Saturday, May 21, 2016

apocalypse not

Bryan Singer returns with “X-Men: Apocalypse,” and to say the least, it is good. I watched it on premier night, and now I could finally sum up the experience with this: I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed Zack Snyder’s “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Yeah, give me the boos. The thing is, after the superb “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” this latest installment of mutant mayhem has unfortunately not sustained the momentum. We are in the 80’s, and we have Apocalypse as the main antagonist, and yet they do not feel weighty, insane and engaging enough. Hello! That’s Apocalypse we are talking about, one of the craziest foes in the Marvelverse! And yet his character falls flat and boring in this film. He even looks small next to Olivia Munn’s Psylocke (who was a perfect but another under-used choice, honestly). Oscar Isaac was a waste of talent. And on the opposite side of waste is the overexposure of Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique. It is hard to dim the limelight for an A-list actress like J-Law, especially in a big blockbuster ensemble movie, but her presence and protest rally-like speeches in the story seems forced. She makes me wish for the darker, unpredictable Mystique of Rebecca Romijn instead. What truly stand out in this film are the younger mutants. The normally bland Cyclops is played by Tye Sheridan with so much attitude. Sophie Turner of “Game of Thrones” fame is surprisingly fit for Jean Grey. Evan Peters’ Quicksilver and Kodi Smit-McPhee’s Nightcrawler provide the humor in the right places (but let’s just forget the latter’s hair please). And we finally see Storm, played by Alexandra Shipp, who showcases her powers that closely resemble their portrayal in the comics and animated series. After assessing the previous X-Men films up to the recent one, I realize what makes this “X-Men: Apocalypse” not apocalyptic enough. Its plot is almost the same as those that come before it. Here’s an egocentric baddie, here’s a united team. Familiar, right? It’s because we have seen it all before. P.S. I also expected a lot of fireworks from Lana Condor’s Jubilee, but, oh well.

[ photo borrowed from this site ]

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