Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Age of Apocalypse review

After the teaser at the end of X-Men: Days of Future Past with a nod to Apocalypse, I had some general interest in this movie. Then the pics and trailers started coming. I lost hope really quickly. After this weekend my thoughts were validated.

Age of Apocalypse……..
Quick aside. As a long time reader of the X-Men I have a lot of issues with these movies. The reach from glaring to nit-pickish. However, if you want a good Apocalypse story, then read The Age of Apocalypse from 1995. That X-Men arc was really fun and gives a look at to what Apocalypse would have done if he ran unchecked. What occurs in this film is neither Apocalypse or anything resembling an age of him.

Back to the film review.

The movie opens with a trip back too ancient Egypt. We are treated to an old Apocalypse (and his four horsemen) being taken into a pyramid for a body swap. See this version has the big blue guy swapping bodies with other mutants for their power and to gain longevity. Then an action sequence, that is pretty damn fun, breaks out when some anti-Apoc dudes try to stop this.
Jump ahead to 1983. The world is remembering the 1973 X-men movie events. The Xavier School for the Gifted is open. Mystique is recruiting mutants for no known reason. Magneto is in hiding. He is playing human with a wife, daughter and job in a steel mill. Can we all guess what will happen to his family right when they introduce them? Yes we can. Anyway the world is doing ok. Then a group of loons decide to reawaken Apocalypse after all this time. Why? Why not is the answer.
Now the world has changed and Apocalypse does not like where it has gone. He decides to wipe the slate clean. He goes on a recruitment drive as well grabbing Psylocke, Storm, Angel and Magneto. He gathers his four horsemen. He then removes all the world’s nuclear weapons, but not like Superman 4, and wants Magneto to ruin the world. I say ruin because Apocalypse wants to have a workable planet to rule. He has Magneto pull all the metal out of the planet and have it fly around in the air. That is how he is going to force the world to change.
Along the way to this, the X-mansion explodes, we get a return to the Weapon X facility, a gratuitous Wolverine cameo, the forming of the X-men (again), too many speeches,  too may meet cutes, no response from the global community as the world is looking to be pulled apart magnetically, a lot of drab back grounds, too much shit flying around in the air, a final mutant showdown that was woefully underwhelming and the big confrontation with Apocalypse and the X-Men.
Damn it.
Just damn it.
Age of Apocalypse is not awful, but it is not good either.

