X-Men: Apocalypse (dir. Bryan Singer)

Posted: June 8, 2016 in Uncategorized

“X-Men: Apocalypse” has enough good in it to make the bad parts outnumbering those good parts that much more disappointing. A few good scenes can’t save the film from being a colossal disappointment, which at least is still better than “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, which is still the worse in the series. I’d also say “Apocalypse” is better than Ratner’s “The Last Stand”, but that may be because I’ve blocked out most of that film.

There’s enough wrong with this film that a review threatens to become a list. Rather than fight that urge, let’s just do it like that,

 

  • Why has no attempt been made to age these characters? “First Class” took place in 1962. “Days of Future Past” took place in 1973. Now this film takes place in 1983 and despite the 20 years between “First Class” and this, everyone looks the exact same. I can give Mystique (a bored and phoning-it-in Jennifer Lawrence) a pass because she can choose a younger human form, and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), who shows up in an unnecessary cameo, who can heal himself and doesn’t seem to age because of his mutant powers, but no one else has any excuse. This is distracting and lazy.

 

  • Why are Apocalypse’s (a wasted Oscar Isaac) powers never explained? He can turn people into sand, meld them into sand, create portals to travel through, suck information out of a TV (a really horrible screenplay device to get him knowledge), increase the powers of other mutants, seemingly temporarily take over the powers of other mutants (he forced Xavier [James McAvoy] to do things against his will), and a hodge-podge of other powers. I get that he has absorbed a bunch from jumping body to body, but it’d be nice to know what the limits of his powers are.

 

  • Magneto (Michael Fassbender, who does an admirable job with little material) was a victim of the Nazis. This has driven him to do evil things which make sense in the past (make everyone a mutant so that there’s no discrimination against mutants), but in this film his hatred over prejudice and senseless killing is…to say “fuck it” and go along with global genocide? Sorry, I just couldn’t buy it. His character at least is allowed the most emotional scenes in the film, and those scenes on their own work reasonably well.

 

  • There’s a pretty good scene where Apocalypse fires all of the world’s nuclear weapons into space, leaving no country on the planet with a nuclear arsenal.  This could have been cool if Apocalypse had the motive of the humans of the world being destructive and him trying to keep them from killing themselves for their own good, like in the original “The Day The Earth Stood Still”. Instead, Apocalypse seems driven only by narcissism and wanting to control the world. If that’s the case, why does he fire off all the nukes?  The nukes don’t seem to be a threat to him, and he wants to kill most of the world anyway.  This action makes no sense given what we are told about the character, though it is a great idea in isolation and plays well as a scene divorced from the movie around it.

 

  • It seems just a tad bit disrespectful to have Psylocke (Olivia Munn) standing in Auschwitz in a purple sexy ninja suit. Also, having Apocalypse standing at the gates of a concentration camp looking like Ivan Ooze from the Power Rangers movie doesn’t help either.

 

  • If Apocalypse wants the four strongest mutants to help him take over the world, why does he choose Archangel (Ben Hardy), whose only powers are flight and firing metal from his wings. That’s pretty weak sauce. Also, while I know Psylocke has some cool powers in the comics, this film seems to only show her having the power of wielding some sort of electric sword.  I understand Storm (Alexandra Shipp) who can control the Earth’s weather (this still seems like a bigger asset that’s never utilized well in these movies) and Magneto (who can use the Earth’s metal core to destroy the planet), but the other two just seemed to be a case of proximity.

 

  • Why is Moira (Rose Byrne) even in this movie? She serves no purpose. Okay, at first she’s there to lead Xavier and the X-Men onto the sent of Apocalypse, and them to provide exposition about him. After that…she’s dragged along the movie from scene to scene with no purpose for her to still be in the movie, except to give us a half-hearted romance for Xavier.  She could have been written out of the movie with no detriment to the film if the exposition and discovery of Apocalypse were handled in an easier fashion.

 

  • Why does Wolverine need to be in this film? I’ve never understood why a poor man’s Freddy Krueger is the most popular X-Man. Plus, at the end of “Days of Future Past” we clearly see he’s pulled out of the water by Mystique posing as Stryker. How did he end up in the hands of Stryker (Josh Helman) again?

 

  • When exactly did Magneto have time to knock up a random woman and conceive Quicksilver (Evan Peters)?

 

  • So Jennifer Lawrence really didn’t want to wear the make-up this time, huh? It’s distracting while watching the film to plainly see on screen that she would rather be making any other movie than this one.

 

  • The final scene is just an ugly CGI-a-thon. A big step down from the Cuban Missle Crisis finale of “First Class”, and a slightly smaller step down from the moral choice finale of “Days of Future past”.

 

 

Okay, but there is good in this film. The Quicksilver scene in which he saves the students of Xavier’s academy while it blows up (“Deadpool” parodied this common occurrence a few months ago) is very fun to watch and the highlight of the film. As much as I love the song “Sweet Dreams”, though, how exactly does I fit this scene? “Time in a Bottle” at least made reference to what was going on. I also, in isolation, did like the nuclear missile disarmament scene.  Oh, and while the 3D of this film isn’t all that good (a lot of ghosting, albeit not as bad as “Green Lantern” had), I did enjoy flying through a giant hammer and sickle during the opening credits.  I’ll also mention that some of the new cast members, like Sophie Turner (as Jean Gray) and Tye Sheridan (as Cyclops), do a very good job with their new characters.

The good scenes aren’t quite enough to recommend the movie. This is a huge step down from the previous two X-Men films. Bryan Singer, who has directed a whopping total of ONE good movie not featuring X-Men (“The Usual Suspects”) probably needs to be replaced as director if they go forward with any more of these. While most of the problems with this film actually belong to the screenplay by Simon Kinberg, who has written stinkers like the last “Fantastic Four”, “This is War”, and “Jumper”, as well as the worst X-men movie “The Last Stand”, Singer’s laziness or seeming to not care about even aging up his characters or attempting to fix plot holes during filming reeks of lack of effort. The series probably needs some new blood injected into it. After all, being injected with new blood gave us the funny if not as radical as I was hoping “Deadpool”. C

 

 

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