My problems with X-Men: Apocalypse

Before we get started ****SPOILERS HEAD****

A few friends went to see X-Men: Apocalypse this week which prompted me to post this. I don’t know if you’ll agree with all (or any) of my views but this is what I interpreted from what I have called, out of the initial trilogy and prequel trilogy, the fifth worst X-Men film.

The word apocalypse conjures up thoughts of wide-spread death, chaos, panic and devastating destruction. It is something to be feared, something to dread. This is pretty much the exact opposite feeling I had whilst watching X-Men: Apocalypse. For something with such a ballsy title, I really thought more would happen and I thought it would feel like a real threat to human life especially when it comes to the primary antagonist.

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An apocalyptic event which feels lacking in its apocalyptic ways means the villain himself suffers. When you have a bad guy whose primary purpose is world destruction, you’d expect a little more. You’d expect a lot more. The way he’s depicted in the trailers would make you think he’d be more threatening and so more powerful. He has his four horsemen and proceeds to give them all an “upgrade” on their existing powers however it’s very minor when you really look at it. For example, in both First Class and Days of Future Past, Fassbender’s Magneto moves a satellite and lifts a stadium with the greatest of ease. So for him to lift bridges,  destroy buildings and decimate landmarks, it shouldn’t be that hard. But Apocalypse tries his hardest to make you believe that he’s given him the powers of a God. No he hasn’t. He really hasn’t done that for Magneto or ANY of the others. Their powers are a tiny upgrades of what they had before, that’s it. Frankly, it was pretty disappointing. Just to quote something from one of the trailers: Beast: It’s all of us against a god and the most powerful beings on earth. No it’s not. It’s all of you mutants against a few other mutants. This is nothing new. This battle is no greater than any others you’ve faced.

Speaking of unthinkable power, what did he do with the nuclear weapons? Was his point to get rid of them? I can see how removing the most powerful weapon on Earth can be symbolic to Apocalypse proving he doesn’t need man made things to be all conquering, but wouldn’t you just launch these at your targets? Would this not be a good way to get rid of all the humans? Cleanse the earth as you say. No? Well, you should have, it would have made things easier for you.

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Magneto’s character has moved on the most. He has a family and a job. He became the thing that he despised, human. However bringing him back in to the mix was all too simple. What do they do? They ruin his job and kill his family. Then very quickly after Apocalypse and his posse appear, Magneto asks a brief question (the hilariously delivered “Who the fuck are you?”)  and he’s a bad guy. It’s an easy in for Magneto and it’s yet another reason he’s got to hate humans. Yet another reason and opportunity for James McAvoy to tell his friend Eric that he’s wrong and there’s good in the humans. Boring.

I hate to say it and I will get a lot of stick for this but, McAvoy wasn’t great. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good actor, but only when he’s got something to sink his teeth into. With the previous film, he was distraught, almost alone and a complete mess when we meet him. This is something he really excelled at, he was more believable. In this, all he did was try to, once again, convince Magneto that he has good within him (as well as those humans!), he sees hope and not to tar everyone with the same brush. It’s an argument we’ve seen being done before in previous X-Men films, in much better ways, it was even performed better by the actors in question in First Class and Days of Future Past.

Just a quick one on the ending. Why is Mystique training the X-Men at the end? She is on Magneto’s side. We know this from the first trilogy and yes they are linked, this is part of the same universe. They should be together in their fight against the humans, as they were through the original trilogy.

And don’t get me started on this image:

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Strengths:

Quicksilver’s slow-motion sequence was brilliantly done. Arguably better than what we saw in Days of Future Past. There are those who have taken offence that it was light-hearted despite the fact that people are being rescued, there is an explosion and that Havoc comes to his unfortunate end. That’s the wrong view entirely! It’s supposed to be fun. That’s the type of character he is a lot of the time and frankly we need something this good in the film.

The Phoenix. All I will say is that this iconic character is done considerably better than in X-Men: The Last Stand.

Michael Fassbender’s performance is something that you can always count on. Always. He conveys anger, pain and fear all in his eyes. When he speaks during the scene where he declares himself Magneto at his former workplace, he shows us an intensity that no one can match. Truly one of the greatest actors ever, it’s worth watching just for him.

