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Awesome: 8.33%
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3 reviews, 6 user ratings

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X-Men: Apocalypse
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by alejandroariera

"It’s the end of the world as you know it, and I feel bored."
1 stars

What do “Return of the Jedi,” “Spider-Man 3” and “X-Men: The Last Stand” have in common with “X-Men: Apocalypse”? That they are all the disappointing final chapters of trilogies that changed their respective genres and the movie industry. “Return of the Jedi” gave us ewoks and more family melodrama and revelations than your run-of-the-mill Latin American soap opera; “Spider-Man 3” gave us way too many villains, a love affair on the rocks and a douche-bag Peter Parker (granted he was possessed by Venom, but still); and “X-Men: The Last Stand” gave us Brett Ratner. Although, quite honestly, that’s rather unfair considering that the final chapter of the first X-Men trilogy is far more entertaining than “X-Men: Apocalypse.” Director Brian Singer and co-scriptwriter Simon Kingberg (the man responsible for last year’s dreadful “Fantastic Four” remake) may waste no time in poking fun at Ratner’s contributions to the X-Men franchise or even “Return of the Jedi.” But you know what they say about throwing the first stone. Maybe they should have heeded their own snarky asides.

For “X-Men: Apocalypse” is dull, dull, dull. It confuses plot exposition and complication with characterization. It introduces a huge cast of characters and a promising story concept to leave them adrift. It takes itself far too seriously and, worst of all, it rehashes scenes and even entire plotlines from far better chapters in the X-Men saga. The entire second act alone is a rethread of the far superior “X2: X-Men United” but with younger versions of some of the characters involved in that earlier entry. “X2: X-Men United” told its story cleanly, plainly; it had a clear-cut, well defined, very human villain who embodies our worst instincts; actors who felt extremely comfortable playing these characters; and a sense of fun. Yes, fun…not funny, FUN. What you get from watching all three “Captain America” films, “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Ant-Man”…and “X-Men: First Class” the first chapter in this rebooted franchise, directed by Matthew Vaughn. “X-Men: Apocalypse” has none of those qualities.

These new X-Men face a different kind of apocalyptic scenario than the one they faced in “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” The year is 3600 BCE and Earth’s first mutant, En Sabah Nur, is transferring his powers to a new, younger acolyte when he and his followers are buried underground by rebels. The movie then jumps forward to 1983, the height of the Reagan years: cultists have discovered the remains of this first mutant; yet, it’s CIA agent and former Charles Xavier love interest Moira MacTaggart (Rose Byrne…Charles, if you recall, erased her memories of their liaison in “X-Men: First Class”) who accidentally wakes En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac) up. Renaming himself Apocalypse, this is one cranky mutant. And who blames him? Imprisoned for millennia, he gets his first taste of 1980s humanity from TV broadcasts and he doesn’t like what he sees and embarks on a mission to remake the planet in his own image. And for this, he needs four horsemen. He wastes no time in recruiting his first one: a spiky, rebellious, street tramp named Storm (Alexandra Skipp).

So off our blue-skinned, heavily-armored cranky mutant goes in search of his three other horsemen across the globe, all of whom receive the gift of enhanced powers from him: the winged Angel (Ben Hardy); the cosplay dressing Psylocke (Olivia Munn); and, yes, our good old friend Magneto (Michael Fassbender) who, for the last 10 years, has lived happily married under a false identity in Poland and whose cover is blown after saving a co-worker’s life in a steel plant. It doesn’t take long for the old resentful Magneto to (understandably) show his true colors after Polish authorities accidentally kill his wife and daughter trying to apprehend him. And so, after a truly tasteless stop at Auschwitz, Magneto accepts Apocalypse’s offer to join his merry band of havoc-wreaking mutants.

On the other side of the planet, Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is busy welcoming new students Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Scott Summers (Tye Sheridan) and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) to his ivy-league mutant school when Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence who looks and acts bored throughout most of the film) shows up to tell him that Magneto is in trouble. This leads Charles to visit Moira at the headquarters of the CIA which in turns leads him to Apocalypse which in turns leads to Apocalypse kidnapping him and the school blowing up which leads to Colonel Stryker kidnapping Moira, Mystique and some other mutants and taking them to his mountain base where he is developing Weapon X (guess who?) which leads to the aforementioned remake of “X2: X-Men United”. And while we wait for the mutants to escape, we have to put up with Apocalypse’s constant speechifying because at this point in the story he has nothing better to do than talk and rebuild Cairo using as prime material already-existing buildings; it’s almost as if he, too, was waiting for something to happen, for the story to cut to the chase.

And, boy, what an underwhelming final act this mutant mash-up turns out to be. Not only does Singer succumb to the almost pornographic display of warrantless destruction that has become the trademark of blockbuster filmmaking, but he treats Apocalypse’s four horsemen as mere props to throw around. Yes, I know, the film is subtitled Apocalypse. And yet, you feel there is nothing at stake here compared to “Days of Future Past” where you truly felt that both humans and mutants were paying, dearly, the price for someone else’s prejudices and actions. Yes, lots of great special effects, but the action sequences are noisy and devoid of emotion. The fact that there is no real life consequences to this wanton destruction is appalling; at least the most recent “Captain America” film, the two “Avengers” ones and, hell, even “Batman v. Superman” bent over backwards in acknowledging the collateral damage resulting from such catastrophic actions.

Poor Oscar Isaac. The actor has hit one home run after another even in some tepid fare. He is incapable of delivering a false note. Yet, here is hampered by tons of make-up and a wardrobe that limits his expressive abilities (the digitally manipulated voice helps little). Yes, it is a high profile role for him but he is getting far more mileage out of Poe Cameron in the new “Star Wars” trilogy that he will get out of this one. Any movie that misuses such a brilliant actor should be shunned for life.

Maybe it’s time for Brian Singer to leave the X-Men universe, not to say blockbuster filmmaking altogether. He needs to recharge his batteries, tell different kinds of stories. Maybe it’s also time for Marvel Studios to take over this franchise. Or maybe the time has come to leave the X-Men alone. To let them breathe and excite us where they have done it for so long: in the pages of a comic book.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=27543&reviewer=434
originally posted: 05/26/16 10:00:00
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User Comments

8/05/16 chad cowgill Quicksilver is great, I want to see more slo-mo scenes with him. 3 stars
6/24/16 mr.mike Not perfect, but a better ending than BvS or Civil War. 4 stars
6/20/16 KingNeutron Totally underrated, strong performance from Fassbender. See it on bigscreen for the effects 4 stars
6/05/16 Aaron Smith Arguably 2nd best of the X franchise. Great film. 5 stars
5/31/16 JR Good film. Much better than "Captain same ol' thing Civil War". 5 stars
5/31/16 Chris Steaming pile of shee. Is there a worse actress than Munn? 1 stars
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  27-May-2016 (PG-13)
  DVD: 04-Oct-2016


  DVD: 04-Oct-2016

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