Get ready for a lot of shit flying around in the background!
A list of issues………………..
This is set in1983, however it never feels like it. I guess that is you throw a Mrs. Pac-Man machine, a can of Tab, a Duran Duran poster, reference Return of the Jedi (more on that later), a Thriller jacket, a Romancing the Stone poster and few others bits of nostalgia: then it makes it an 80’s movie. Right? Nope it just makes a poor and lazy attempt at setting the time period with bits of nostalgia.
The world is being torn apart and the world community has no reaction?
Too many underdeveloped characters.
Too many character decisions that make no sense. Why do Angel, Psylocke and Storm join Apocalypse? He gave them more power so they had too? They wanted to start wholesale killing people? They were bored? Storm wanted white hair? Angel wanted some bad facial tattoo? Psylocke needed a psychic whip?
Why does Magneto join Apocalypse? Well I guess because he gave him the power over metal in the ground? I have no idea. We go back to Auschwitz and Magneto gets all emotional. Then he gets the power of Earth? That makes him join the three other horsemen? What?
The new X-Men (Jean Grey, Cyclops, Nightcrawler) barley react to the events unfolding around them. They are so nonchalant about everything going on around them. No reaction to a crazed guy murderizing guards in Canada. No reaction to a blue guy destroying the world. No reason to be concerned about three guys trying to kill them. No big deal to fly to Egypt to face the end of the world. It was like they have done this hundreds of times. I guess panicking or the sheer terror of the events unfolding is fine if you get a rousing Mystique speech.
Another damn bit of Mystique leading the X-Men and giving another rousing speech. Why? I need more Katniss speeches in my X-Men for what reason? When did she become the X-Men leader?
Why doesn’t Professor X ever lead his team? That is what he does, and yet he has done anything but that in these films.
We had to have Magneto have a family so we could watch them die and make him a bad guy again. Really? Did anyone not see that his wife and kid were going to buy it as soon as they were introduced? Oops spoiler… it isn’t!
A needless return to the Weapon X facility and William Stryker.
We bring back the not Scottish scientist and C.I.A. operative Moira McTaggert. Why? Well for a pointless meet cute and worthless bit late in the film.
The Beast make-up was even worse than the previous film. It  looked like a blue face, a messy blue pompadour and a blue Abe Lincoln beard thrown on a face more than anything else. How can we not get a decent Beast in this day and age. Seriously!?
Can the X-team get some damn uniforms that aren’t just black leather?
The Magneto/ Xavier bro-mance is over. It was the best part of First Class, but after Days of Future Past and this movie, I think it is a bit too over-used.
WOW! Metallica’s Four Horsemen playing in the background! Man that was clever! Pfffffffffffffft!
Nightcrawler in a cage match. Ummm…why not just teleport away? Why does an electrified cage nullify his teleportation ability? Just stupid.
How does Nightcrawler walk around the local mall without people losing their damn mind?
What was the plan of Apocalypse again? First it was destroy man’s weapons of war. There was a bit about false gods and idols too. Then destroy man’s world, and then it was body swap with Professor X to mind control man/mutant-kind? However, he also wanted to have only the fittest and strongest survive, but I am sketchy on how he was going to pull that off. I guess by pulling all the metal out of the Earth and having it fly around Egypt?
Apocalypse seemed pretty weak for a guy full of mutant powers. He was so easily turning people into walls, floors, lopping off head or turning people to dust. Yet, when it comes time to throw down with the good guys he does nothing like that. He makes a shield around himself. Really? That is all he has at the end? Our big showdown is moce some crap and then a shield? WOW! What a waste of a big bad with a laundry list of abilities.
We get the Quicksilver/Magneto daddy issue bit that is introduced again and this time there is a moment for closure and then…….that moment is passed over. Why bring it up again and still do nothing with it? Tell him or get over the daddy issues already Quicksilver.
Hey they dropped an F-bomb again. Once again it became a comedic moment. This time it was at a tension building scene and then boom! F-bomb! It suddenly becomes hilarious and ruins what tension there was in the scene. I guess the crowds can’t get enough of X-Men characters swearing. Time and place for swears in movies. However, this franchise now shoehorns in their one PG-13 use of FUCK, to get the crowd to belly laugh. Totally the wrong moment to use it this time.
Minor nit-picks……………..
Can we get metal power usage without touching our temple without two fingers and thumb?
It took three films to get Xavier bald and in a suit?!
Did we really get a dig at Return of the Jedi? A third movie is the worst shtick. Even worse if that was a dig at X-Men 3: The Last Stand. Then they are trying for some meta joke that was as bad as the movie they are mocking.
Why did Apocalypse have normal eyes until he used his powers? Was it an actor choice? Did they want him to be able to emote? Emote what? The guy doesn’t have feelings. Even if they wanted emotion from Oscar Isaac it would have been impossible with all the prosthetics on his face. His eyes really bugged the shit out of me. All this make-up to make him look like the Apocalypse they wanted and then normal eyes? I found it incredibly distracting. That and his eyelashes. Why does Apocalypse have normal eyes and long lashes?
Having Jubilee and not using her was equally annoying and great. Why have her? Use her or dump her. Seriously! Shooting colorful sparky firecrackers and chewing bubble gum while wearing a yellow coat, does not make a cool X-man. This is a real push here as I hated her character in the books and that they just kept cramming her into stories back in the day. Yet, they didn’t have her doing X-men stuff and being annoying there.
At least they didn't shoehorn her in to the action as well.
Another Quicksilver slow/fast motion sequence. It was fun the first time, a second time. Meh!
Was there anything of note that I really enjoyed here? Well Olivia Munn looked perfect as Psylocke. The fight sequence at the beginning was good fun. Besides that?

They took a bad guy I kind of like, but has a insanely befuddled background and list of powers, to use as a one off throw away world conquering villain. They take a franchise that actually has time of fun, light and heart in the comics and makes another overly serious, soulless and lacking of fun movie. I just am tired of the Singer-verse X-Men. Let someone else make these. Wait they tried that with X-Men 3 and that was even worse than this movie.
The best X-Man I have seen in years was Colossus in Deadpool. That looked and felt more X-Man than anything in 10-15 years. That was tiny role and still better than the last three X-Men movies combined.
I guess if you liked the last two of these films, then you’ll like this one too.
As a long time X-Men fan it is just as bad as the previous. At least there was no Kevin Bacon in this one.
Personally let this go to the Marvel studio so we can start getting quality X-Men movies. You know where the series will flourish like the rest of the Marvel titles they have there.

Just kill her already!
It will help the franchise!

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