So, Fox saw fit to release yet another X-Men installment. What makes this one so damning is that it was released following the really bad Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and the really good Captain America: Civil War. First of all, what is with all of these friggin’ colons and second of all: “why?” It was just bad timing on Fox’s part because this time around the movie was barely decent–only forgivable due to DC’s recent blunder–and overall generally forgettable. Black Nerd said it best that in an early 2000s pop/R&B world in which Civil War and Batman V Superman are the heavyweights, X-Men…is the Samantha Mumba.
X-Men dominated the 4-day weekend box-office with $80 million but when it’s only competition is Alice Through the Looking Glass, a sequel that is 6 years too late and marred with recent PR issues and abuse allegations aimed at one of its main stars, it is plain to see that this is a win-by-default. In combination with its predecessor’s success and with the proper timing, it could have spelled for a bigger box-office gross for the X-Men outing.
It falls flat in comparison to X-Men: Days of Future’s Past. While that movie was not anything spectacular by any means, it did, however, do what it was meant to do. It brought back fan faves, even if they were only there to either get killed off repeatedly or outright side-lined (turning the movie into yet another Wolverine-centric outing). It brought in a respectable amount of money. But most importantly, it rebooted the entire existence of the motherf*cking abomination that is X-Men: The Last Stand.
The disappointment lies in the fact that it was a near repeat of The Last Stand in that it took such a recognizable and stand out story-arc and, yet again, murdered it, revived it, and then destroyed it again.
The line-up seems impressive on paper but is deterred by both unimpressive acting and roles that are made lesser than what they were supposed to be. Many people were thrown in and afterward not given much to do or work with.
For example, the moment in which, (the climax actually), Jean Grey defeats Apocalypse with what is supposed to be the Phoenix Force could have been made more powerful if we were given more of an idea of the sheer scope of the power she possesses besides what we are told by an almost-always-near-tears Professor Charles Xavier and the dream she has. We could have cut some scenes (most notably, the TV “LEARNING” scene, the super dramatic “embaldening” scene, and the scenes of Storm just watching the fight from behind a wall–actually any scene containing Alexandria Shipp).
I honestly wanted to see the mall adventure Scott, Jean, Kurt and Jubilee (who was teased to near extinction but then only given 2.5 scenes in the actual movie) supposedly went on. That could have been the perfect moment to give an example of Jubilee’s powers and, I dunno, give Jubilee some time to do something.
It was painfully obvious that Jubilee was not the only person to receive this treatment, Olivia Munn’s Psylocke was just there to be there. The only scenes she gets is when she slices a car (what we saw in the trailer) and Mystique masquerading as her to save Quicksilver. She serves as this movie’s Crossbones, here to have 15 minutes worth of screen time (most of which she spends just standing behind Apocalypse) and having the sum total of about 4 lines, each containing less than 8 words. Then, she makes the world believe that she is a significant factor in the movie. Having a kickass, sword-slinging lady on the roster is kinda moot when we see none of the ass kicking and she is barely there.
The only person I think had it worse besides Psylocke–not including Magneto, because his life is always terrible through no fault of his own–is Angel. Being super frank, I did not care for him. Not before he got the Apocalypse upgrade nor after. Even when he died, I didn’t care. Hell, I didn’t even do my trademark sadistic cackle. I shrugged and kept moving on and apparently so did the movie.
If you saw the trailers, then you saw all they had to offer.
In my opinion, the best takeaway was the introduction of Nightcrawler, Kurt Wagner, who did not have a headlining role but did the best he could with the screentime he was given. The joy in this portrayal stems from the fact that Kodi Smit-McPhee evidently studied Nightcrawler’s first go around in X2. Which was a great move on his part, due to it giving us one of the best sequences in the previous trilogy, Nightcrawler’s infiltration of the White House. I loved every moment he showed up on screen.
