Film Reviews

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE

By • May 14th, 2016 •

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Professor X and Magneto should finally admit their toxic relationship is really lust and get on with it.

Every Marvel X-MEN movie – no matter what version – has a template that is really starting to age in its predictability. At first, Professor X and his nemesis/friend Magneto are against each other in their ideology – can humans and mutants live together in harmony? – and then something happens that brings them together to fight a villain stronger and more deadly. They keeping doing everything to keep the status quo and then when they conquer the threat, say a sad goodbye.

Is it a love that dares not speak its name?*

How can Marvel make each X-Men stand alone when it’s always the same “Save The World Against a Villain outline?”

The best thing about 10 CLOVERLANE was the real apocalypse ending. How can we suspend belief and think the world will actually vanish without the intervention of the X-Men?

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE is mostly a terrific, well-done FX movie – I saw it in 3D. For X-MEN aficionados, it’s terrific and highlights every X-Men currently recruited for this outing. As a non-Marvel Universe citizen, it was tough to figure out the new mutant’s abilities and backgrounds.

The story, however, is one you have seen many times before. Perhaps it is one of the Master Plots that always gets the committee’s approval.

The mean god is awakened after thousands of years and comes back as The Mummy, the Vampire OverLord, an immortal god, a general, or Michael Sheen to destroy the world and begin a New World Order with new parishioners.

We begin in Pharaonic Egypt, an utterly fantastic set, where the world’s first mutant was about to possess the powers of another mutant as well as his youthful form through transfiguration. (I added that part about accessing the other mutant’s abilities. I thought it was obvious.) In doing this many times over centuries, Apocalypse (Oscar Issac) has become immortal and invincible.

But the guards are sick and tired of Apocalypse’s rule and destroy the temple moments before the final metamorphosis. Apocalypse – as I saw it – still got the juice but lost the new body. He and his devoted followers were buried under the enormous structure.

In time, the recent past, Egyptian looters scavenging the rubble, clear the space for Apocalypse to rise. He does not like what he sees – he’s his ancient-looking self -and he is mad. And, he is furious how the world has changed, so he seeks out other, lesser mutants, to help him re-structure the world in his image. Destroy everything and start anew with the “survival of the fittest.”

Erik Lensherr a.k.a. Magneto (Michael Fassbender) has been hiding out in Poland – of all places – as a coal miner (or some job that requires a hardhat). He has a wife and little girl. I guess powers are a drag after a while and hard work builds character.

Apocalypse finds Erik (he recognizes him as Magneto) and makes a strong case for him joining up with his new recruits from the mutant community. They are Psylocke (Olivia Munn), African orphan Ororo who will become Storm (Alexandra Shipp), and Angel (Ben Hardy).

Psylocke can generate a telekinetic katana, or direct her telekinesis through her fists to strike as if she had superhuman strength; she is also immune to telepathic probes and attacks.

Storm is an extremely powerful mutant and has demonstrated a plethora of abilities, most of which are facets of her power to control the weather. Storm possesses the psionic ability to control all forms of weather over vast areas.

Angel is a skilled combatant, especially in aerial hand-to-hand combat. Angel also has a businessman identity.

Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) visits Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and brings him up to speed on Apocalypse’s agenda. Xavier goes into Cerebro along with Mystique, Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) and CIA agent Moira (Rose Byrne).

Moira has the least to do. Why is she here? Moira doesn’t have a costume and is just around to prove Professor X is not gay even if everyone else knows he is in love with Magneto. X-Men are generally celibate but a smile says a lot.

Moira is dressed like a librarian and is a useless character without any energy. With a cast of superpowerful X-Men, she’s a scene drain.

Marvel’s X-Men Universe is filled with mutants! There are too many and in my opinion there is only one with the appropriate fury, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman).

Because movie stars get old and franchises can go on, time-shifting scenarios are now acceptable and with audiences are getting younger and younger, we meet the high school mutants who will eventually become Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee). Also on board to time-creeper Quicksilver (Evan Peters).

So far, as long as he does not do a rom-com with Kate Hudson, Michael Fassbender can do nothing wrong in my opinion. I’m bias. This their sixth film, Professor X and Magneto’s relationship never changes, it never grows, it never evolves. It is so predictable it has now become boring.

It was recently gossiped that Lawrence does not like the time it takes to become Mystique. That is what happens when you create a movie star – they do it their way or it’s a call to their agent. And in X-MEN: APOCALYPSE, Lawrence does not spend much time in her true body.

I cannot say anything against not enjoying X-MEN: APOCALYPSE. The special effects are fantastic, especially Quicksilver and Nightcrawler.

Oscar Issac is terrific. I want more of him. If, as the Marvel Universe page I looked at said Apocalypse is immortal, he didn’t die! Let’s have a stand-alone film on him.

*A phrase from the poem “Two Loves” by Lord Alfred Douglas, published in 1894.

 Member of Las Vegas Film Critics Society: www.lvfcs.org/.

Victoria Alexander lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and answers every email at victoria.alexander.lv@gmail.com.

 

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4 Responses »

  1. Great review. Funny comments about Moira.

    Thought I would add my 2 cents – 20th Century Fox makes the X-Men movies and not Marvel Studios. Fox has the rights to X-Men (including Deadpool) and the Fantastic Four characters.

    “And in X-MEN: APOCALYPSE, Lawrence does not spend much time in her true body.” – I think you meant “And in X-MEN: APOCALYPSE, MYSTIQUE does not spend much time in her true body.”

    B2B.

  2. Perhaps the best balanced review I’ve ever read. And the tagline had me in stitches. Well played Ms. Alexander, well played indeed.

  3. B2B, you are right, I yield to someone who is either a comic book maven or demands credit where credit is due! Thanks for the kind comments sans the confusion over who owns what.

  4. Hi Justin, Well, I thought I would get hell for that opening quote. But its time, right? Thanks for taking the time to comment. Victoria

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