X-Men: Apocalypse – Movie Review [NO SPOILERS]
It was 2 weeks till the opening of X-Men Apocalypse and I got a message from Outpost Productions main man that there will be an advance screening of the movie. Would I like to go? You’re darn right I would… and would like the chance to bring my missus too!
This marks the 3 part of the comic to movie ‘VERSUS’ series for 2016. What’s this rambling? I’m talking about the ‘big battle’ movies… the comic book heroes face off on the big screen! It started in March with Batman V Superman! Then April it was Captain America: Civil War time! And May is the ‘Mutant WAR’: X-Men vs Apocalypse and the 4 horse-men.
THE STORY SO FAR – Since the First Class (some what reboot) it’s been a much better X-men ride! Infusing the mutant story in to natural history has always been a big hit… just think of Forrest Gump! (he does fit many ‘superhero’ criteria) hehe
Then there was the bomb that Fox gave us at the end of Wolverine 2… I kinda felt that Fox was finally getting a hang of their mutant franchise. I mean X-Men can be a whole comic universe by itself! The title is still the top 4 selling comic titles in America.
So with this I would like to repeat the distinction between the beloved mutant saga X-MEN and the Fox movies by Bryan-Singer-Xmen aka S-men. Byran Singer was the reluctant director chosen for the year 2000 debut. Then he dropped directing the finale X-Men: The Last Stand to direct Superman Returns (bombed), then return to producing X-Men. He himself is a pretty good director & a pretty good superhero director. X-Men might not be his best movies but my case in point is that he does well with the titles in which he believes in – case & point Superman Returns (2006). I have watched Superman Returns & I thought it was good. Later hunted down the blu-ray and watched all the behind the scenes segments & saw how involved Bryan Singer can get, which is good. Then I watched Man of Steel… and when looking back, this movie made Superman Returns becomes an even better movie. Critics all over world slammed both… but I’d rather listen to passionate + COMpassionate fans. On the down side Bryan Singer is very poor in consistency in the timeline continuum. S-men fans who stayed fans I think have come to terms to with all the unexplained stuff & actor changes for the same character. On the other side of the coin the S-men franchise is one of the earliest Marvel movie successes not to mention first Marvel movie trilogy!
As a casual X-Men fan, I know only a fair amount on the X-Men. Of course it doesn’t help the franchise that the folks making the movies stray away from the comic source. No one is perfect but some how the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is doing a good job & the young uprising DC Extended Universe (DCEU) is doing fair. Most critics will say that the X-Factor (pun intended) for comic book movies is always respect-the-source-material!
After catching the 3 trailers… i felt that the make or break X-Factor (pun still intended) for this movie would be… how they defeat Apocalypse (& his 4 horsemen). This would be the deciding factor if the movie was good or not. Next, it would just be a matter of HOW good it is – decent / good / great / amazing / unbelievable.
First of all I would like to thank Outpost Productions for the invite. I actually owe it to FOX (20th Century Fox) but then again with the countless staff changes & the insignificants of my existence through the past 10 years… I think it doesn’t matter right? Haha OK, so let’s cut to the review.
CAST – First Class was a great story & become great avenue for the producers to amend the mistakes of the past. The franchise got an update (younger) & upgrade (budding talent) in its cast… & with youth, there is more ground to grow or extend the universe beyong 3-and-done format. To quote the man of the year (mutant), Deadpool… “Steward or McAvoy?”. Haha to add a Marvel flavour of the year to this, I’d phrase it as Team Steward or Team McAvoy haha
James McAvoy was already established in 2011 but from then till now just take a look at the carriers of Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence & Nicholas Hoult! Michael Fassbender proved from the start that he is an equal foe & force to James McAvoy’s Charles Xavier as both rivals and best friends. To date, Jennifer Lawrence has 1 Oscar & 3 Golden Globes to her name, nuff said. My close buddy said he felt that Nicholas Hoult stole the show with his role in Mad Max: Fury Road! I quite agreed with him!
As you all may know this movie reintroduces Cyclops, Storm, Jean Grey, Night Crawler, Jubilee, Angel and debuts Psylocke, Caliban, and Apocalypse. The ‘new mutants’ (pun intended) look great in the sense of their overall youthfulness. This movie has a “how they first met” kind of story arc, something even that iconic series like Star Trek (TOS the original series) never even touched till the series got a movie reboot in 2009, 43 years later! So I think this “how they first met” arc is always a fun & popular aspect to work on.
On the down side I still don’t like how Apocalypse looks like… or should I say FOX-pocalyspe. Fox has a way of making the favourite Marvel villains look weird. Remember the recent Doctor Doom? Or should I say FOXtor Doom? ‘Eeeyeeerr’ is the appropriate Malaysian expression for this. A pop culture organiser event told me, it’s hard to excite fans with character appearance because the movie doesn’t have iconic uniforms that when u see it, you know it’s this character.” Compared to the MCU, u see a guy in blue + red costume & a white star… you’re already saying Captain America. All they have are these black suits haha Point taken!
