All Has Been Revealed:
It’s Not The End Of The World, But It Could Mark The End Of The X-Men Franchise As We Know It…
“I feel a great swell of pity for the poor soul who comes to my school looking for trouble” – Charles Xavier.
“I’ve never felt power like this before…” Charles Xavier mutters incredulously at one point during the latest mutant flick: X-Men: Apocalypse.
Well, Mr. and Mrs. B still can’t explain the wondrous, sometimes giddy, feeling instilled whenever a new X-Men movie is released, and this one was set in 1983 – one of my favourite years! – so it just had to be good. Firstly, let me point out that we both enjoyed watching this new X-Men movie.
This did not meet my x-pectations. Quite simply, this is not the mutant masterpiece it should have been. The startling sequence of a youthful En Sabah Nur constructing a pyramid solely by the power of his mind at the very end of X-Men: Days Of Future Past still stands as my all-time fave post-credits scene. Inevitably, the curiosity as to how this particular mutant movie would turn out was irrepressible.
Yes, this effects-laden spectacle is worth watching on the big screen, but if you are looking for deep and thought-provoking drama, deft characterisation and gripping storytelling – the defining elements of previous X-Men movies – then you will feel strangely short-changed.
Sadly, it has not been worth the two years wait…
At one point, a gang of the X-teens come out of a cinema having watched Return of the Jedi. Appropriately enough, Jean remarks: “The third film is always the worst.”
This is regarded as an in-joke, a dig at the lame X-Men: The Last Stand.
Can this tag now be applied to this latest venture…?
“I’ve been called many things over many lifetimes: Ra, Krishna, Yahweh. I was there to spark and fan the flame of man’s awakening, to spin the wheel of civilization” – Apocalypse.
With two superhero movies already this year foisting the good guys to fight each other, it is a welcome relief to be given a traditional super-villain, and here we have no less than the ultimate: the very first, and most powerful, mutant: Apocalypse.
Played by the Bradscribe Man Of The Year: Oscar Isaac, this was a particularly much-anticipated role.
Does he succeed?
He looks and sounds menacing enough, but there again, Isaac has to deal with an average script offering him no more than the stock: “world domination; following blind leaders” dialogue, but trust my beloved to point out the most pertinent criticism concerning this villain:
Mrs. B thought he looked too much like “the bad guy from the dancing tree movie.”
Didn’t think too much about it at the time, but: good point, lov. Yes, Apocalypse reminds me of Ronan The Accuser from Guardians of the Galaxy. You could argue that both are similar, not only in likeness and mood, but also severely hampered by under-developed characterisation, an all-too-common blight on modern cinema unfortunately.
Nevertheless, despite the narrative drive faltering at various stages, there are quite a few stunning sequences, including an epic opening scene, set in Egypt 3600 BCE, and En Sabah Nur is betrayed by his Followers and trapped deep beneath a pyramid until resurrected by some local fanatical devotees in 1983.
Wandering through a Cairo bazaar in a hooded cloak – quite frankly, a villain like that, no other clobber would do – it was amusing to see him glare in utter bewilderment at a blaring ghetto-blaster.
“IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT FROM ME?! IS THIS WHO I AM?! Is this who I am…?” – Magneto.
Perhaps the most worrying aspect about this disappointing bundle is the way in which so many characters have been thrown into the mix and have to cope with barely anything of any consequence to do! It has almost got to the point where to refer to them automatically as “characters” seems laughable!
What is encouraging to see are the competent – albeit limited – debuts of Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner and Kodi Smit-McPhee playing Cyclops, Jean Grey and the hilarious Nightcrawler respectively.
Setting the Four Horsemen up as his henchmen, with the suggestion that they were terrifying enough to warrant inclusion in the Bible, is a great idea, but handled poorly. What is their motivation for tagging along with this blue-skinned creep?
We assume they are disillusioned and devoid of any meaningful purpose in life – but we have to surmise that for ourselves. The only “Horseman” who is fleshed out properly is Magneto, but then we know enough about him from the previous two films. Inserting an back story in Poland, culminating in such an unexpected outcome was a much-needed shot of real drama, but then again, as soon as the devastation begins, Magneto levitates… and does little else.
Looking particularly awesome is Olivia Munn, who – in keeping with the 80s theme – dazzles across the screen in a purple leotard. At last, an effort to make the costumes resemble their comic counterparts! But that is a description of her, not a character trait!
One cannot help but wonder if she would be a much better choice to play Wonder Woman: she’s more beautiful, more tough and – let’s face it – has more screen time; she certainly looks more Amazonian than Gal Google…
Of course, Quicksilver has to return to put in another entertaining, time-bending, scene-stealing sequence, this time accompanied by Eurythmics: Sweet Dreams – does this, perhaps, disguise a lack of original ideas here?
Considering what the two of us have been through over the last two months, this movie came at the right time: to escape with some rather good comic book action, this accomplishes that basic need at least, but X-Men: Apocalypse should have offered so much more, and it is baffling when you consider how reliable X-Men stalwart: Bryan Singer usually is. It would appear that even he has off-days…
Thankfully, it’s not as turgid as Batman V Superman as some reviews have suggested, but but still has a heck of a long way to go before it can sit alongside the vastly superior X-Men: Days Of Future Past.
Although this does not improve nor expand the X-Men Cinematic Universe in any rewarding form, there are plans for more X-movies – most encouragingly, a possible cosmic adventure – in the works.
Let’s hope they can get back on course…
Only The Strong Will Survive – sadly, this wasn’t strong enough…