Overall I’d say that this is a three star film at best, I think the critics have been fair with what they’ve pointed out. I went with a few friends who loved it and fair enough Bryan Singer is a talented director, there’s no questioning that, however maybe this time his ambitions got the better of him.

Keep. It. Reel.

London Film Festival: Steve Jobs, review

Every now and then, we see two movies that are being made at roughly the same time which are about virtually the same subject matter. Looking at movies such as Armageddon with Deep Impact, White House Down with Olympus has fallen, one pair was about a mankind killing asteroid and the other is where the White House is under siege. It’s happening again right now with the two in-production Jungle Book adaptations . There seems to be a need to tell the same story twice.

Jobs (2013) and Steve Jobs (2015) are both about the founding member of Apple, both tell the story in their own unique ways. Why two movies were being made is anyone’s guess. The former starred Ashton Kutcher and the latter stars Michael Fassbender as the man himself, it’s directed by Danny Boyle and written by Aaron Sorkin. On paper, putting these three together should equal in a cinematic masterpiece, and it pretty much has.

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Steve Jobs tells the story from the release of the first Macintosh all the way up to the launch of the iMac, the computer which brought Apple back from the brink of bankruptcy. While some may think this is yet another feature length advert for Apple, it doesn’t come off as that at all. What this film does is show you all sides of Steve Jobs ranging from colleague, father, inventor, showman, all portrayed effortlessly by Fassbender. The film is cut into three acts, all taking place at a product launch, be that with Apple or the company he founded after being forced out, NeXT. From 1984 to 1998, we see his relationships change, grow, evolve and dissolve. These launches were the first Macintosh, then his next venture NeXt (perfect black cube) and then his return to Apple where he sends the iMac out into the world.

Danny Boyle is someone you can ordinarily rely on to put some grit into his film, something that’s normally hard to watch however it’s not like that at all. It doesn’t feel like a Boyle film at all but that’s not a bad thing. He’s never had a script like this before, one which is so dialogue heavy that through speech is where you see the tension, drama and action. With Boyle’s films, these are usually done with stunning visual aids but what we get here are people walking and talking, quite a bit, yet it works. Boyle has directed one of his finest films yet due to its simplicity of mostly taking place backstage with a handful of people. The complexity of his movie is in just how simple these scenes are.

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A sharp Sorkin script ensures that this is full of witty memorable lines, long conversations and brilliant put-downs. In a scene with Seth Rogen’s Steve Wozniak, Jobs is asked what it is he does. “Musicians play their instruments. I play the orchestra.” Just one example of how highly regarded Steve Jobs is to Steve Jobs. Sorkin has created dialogue that is inviting to listen to and fascinating to see performed. This isn’t the first time he has tackled a tech genius. The Social Network was yet another example of his work that was well received thanks to his snappy lines. The thought of a film about Facebook and then another about a man who started a computer company don’t sound like they would be the most riveting views but Sorkin can create a script that actors will love to work with and speeches audiences will enjoy.

This is a fast-talking, dialogue driven film that only slightly dumbs down the technical computer lingo in order to have several sharp scenes in which they can discuss these issues in length without the audience furrowing their brows, wondering what’s going on. The movie cleverly bounces from the product launches to key moments in his life using flashbacks such as working in his garage, his sacking from Apple and asking John Sculley (Jeff Daniels) to be CEO of Apple. Steve Jobs was a man who pushed forward in tech world with his ideas and foresight but this is not a celebration of a man, this is showing a man at his best and his worst, seeing what he’s like with key people in his life. If you thought you knew Steve Jobs, think again.

Keep. It. Reel.

New poster for Prometheus.

The new poster for Prometheus, the brand new film from Ridley Scott coming back to the sci fi and alien genre. The return of the original director of Alien has caused quite a stir with sci fi film fans with it’s different social media approach to promote the film. Recently Channel 4 showed an extended version of the trailer with Twitter being the main focus by including a hashtag for viewers to interact with others Joe find out what others thought of what they just saw. This will be a great event, but whether the film will be great or crash and burn remains to be seen.

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