Friday, 20 May 2016

X-Men: Apocalypse

With the emergence of the world's first mutant, Apocalypse, the X-Men must unite to defeat his extinction level plan.


X-Men: Apocalypse is the latest entry in one of the more reliable comic-book franchise around. Director Bryan Singer pioneered the contemporary wave of superhero movies with 2000s X-Men and made a welcome return to the series just two years ago with the time-jumping Days of Future Past. Once again, directed by Bryan Singer, the franchise's trusted leader, Apocalypse, doesn't lack ambitions. It comfortably feels like the biggest X-Men movie yet. It comes to no surprise as he already made three amazing X-Men movies. 


Still, I didn't really expected so many negative reviews for that film. I loved Days of Future Past and as many great movies it has some flaws and problems. In my opinion this film could appeared quite risky on paper, and somehow ambitious. But it displays some unexpected moments and comedy; such as "At least we all agree, the third one is always the worst", concludes Jean Grey, leaving the multiplex after seeing Return of the Jedi - referring by the way to Brett Ratner The Last Stand. Plus, despite a handful of references to President Reagan and the Cold War, Apocalypse clear off 80s politics and instead leans on familiar pop culture references. 


It helps that First Class was so well cast, with McAvoy, Fassbender and Lawrence slipping back into their roles with ease, bringing gravitas and backstories. Though the new class is also extremely appealing. Once again the line up isn't short on talent or charisma and the addition of series newcomers only support the ensemble appeal. Various characters are introduced more in depth such as Cyclope or Scott Summers. The relationship between Charles Xavier and Magneto is what I believe the most important and interesting plot device of the entire saga. In fact, they seem bond to each other and their chemistry is as always brilliant. There are also personal and very human elements of the story involving characters like Jean Grey or Professor X and the inner demons of his brains which ads more depth. 


Though, Turner's Grey often comes across as unpleasant rather than insecure. While Jennifer Lawrence makes Mystique more grim than ever. She's just a Katniss with superpowers, which is a shame because the movie could have used a little less inspirational speech making. Meanwhile, Evan Peters as Quicksilver is PERFECT. I didn't think they could top his sequence in Days of Future Past but they did. So enjoy it! 


Oscar Isaac is a fantastic actor, and has recently been proving himself one of the most versatile actors of his generation. I love him, even more now, after The Force Awakens. His character is very menacing and works well, except for the first twenty minutes and his introduction because I couldn't really pin point what was his aim, what he was going for, why he actually needs the Four Horsemen is never particularly clear. His motivations are not very clear either. 


The first half hour is slow and I can understand that some people just check out when a movie doesn't get your attention from the first scene. But here, it tries to set up too many characters at once. Plus, there's so many things going on that it becomes a bit exhausting at times, and anyone lacking a half-decent grasp at the mythology so far should probably get bored. It doesn't exactly welcome newcomers. While series' fan will no doubt have many bones to pick with the choices made here. Indeed, several scene structures nod back to Director Bryan Singer's first X-Men. Apocalypse is one of the rare film that gets better and better, scene after scene; more investing. I got more and more involved in the story as the film played on. Each scene was a corner stone for the next one to get even better. 


The opening sequence, set in 3600 BCE in the Nile Valley, looks like nothing so much as unused footage from the recent Exodus: Gods and Kings. It represents certainly a high level of Hollywood craftsmanship from imposing production design in sequences set across multiple continents to costumes designers. It might be the most action-heavy finale of any X-Men film I can think of right now. It could lost focus on the story but it works. Despite the undeniable presence of a huge amount of action Apocalypse is decidedly a case of more is less, especially when compared with the surprising action and interesting personal interactions in others big Marvel franchises. The film makes a point of recalling the Holocaust once too many, that shows particularly bad taste; counterbalanced by one blowminding scene involving Magneto in a forest. 


Overall, trust me, wait and be patient with this film.

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