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NEWBIES: If this is your first trip here (welcome!), here’s the QT on what these reviews are.
THIS WEEK: The third “Millennial-Gen” installment of Bryan Singer’s X-MEN film franchise reboot, with an ancient, possible “first mutant” threat named En Sabah Nur (aka Apocalypse) revised in the 1980s to grab mutant children and cleanse the world of stinky humans. Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) revise their personal issues, plans and differences and ally with other mutants to take sides and fight each other along with the big blue meanie.
Written by Simon Kinberg with story by Bryan Singer, Kinberg, Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris. Directed by Singer.
- As special-effects go, this one is probably one of the most elaborate of the year, definitely more than the Cap movie. Nice ancient Egypt opening (continuing from the after-credits button from DAYS OF FUTURE PAST). There are a couple scenes that look fake in comparison (there’s a giant villain that moves odd and has a bigger head than his normal sized version) but otherwise some really awesome stuff that I just enjoyed and wondered how they did it (or, more accurately, how long it took and how much it cost).
- James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender continue to put on acting clinics in each of their X flicks. And Jennifer Lawrence (Raven/Mystique) is the only young one who can match them. Though some of the other kids are good, they’re all just “Bs” to the three “As.” (Even more noticeable than in the original X-films with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen.)
- Star Wars connection: Apocalypse is Oscar Issac, aka Poe Dameron in THE FORCE AWAKENS. (He’s also the messed-up Tony Stark-type in EX MACHINA.)
- Even more new mutants than before, with Psylocke, Jubilee, Caliban and The Blob (in a brief back-view cameo), plus “Millennial” versions of The Angel, Nightcrawler, Storm and Jean Grey (Marvel Girl/Phoenix, though never called by either name). Plus Beast, Havok and Quicksilver are back for more fun. (Same with a couple human characters.) Young Jean Grey isn’t the hottie she grows up to be (Famke Janssen), but that’s kind of refreshing for a change.
- Quicksilver (Evan Peters) has another “steal the show” performance scene that, while not as funny as the one in DAYS, is just as inventive. I could watch a whole movie of that dude. (Plus, a secret of his past hinted at in the last film is confirmed here.)
- Speaking of secrets, there’s a “coincidental creation cameo” that comes out of nowhere but makes sense and is another big treat; also reveals the origin of a long-standing connection. Another origin: Scott Summers’ first manifestation of powers, and how the Angel became Archangel. Plus how a lot of the others first met.
- First time (I think) Metallica’s music has appeared in a Marvel movie! Of course, it’s “The Four Horsemen” (from the debut album, KILL ‘EM ALL) as a wink to Apocalypse. I’ll take it.
- Jennifer Lawrence and Olivia Munn (as Psylocke) wearing smash-em-together bras with ample cleavage. Munn’s outfit also shows off a decent butt and Mystique’s blue-boobs say hello.
- A few welcome bits of humor, but not as much as an average Marvel Studios film (of course.)
- Stan Lee has his customary cameo, this time without speaking but with his wonderful wife Joanie for the first time.
- A button after all the credits sets up the next installment with a name X-Men geeks will recognize.
- In contrast to the FUTURE PAST “hurry-up-before-we-die” setup, this one is a pretty slow build, with only two or three battles and booms before the major one at the end. Definitely could use some cutting.
- Major boo-boo: did not see co-creators Jack Kirby, Dave Cockrum, Chris Claremont or any other artist/writer mentioned in the credits; no “based on characters created by” or even “thank yous.” (Doesn’t necessarily mean they weren’t there but I didn’t see them; not on imdb.com either. Shame!!)
- The whole “cleanse the world by killing everyone and starting over” has become a cliché, especially with superheroes: TV’s ARROW and AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. have been using it this entire season! I know it’s part of the original comic, but the timing sucks; and it could have been avoided.
- How much crappier can Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto’s life get? It’s like the writers had a “tragedy” dartboard with is pic on it. How many times can he be misunderstood and want revenge?
- Despite a couple very badass-cool shots, I didn’t really understand Psylocke’s powers or why she was such a big deal. Poor Jubilee does nothing. Someone I like bites it but they don’t really explain how. And I had no idea that the Egyptian mutants in the opening were the actual “Four Horsemen” till the credits.
- As a major villain, Apocalypse is kinda slow and sleepy. Talks a lot. He looks and acts a bit like Ronan The Accuser and Thanos from GUARDIANS but doesn’t look nearly as cool. Kinda like a grandpa bodybuilder wearing a helmet and blueberry makeup.
- What is it with blue-skinned mutants and Marvel characters anyway? Besides En Sabah Nur (dumb name), the Beast, Mystique and Nightcrawler may be different shades but blue is blue. Throw in Ronan (who was changed from green in the comics), Nebula and Yondu from GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY and there’s even more. Meanwhile, I don’t recall seeing a single red, green, yellow, orange or purple-skinned mutant here. Racist, I tell ya!
- Apocalypse gets punched out by one X-man then immediately fends off three of the most powerful without a distraction or drain on his power. WTH?
- Nukes are launched with a different-than-expected-but-actually-lame result.
- Since we’ve all seen the later (first batch) of X-MEN films, we know who survives, so any danger to any of the principle characters is meaningless. It’s still cool to see it happen and has some suspense, but it’s like knowing the score of the Super Bowl before you watch it. You’re curious to see how it happens but you already know who wins.
Some good stuff fer sure. The plot and story make a lot more sense and are easier to follow/understand than the mish-mash of head-scratch that was the last flick. And without the laughable climax of the first one. But it’s just too dang long with too slow of a build-up. Wait till it’s on DVD or cable and hope there’s an edited version, or just fast forward through the slow stuff (or skip right to the battles and extras).
P.S.: Get some ORIGINAL ART of any X-Men character! One or a hundred, Pascale can do it. (He just did a HULK commission with 111 characters!) Just ask Craig here.
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, mutants, Egyptians past and present, characters with blue, black, brown, purple or gray skin, or ancient douchebags who think they’re gods. They’re just opinions of a pink-skinned mutation whose power is to offend as many as possible. Bru wants desperately to join the XXX-Men to find some XXX-Women!