“X-Men: Apocalypse”

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FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: Last night, I saw “X-Men: Apocalypse,” which stars James McAvoy (Wanted, Victor Frankenstein), Michael Fassbender (Slow West, Macbeth), Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games, American Hustle), Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies, Mad Max: Fury Road), Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: Episode VII- The Force Awakens, Ex Machina), Rose Byrne (28 Weeks Later…, Insidious), Evan Peters (Kick-Ass, American Horror Story [TV series]), Josh Helman (Mad Max: Fury Road, Jack Reacher), Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones [TV series], Barely Lethal), Tye Sheridan (Mud, The Tree of Life), Lucas Till (Walk the Line, MacGyver [2016 series]), Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road, ParaNorman), Ben Hardy (East Enders [TV series], A Storm in the Stars), Alexander Shipp (Straight Outta Compton, Drumline: A New Beat), Olivia Munn (Magic Mike, Iron Man 2), and Lana Condor (Patriots Day, Alita: Battle Angel). It is directed by Brian Singer (The Usual Suspects, Superman Returns), who also wrote it with Simon Kinberg (Sherlock Holmes [2009], Fantastic Four [2015]), Michael Dougherty (Krampus [2015], Superman Returns), and Dan Harris (Imaginary Heroes, Until Death). When an ancient mutant by the name of Apocalypse (Isaac) rises up from his burial ground in Egypt, it is up to the X-Men, led by Mystique (Lawrence), to vanquish the villain before he destroys the whole world with his new recruits.

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The world is ending again guys…should we be scared now? Why is it that many of the threats facing superheroes involves the fate of the entire world? Does the earth have to be put up for massive destruction? I guess so, since the stakes have already been raised to that level, and there’s no coming down. “X-Men: Apocalypse” wasn’t on the top of my watch list, but being as how I’ve seen the other films in the franchise, why not give this one a shot? With its fantastic visual effects and promising villain, it would seem like this movie would have its story in the bag. After viewing the flick, that is not the case. Although there are a few moments that are really cool to watch and study, this “X-Men” release falls flat compared to its predecessors, mingling many conflicting story arcs and characters to battle a foe that can’t even live up to his name. I was hoping for a great experience; maybe one close to “Days of Future Past,” but alas, I will have to wait. Starting with the story, it’s your typical save-the-world-from-mass-destruction ordeal. The X-Men must vanquish an enemy “stronger” than them, and learn some things along the way. However, what this movie fails to accomplish is setting up stakes to clamor over. Apocalypse, while played by the ever-great Oscar Isaac, is a joke. He may have had a few moments where he does some damage, but overall he couldn’t seem to get a grasp on the situation at hand. He is mainly used as hands to move around pawns, who, by the way, can’t even stand on their own two feet. Seriously guys, the Four Horsemen all succumbed to what is feared the most in a moviegoing experience: a rushed ending (well, maybe not “the most,” but it’s up there). Everything that this film built itself up to be wrapped up just as quickly, tidying itself without any care in the world for whatever damage it caused. Don’t get upset if you think that’s a spoiler, because you can see it slowly coming by just watching the clock. The build up leading to this grand finale felt like filler for a majority of the time, save for some stellar scenes. Some of my favorite moments included Quicksilver (Peters) and Magneto (Fassbender). They are clearly this franchise’s leading members of quality, for the writers and visual effects coordinators know how to use them. I enjoyed the Quicksilver slow-motion scene in this, as it matched the one seen in the last “X-Men” movie, and just about everything including Michael Fassbender was gold (that man is terrific). As for everyone else, there were a select few I took joy in. James McAvoy still provides good entertainment, but is merely a side character for the incoming, “new” mutants such as Cyclops (Sheridan), Jean Grey (Turner), and Nightcrawler (Smit-McPhee). They got a ton of screen time, which I didn’t mind too much, considering how they all did a rather good job. I’ve been meaning to see more with these figures, being as how it’s been since “Last Stand” that I have seen them in action (longer for Scott). However, it looks like a good chunk of the story went to the leadership of Mystique, and how Jennifer Lawrence picked up one of her last paychecks for this set. Once I heard that she was considering leaving, I awaited for her character to be used as much as possible, and that is what happened. Using a character a lot isn’t a bad thing, if it has the right intentions behind it. Mystique was never the one to lead or be a hero. If you’ve seen the prior films or read comics, she is a conflicted soul; a villain, if you will. Having her give that lame, cliché speech seen in the trailer, with the “forget everything you know” line, is too icky for me to take in, as it is hilariously bad and against her character. Say what you will about my opinion, but I would prefer her character to be evil than good. As for the acting of these heroes and villains, everyone did relatively well. I was never a fan of Nicholas Hoult’s Beast, so he still has to work out his transformed figure, but other than that, I wasn’t displeased. The only thing holding the actors back from being great was the dialogue, which was too basic and familiar to be incredibly engaging. I was entertained, mind you, for Fox hasn’t churned out a boring Marvel release yet (that I know of…yes folks, I wasn’t bored during last year’s “Fantastic Four,” mainly because I was too busy poking fun at it). I just wish it owned up to its title and foe. It felt like there wasn’t much time put into the story, which was a real bummer. Like I said, they did have great moments, but they were too few in number to bring this movie anyway near “Days of Future Past.” Overall, this release was a disappointment, serving me promising newcomers and a handful of great scenes, but failing to deliver a show worthy of recommending. FINAL SCORE: 71%= Burnt Popcorn

Here is the trailer:

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