|When not doing things simple goes horribly wrong|
Classic moments from films stay burned into our heads for a lifetime. For me, it's the first T-Rex attack in Jurassic Park, the "show me the money!" scene in Jerry Maguire, or when Neo realizes (or knows) that he's the one in The Matrix. There are plenty more, but this review isn't about that. It's about so-so and/or bad films that have great moments. Scenes that are so good, that they make you wonder why the film itself couldn't stand up with said scene, or even trick you into thinking that the film was better than it actually was.
Examples: Samuel L. Jackson's rousing speech that turns tragically wrong in Deep Blue Sea, the brilliant WTF?! ending of Pandorum, or even the entire Jabba sequence and Luke versus Vader battle juxtaposed against the majority of Return of the Jedi. Sometimes only parts of a film can be great, however that will always keep them from being classics.
You guessed it. This week's "should have been better", lands on the shoulders of X-Men: Apocalypse. Overall it's not a bad movie and there are some really good moments, yet the damage has been irreparably done. If we just wanted to see some cool ideas, then we would watch a YouTube fan film, and not spend eleven plus dollars on a film that costs more to make than the entire economies of some small countries.
What sucks about this film is that it should have been told in two parts, and not as an overlong recruitment video for the villain. A villain by the way, who's face looks like a blue donkey in close up shots, and that never delves into the potential that he rambles on about for the entire time, even during battles. Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina) is a very good actor, but this was just poor writing and makeup to be sure.
The formula is simple; Take his appearance from the comic and go from there. Instead of watching the movie, I'm staring at his cross-eyed, bleached teeth, donkey face, and wondering how did they screw this up? He's not even the right freaking size! Hold on. I just had a Spider-Man 3 Venom flashback. The X-Men's greatest foe should have been treated better. There are however, plenty of bright points when this film decides to eventually show them. In case you were unaware, this is a post Days of Future Past film that is a First Class sequel. The trend these days is timeline resetting and this film takes no exception. There's also a few other things that rub me the wrong way.
The "rub", is that with all of these characters within this huge story to cover, no one really gets any time to grow. They're just here to go along for the ride. And also, only a few actors stand at the forefront like as if it were another new Star Trek film. Pretty much James McAvoy (Wanted), Michael Fassbender (Prometheus), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone), and Isaac, get the meat of the film's dialogue.
The treatment that most of the smaller roles gets, is eerily similar to that Last Stand film that still leaves a bad taste in my mouth, even after a decade. Hell, some just seem to be poorly cast. Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones) does not remind me of a young Jean Grey, and neither does Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In) as Nightcrawler. Hands down though, is the return of Rose Byrne's (Neighbors) character from First Class. She is largely in this as a pointless observer that could have added more to the story if she were not involved. With each film, McAvoy slinks deeper into his role as Professor Xavier, while Lawrence pulls farther apart from hers as Mystique. I don't know why the studio feels the need to turn her into a reluctant hero like Wolverine, but it's not working. Stop it! Until the bloated ass final battle (see below), Fassbender is still the most captivating as Magneto. His scenes are so good, that they make you wish for a better film. But at least Quicksilver (Evan Peters, American Horror Story) was cool! (see below...again)
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, of X-Men: Apocalypse
The Good- Quicksilver! His rescue scene at the Xavier school, is by far one of the coolest things I have ever seen. It's perfect, bad ass, and hilarious. Also, Wolverine's (Hugh Jackman, Real Steel) cameo is a bloody throwback to the comics.
The Bad- The final battle took up the last third of the film, and it's basic at best. Apocalypse's powers are awesome at times, yet I don't need to see a rehash of the Gort destruction scene from The Day the Earth Stood Still remake again. The dialogue is iffy, especially when it only takes a couple of sentences to convince someone that they're being bad. Aside from Quicksilver's butt-kicking speed and Psylocke (Olivia Munn, Mortdecai) splitting a car in half while mid-air, there's nothing to see here. Except maybe the back of your eyelids.
The Ugly- With a one hundred and eighty million dollar plus budget, you'd think that they could hire someone who can see the difference between bad makeup and goofier than shit makeup. Apocalypse, Nightcrawler, Beast, and Mystique; They all look like nerdy freak rejects from a Blue Man Group audition.
X-Men: Apocalypse is worth seeing for the Quicksilver and Wolverine scenes alone. Those moments are great and stand out among the best of the X-Men franchise. With the rest of the movie, you're taking a risk at being simultaneously underwhelmed and entertained for the most part. But that's a good balance, right? Stay after the end credits for a (not worth waiting through ten minutes of names and titles) cryptic scene that looks like Sony Pictures came up with it. God, if they make Mr. Sinister look like a transvestite emo clown in the next film, I'm out!
Rating- 6 out of 10
X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
PG-13 | 2h 24min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi | 27 May 2016 (USA)
With the emergence of the world's first mutant, Apocalypse, the X-Men must unite to defeat his extinction level plan.
Director: Bryan Singer
Writers: Simon Kinberg (screenplay), Bryan Singer (story)
Stars: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence