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‘Apocalypse’ a Boring Waste of Talent

X-Men_-_ApocalypseThe year of the disappointing superhero film continues.


“X-Men: Apocalypse” is the ninth installment of the X-Men series and the sequel to 2014’s “Days of Future Past,” a movie that I loved and is universally accepted as one of, if not the, best of the franchise. James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence all reprise their roles from the previous two films and Bryan Singer once again directs. This time around, the X-Men must stop Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), the first-ever mutant who awakens from a 5,000 year sleep and wants to destroy the world (because, cliché).


Like I said up top, 2016 has been a relatively disappointing year for superhero films. “Deadpool” is a good movie but both “Batman v Superman” and “Civil War” failed to live up to their promised epic showdowns. Add “Apocalypse” to the list of letdowns, as instead of being an emotional layered picture with interesting characters and engaging plots like the previous X-Men films, it chooses to succumb to CGI destruction porn and a cookie cutter villain.


I love Oscar Isaac. Not to be “that guy” but I’ve liked him for a while, before he was finally thrust into the mainstream last December for starring in “The Force Awakens.” So having him cast as the bad guy in a superhero film should have been a homerun; but it turns out to be a massive swing and a miss. First off, Isaac is buried under a coat of makeup; he is legit unrecognizable and looks like a big blue crayon. Second, his motivations and plan are standard: he wants to destroy the world because he feels humans have ruined it. Yawn. Third, he has three voices: whisper, yelling and autotune. No joke, whenever he starts to yell, his voice sounds like a Britney Spears album. What a waste.


There is a market for mindless destruction films; Michael Bay has made a career off of it. But Bryan Singer is no Michael Bay, and that is a sentence I bet no one ever thought would be typed. Singer’s strengths have always been with his actors and the small, nuanced moments, not the big CGI action sequences. Michael Fassbender again steals the show as Magneto, and has several scenes that really showcase the pain and inner-conflict his character has. But by the end of the film everything is blowing up and the human death count is likely in the millions. If you thought Zach Snyder and “Man of Steel” killed too many civilians then you may want to skip this finale (or this whole movie, if you value your time).


The first act of this movie may be the most boring 60 minutes put on film this year. I am not exaggerating, I rarely check my time in movies but I glanced at the time three times in the first hour. Literally nothing happens: pretentious (and clearly bored and done with this franchise) Jennifer Lawrence is doing her boring search for mutants while standard evil bad guy (who clearly signed onto this before he was approached for Star Wars) is doing his boring search for mutants.


“X-Men: Apocalypse” is a very boring film that can’t even succeed on a mindless action entertainment level. The characters are cliché, boring or just plain wasted (sometimes a combination of the three) and the story is by-the-numbers. I wish the real world apocalypse had taken place while I was in the theater so I would have been put out of my viewing misery; the heavenly hellfire has to be less painful than this.


This isn’t bad in comparison to the fantastic “Days of Future Past;” it is just bad.

Critics Rating: 3/10



‘Days of Future Past’ Best X-Men Yet

X-Men_Days_of_Future_Past_posterThere was a time when the X-Men franchise was the best in the business. The first film, released in 2000, really was the first big-budget comic book-based film. The sequel, which brilliantly titled “X-Men 2”, was considered better than the first. Then writer/director Bryan Singer left and “X-Men: The Last Stand” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” were released, both being met with mixed reviews, and even some hate from fans. Hope seemed lost. Then a very successful prequel, “X-Men: First Class” came out, and that brings us to today.

In “X-Men: Days of Future Past”, the X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants. Bryan Singer returns to the director’s chair, and Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen return as Professor X and Magneto, respectively, among other stars of the original trilogy. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender portray the younger versions of Professor X and Magneto, and Hugh Jackman once again plays Wolverine.

I’ve never been the biggest X-Men fan. I love superhero movies (“Spider-Man 2” and “Iron Man” are among my favorite all-time films), but for whatever reason I have never fallen in love with the X-Men. So I am surprised that I loved “Days of Future Past” as much as I did.

Hugh Jackman is great in most every film he does, so it is no surprise that he once again kills it as Wolverine. He carries the film for the first half, as he is tasked with convincing a depressed Professor X (McAvoy) to help him save the future. He has his sarcastic moments along with his badass ones, but he also has a few scenes of pure emotion, which is rare for such a normally stoic character.

My personal favorite character of the film is Quicksilver, played by Evan Peters. Some people, myself included, were worried when they saw the character design (a punk teen), especially compared to the one that will be featured in the Avengers sequel (yeah, there will be a different Quicksilver in a different movie played by a different actor, it’s confusing). But Singer handles him well, inserting just enough humor into the character so he doesn’t come off as corny, and Peters in fact adds an extra sense of fun to the film.

For the most part, the special effects are top notch, and the action sequences are very well shot. Whether it is mutants fighting robots or mutants fighting mutants, the action is clear and crisp, and doesn’t fall victim to the PG-13 rating. There was one instance, however, where I was actually in shock that the sequence made the final cut. The CGI looked so obviously fake that I actually chuckled; luckily that is just one 10 second segment of the film.

There isn’t much that “Days of Future Past” does wrong. As with most summer blockbusters, it may drag a little towards the middle and of course the time-travel aspect has some holes when you really think about it, but these are minor flaws that do not hold the movie down too much.

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” benefits from the return of the old cast and especially the presence of Singer in the director’s chair. Even someone who does not know much about the X-Men (like me) will be entertained, and the movie explains any and all necessary plot points from previous films. “Days of Future Past” is immensely entertaining and at times emotional and thought-provoking, and it is some of the most fun I’ve had at the movies all year.

Critics Rating: 8/10