Another fan favorite was Quicksilver, who got more than a great scene and then an unreasonable send-off this time. Instead of one speed scene, we got two. One of them well-deserved and the other was totally confused fan service. It was almost like Singer took note of the last Quicksilver “Time in a Bottle” scene and was like “You know what? I am gonna give ’em two this time.” Literally, Charles has been abducted, wheelchair and all, the Mansion is in the process of exploding and Havok “dies” (we have no body…but then would there be a body?). This is the set up for the first scene set to the Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams”. Granted, I love 80’s music and I love this song, but it left me so confused, especially when it was just thrown out there that Havok didn’t make it out–casually. Other than that brief existential crisis awkward, Peter finds himself in the same exact position he was in the last movie–which was 10 years ago–except this time he is looking for his father (which was terribly spoiled by the last trailer. Okay, we all knew but did you really need to throw it out there for the people whose lives aren’t devoted to this sh*t?).
This brings us to our favorite, “lemme join you today and battle you tomorrow” bestie Erik Lehnsherr. Boy, they took Magneto’s already terrible life and upped the ante into Peter Parker territories. Erik, once again, experiences tragedy but this time at the hands of the police (still doing people dirty in the 80’s and in Europe) after doing a good deed and after years of trying to be “normal”. So, once again, he of course goes off on a revenge quest. Then they tried to rectify it by out of nowhere highlighting Erik and Charles’ relationship (on Steve and Bucky levels) through flashback, and it was this love that made him realize that what he was doing was wrong. Not being a horsemen/maybe henchmen to the supposed big bad, not the no doubt millions of lives that should have been lost due to him shifting the Earth’s poles, but his love for Charles.
And Mystique continues to get zero play in that even though we get J. Law in all these scenes, she is still essentially doing, you guessed it, nothing.
The worst of the sins committed was perhaps were the unnecessary inclusion of Wolverine, the waste of Oscar Issac and most unforgivably, forgetting the universe’s own continuity.
Oscar Issac as Apocalypse is the equivalent of throwing a golden champagne bucket of hot grease onto an already burning dumpster fire. Honestly, I feel like Isaac thought this was going to be great until two weeks into shooting. He questioned whether or not his character was going to get sprinkled with even a little CGI (spoiler: he did not) and then promptly looked in the mirror like “F*ck, what did I do?”.
What Fox should have done was left him to be a third act villain (please skip all of the recruiting) and have most of the trife chaos caused by the Henchmen instead, that way they could garner a little bit of respect. That way Apocalypse can be made out to be a bigger threat because sh*t immediately just hit the fan (most of his scenes at the end is him just being there). Plus, we can save a lot on consecutively mediocre costuming and redirect it to one sequence of really good ass CGI applied to him. I dunno, add a couple of feet to his height and make him physically imposing. When I think of Apocalypse–who is essentially Fox’s Thanos or Darkseid–I imagine this terrible and imposing force. Just looking at him should cause dread. If Thor is a refrigerator then Apocalypse should have been a UPS truck. Bad costuming and poorly written lines (and motives) set Isaac up to fail.
The movie and director seemed to forget that it was Mystique under the guise of William Stryker that came into the possession of Wolverine. If this movie is trying to insinuate that Mystique set him free–because in this timeline she is now Mutant Harriet Tubman–and he still managed to get caught by the same dude, it can GTFOH.
Also, it’s been 20 years since the first movie in this trilogy. So, what kind of sorcery allows everyone to still look like they did in the 60’s…in the new year of 1983? Rose Byrne is over here looking like First Class happened two days before this installment. And what does anybody do in between these 10-year gaps? The fact that it has been like 20 years and Charles is over here still stewin’ about Moira is too much. Peter still lives in a basement. Do they all gather in Eric Foreman’s basement and chill until the world needs them? What progress has been made?
All in all, this movie was only digestible for the fact that the previous movie placed all of these events in a different timeline, therefore giving it more freedom to take things in different directions…like wasting a sequence to promo for another Wolverine movie that no one asked for.
Final verdict: Not completely terrible (The Last Stand levels) but it certainly has nothing to brag about.
This is what this movie should have been …
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