Saturday, May 28, 2016

X-Men: Apocalypse Review


Title: X-Men: Apocalypse

Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Bryan Singer
Writer(s): Simon Kinberg (screenplay) and Bryan Singer (story).
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Oscar Isaac, Rose Byrne, Evan Peters, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Lucas Till, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ben Hardy, Alexandra Shipp, and Olivia Munn.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of violence, action and destruction, brief strong language and some suggestive images.  
Running Time: 144 min
Synopsis: With the emergence of the world's first mutant, Apocalypse, the X-Men must unite to defeat his extinction level plan.

What Others Are Saying? 

Rotten Tomatoes: 48% "Fresh", Top Critics: 36% "Fresh", Audience: 74% "Liked It"

Metacritic: Critics: 52 out of 100, Users: 7.2 out of 10
MRQE: 58 out of 100

My Review

Source Material: Characters based on Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's design. The story was inspired by the X-men comics.  

Entertaining Value: 8

  • Action Elements:  The action felt much like a roller coaster ride, but overall it was fairly entertaining.  
  • Comedy Elements: There were some well-placed one-liners. It wasn't as light hearted as most of the films in the MCU.  
  • Dramatic Elements: The "dramatic" moments could have been slightly better. For me, this is where some of the writing falls flat.
  • Sci-Fi / Fantasy Elements: This film explores further down the comic book rabbit hole. With the X-men films, many different superhero abilities are showcased. 
Cinematic Value:
  • Acting and Dialogue: 7: I would like to compare and contrast the old face with the new faces. Frist of all, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender has some of the best acting onscreen. I totally buy into them being younger versions of Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen. The onscreen friendship between Charles and Erik is echoed through all the X-men films. Which says a lot about James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender's acting chops. I really enjoyed Evan Peters as Quicksilver again. His character was one the best characters onscreen, especially his dialogue. The weakest performance out of the old faces was Jennifer Lawrence. I felt like JLaw wasn't feeling her character anymore. Her performance was fairly emotionless and kind of flat. Don't get me wrong, Jennifer Lawrence is a very talented actress and her performance in this film overall was decent, there was just an atmosphere of "not caring." I'm a bit torn on what the actual problem was her acting or how her character was written.
The new faces were a delight. Oscar Isaac is having a killer career right now. He goes from being the best fighter pilot in the galaxy, Poe Dameron, to the most powerful mutant to ever live, Apocalypse. I thought his performance as Apocalypse was spot on. I enjoyed most of the new cast, the two that stood out the most was Tye Sheridan and Kodi Smit-McPhee. Sheridan captured a young Scott Summers nicely, but it was Smit-McPhee's Nightcrawler that captured my attention. The joy I experienced from Quicksilver in Days of Future Past is about equal to the joy I experienced from Nightcrawler in this film. The both of them together created good comic relief.        
  • Cinematography: 7: I know what I'm about to praise belongs more to Production Design or even Costume Design. I really liked the design of each character minus Psylocke. I will give them props for being accurate to the comic book design. I thought it a bit odd that Psylocke doesn't get the same treatment as the other horsemen, cosmetically speaking. The other three horsemen gain bad ass battle armor-esk upgrades, Psylocke gains a leotard. I don't mind seeing Olivia Munn in that outfit, but it felt somewhat out of place, especially during the Auschwitz scene. I know there was a lot of hate going around the internet about Apocalypse costume looking like Ivan Ooze, not the case in the actual film. I also enjoy the set pieces. I really enjoyed the Egypt scene at the beginning. I guess I need more epic films set in Egypt. As far as the cinematography goes, the subject meant for this section of the review, it was adequate. The filmmakers use old school camera tricks to convey Superspeed, which added to the Quicksilver scenes.   
  • Direction: 7: When I look at Bryan Singer's career, I see The Usual Suspects, a cinematic masterpiece to most, X-Men, X2: X-Men United, which was in my top five best comic book movies until the MCU happened. Continuing down the list of movies from Singer's filmography, I can say he's a decent director. I say that even with the few "duds" he directed, which in my opinion are Superman Returns and Jack the Giant Slayer. I was one of the few excited that he returned to the X-Men universe with X-Men: Days of Future Past. Since that movie was hit amongst critic and fans, I went into this film with high expectations. Unfortunately, I left slightly disappointed. I felt his directing chops wasn't on par with this film. Even though this sounds negative, a seven on my scale is good.             
  • Editing: 6.5: There was a lot going on. The were a least three for four different storylines, which meant jumping between them. Some of the jumps were disruptive to what was happening on screen. I'm glad this aspect of the editing started to disappear near the middle of the act two when the storyline began to converge.
  • Screenplay: 6: I think the weakest part of the story was character development. This wasn't a problem across the board. I thought Professor X, Magneto, and Apocalypse's stories and motives were the most fleshed out. On the other hand, I wasn't that interested in Mystique storyline, that may be due to JLaw's performance. Apocalypse horsemen weren't the most fleshed out either. Storm has aspirations to be a strong female hero, Angel / Archangel is down on his luck since his wings are broken, and Psylocke is sexy, I really don't know what is going on with her character. The characters on the X-men side of the fight were better, except for Jubilee. I'm curious to know the reasoning behind why the filmmakers cut the mall scene from the film. That would have driven home, the fact that these are teens.
  • Sound and Music: 7: I really enjoyed the music selection. I'm glad they use Quicksilver as a window into the time period musically.   
  • VFX: 8: The best scenes in the film are the Quicksilver scenes. I liked how they achieved the superspeed in the film. My understanding is it was a camera trick mixed with some visual effects. There were some really good particle effects as well. The Jungle Book sets the bar for the best visual effects of this year. So far, no film has quite hit that mark of quality in visual effects.
Overall: 7: I had a good time at the theater. As of right now, here is where I rank the films in the X-men franchise:

  1. X-Men: Day of Future Pat
  2. X2: X-Men United
  3. X-Men: First Class
  4. Deadpool
  5. X-Men
  6. X-Men: Apocalypse
  7. X-Men: The Last Stand
  8. The Wolverine
  9.  X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Hopefully, that give you a better idea of how much I liked / disliked this film. Overall it wasn't that bad of a film.    

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