I did feel also that in the cast of characers, Olivia Mun may have looked the eldest among the youthful cast. I’m not sure what they want to do with her character Psylocke but I hope to see her again because Psylocke is a fan favourite charcter! The lesson learnt from the S-men franchise – “cast younger actors for better continuity”. Look at the MCU choice of Tom Holland as Spidey! I’m hoping its not another Famke Jansson – Jean Grey mistake.
All in all this cast looks good to continue to take the franchise into the ‘NEW’ future installations of the mutant saga!
STORY – The movie picks up right from X-Men: Days of Future Past which means its set in the 80s! There’s a lot of effort making it look right & as child of the 80s too, I really enjoyed all the pop-culture branding of the era! Now the first fact I noticed was Batman V Superman (BvS) ran 2 hours 33 minutes, Captain America ran 2 hours 26 minutes and now X-men: Apocalypse runs 1 hour 57 minutes. As I mentioned earlier my personal X-Factor for this movie is how they are going to defeat not only Apocalypse but also his four horsemen. Now looking at the running time, gosh! How are they going to do all this + reintroduce Cyclops, Storm, Jean Grey, Night Crawler, Jubilee, Angel and introduce Psylocke, Caliban, and En Sabah Nur. It seems that FOX really wants to push the envelope & put it to the test. In the end, I felt that they did well in balancing it all out. There’s a bit of show, a bit of tell, a bit of ‘fans should know from watching the S-men’ and bit of ‘fans should know from the comics’. The actors needed to go a great job to sell the parts because screen time is very limited. On this first watch of the movie, all the acting was decent & it managed to rally the audience till the final battle.
There is so much CG in this movie that I as time passed I wish they would use some on Poe Dameron… oh I mean En Sabah Nur to make him look more menacing.
OMG LOVE THE CAMEOS & EASTER EGGS! Look out for locations, listen out for names, look out for comic references and the BEST cameo will be one you CANNOT miss… and everyone will enjoy!
SOUNDTRACK – in my Days of Future Past review I said that John Ottman MAKES the X-Men complete with his sound track. John Ottman’s score is the X-Men sound track. It has become a staple & being consisted that the music tone, mood & feel keeps it right. This is one of my top comments against the Iron Man 1 – 3. Each had a different composer. The first movie is so memorable because of all the right music, tone & feels… (*salute Mr. Ramin Djawadi) which I think the 2nd lacked. The 3rd had to revert back to the first… a sort of sign they learnt from the mistake perhaps?
CONCLUSION – Some of my favourite moments was that they had Storm in a Mohawk. She looked bad a$$ back then in the comics at that year & date and she still looking intrend with that do!! I also like seeing Angel as Archangel! Angel’s transformation to Archangel was what first drew me to read some of the En Sabah Nur stories in the comics. I also felt Tye Sheridan (nor James Marsden) still didn’t have the long face & flat jaw iconic to pull off Cyclops but that’s just me nit picking haha. Quicksilver is quicksilver! huhu
In my opinion, this is a movie accessible to anyone who has been following the First Class & Future Past. I think if the hardcore fans would over look the canon stuff & continue to forgive Bryan Singer (& his S-Men)… they would really enjoy this movie of GODLY proportions . I am thankful & happy that there is a new X-Men movie out… it’s doing well and the fans, cosplayers, cinema owners, movie producers, comic writers etc all have something to be excited about. The overall youth in the cast will suggest there’s more to come in the mutant saga. Don’t forget that Marvel studios recently successfully negotiated for Spider-man (from Sony Pictures) to join in the MCU… then Marvel is teaming up with FOX to produce two mutant TV series, Hellfire and Legion. So who knows what ‘NEW’ turn of events will surround the mutant saga in the coming years!
So friends & fans be optimistic, be thankful and by all means be filled with excitement as X-Men: Apocalypse opens in Malaysia in a matter of days! Some critics are already calling this movie the best comic book movie of 2016… personally I would go that far hehehe (Captain America: Civil War still tops my list, followed by X-Men: En Sabah Nur and then BvS in which their universe is only 2 movies old… still young). Pop-culture & comic fans still have plenty to be excited about!
IT’S NOT OVER TILL IT’S OVER! That last 2 minutes of the movie – BOO YEAH!!
POST-CREDITS SCENE – Only one extra scene in the end but it’s a MAJOR one! You all have to stay back thru all the credits in order to get to it. If u weren’t already blown away by the cameos, then this will be the cherry on the sundae! Hope you enjoy is MUTANT chapter! I heard they already announced the next movie! #NEWmutants #XMenNewMutants
THE VERDICT: a solid 9.0 /10
X-Men: Apocalypse opens in Malaysian cinemas nationwide 19 May 2016.
#XMEN #XMENapocalypse #Apocalypse #OutpostProductions
#Marvel #MarvelComics #Mutants #MutantSaga