Thursday, June 02, 2016

X-Men: Apocalypse

(Movie Review)

Negatives
* I truly think that Magneto has been one of the most interesting and complex villains in movie history.  But after 6 movies, his story arc is just done.  There's only so many times we can see his fall and redemption on screen before we start to lose interest.  If I have to hear that "I know there's still good in you, Eric" speech one more time, I'm going to give up on these X-Men movies completely.

* Related to the above point, in order to get Magneto's fall-and-redemption arc into motion again, the screenwriters were just brutal to this character.
You can get away with killing off Magneto's whole family maybe once in the series, but you can't start doing it at the beginning of every movie.

* I've been a long time comic book fan ever since I was a kid.  But even as a kid, I've always preferred low-powered superheros (like Batman) to the near-omnipotent mind-controlling telepaths.
The problem with having too many near-omnipotent mind-controlling telepaths in one movie is that it leads to a loss of suspense because these characters have too much power.  It also leads to a lot of inconsistencies in how these powers are used.  And then there are those telepath mind battles, which I always thought got a bit weird, and which don't particularly lend themselves to dramatic presentation on the big screen.  This movie is a prime example.

* For a movie series that's supposed to be an allegory about racism and discrimination, this movie sure had a white-washed cast.
This is especially noticeable given how many characters this movie is juggling--such a big cast, and pretty much all of them are white.  (There were, by my count, three people of color, all of whom were either background characters or villains).

* The ending of the movie went on just a couple beats too long.  It should have ended with the rescue of Xavier.  That final battle against Apocalypse just felt too long and unnecessary.  (They should have combined Apocalypse's defeat with Xavier's rescue).

* I don't mind product placement as long as it's not too obvious...but that prominently featured coca-cola bottle that Storm opened--that was pushing things a bit.  (Ditto for the can of Tabs later in the movie).

Positives
* Although the script of this movie had severe problems, the acting and the directing were all top notch.
I mean, Wow!  What a sense of presentation this director has!  That opening scene, for example, was such an awesome spectacle of Hollywood special effects mixed with over-the-top drama.
And that sense of awesome spectacle stayed through the whole movie.

* Related to the above point--the musical score for this movie really complemented the drama on screen very nicely.

* The acting was very good.

* That Quicksilver scene was really cool.

The Review
There's some indication here that the folks behind the X-Men franchise have run out of ideas--the Magneto character arc re-hash has been done to death by now.
And yet, it was all told with such style and spectacle and drama that I largely enjoyed this movie.
And I'm still on board for seeing one more movie in this franchise.

Rating :
7 out of 10 Stars  (A flawed script, but great directing)

Links
I'm largely in agreement with Vince Macini over at Uproxx.com.  Or at least, I'm in agreement with him as far as X-Men: Apocalypse is concerned.  (His point of comparison, Captain America: Civil War ,I actually liked a lot more than he did.)

My Past Reviews of X-Men movies
My review of X-Men: First Class here.
My review of X-Men: Days of Future Past here.
My mini review of X-Men 3  here 

Link of the Day
Noam Chomsky Generalized Rage

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