocalypse is this weird in-between movie that tries to explain how the 80's X-Men cast formed, but doesn't fully explain plot points.

Again, not bad, but not great either. It's just okay. People will enjoy some of the fight sequences, and Wolverine going on a slice-range. But for the story, it's meh.

Non-fans will probably scratch their head and wonder why James McAvoy went bald in the movie.

Apocalypse marks the return of Bryan Singer to the director's chair for the franchise. He was in charge for X-Men 1 and 2, but produced the others. So his take on the mutant action was semi-refreshing. The plot of this story revolves around Apocalypse, played by Oscar Isaac, aka Poe from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. A mutant that has lived for centuries by stealing the powers of others and transforming his consciousness into their bodies. He awakes in the 1980's and sees how humanity has taken over the Earth. Not happy with the turn of events, he recruits others like him (Psylocke, Angel, Storm, and of course Magneto) to help take over the world.

If you're sick of the origin stories, you're probably going to want to avoid this movie. Like seeing Batman's family get killed every freekin' time, you find out once again how Scott Summers, aka Cyclops, gets his powers while he's in school. Yep. Again. You also get learn that Kurt, Nightcrawler, was part of a circus troupe. Again.

Earth to Hollywood and comic book directors/writers/producers: Quit. With. The. Origin. Stories.

We know that Superman is an alien from Krypton. We know that Uncle Ben is killed and spurs Peter Parker to become Spiderman. And non-comic book fans know it too! You've spent enough time and money on multiple movies to bring this information to us. You don't need to keep hammering down the origin stories. We get it already. Let's move on to the action. Okay?

Without giving away too many spoilers, I will say that Isaac's make-up could use a do-over. I was snickering every time he was on the screen because it looked hokey. He's a great actor, but with that make-up it'd be impossible for anyone to overcome that challenge. I was also disappointed that for a 2.5 hour film we didn't see much of Apocalypse in action. For a mutant with all these powers, he rarely exhibits them.

And the lack of 1980's material seems like a huge set-back for the film. The only 80's vibe to be felt is during a sequence with Quicksilver (who will become your favorite superhero mutant from now on). He's running through the Xavier household after an explosion blows it up (again, because really this needs to happen every few years?) to save the kids inside. It's all done to the tune of the Eurythmics 'Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)' while he wears a Rush shirt and sucks down some Tab (the drink of astronauts). It's well choreographed, fun, and charming. I would have loved to have more 80's references like this to play into the timeline.

I did appreciate where they went with Magneto's story. They humanized him in a way I haven't seen before in the comics, which is imperative to his background. His future struggles against the X-Men and Xavier seem reasonable and a likeable anti-hero - as he should be.

I also had a hard time of not seeing Sansa Stark as anyone but Sansa Stark. She plays a young Jean Grey in the movie. And that's my own fault. I watch too much Game of Thrones to know better.

This is a movie that's good for 2 and a half hours and walking out feeling like you were entertained by it just enough that it wasn't a waste of your money. But it is u necessarily long with the plot holes and lack of Quicksilver. Seriously. We need more of that kid.


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