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.

Zombie lovin’

Vampires are cool. Vampires are popular. Vampires are hip. Vampires are sexy. I do think we have had enough of these neck-loving fiends. From recent shows such as Vampire Diaries and True Blood to the relatively current Twilight series, there’s a lot of vamps and blood to go around. When it comes to the Twilight films, despite having a supposedly sexy cast, these were a critical flop but a box office smash due to teen girls (and boys) going to watch the pale and pasty Robert Pattinson. It goes to show no matter how attractive or popular your cast and books may be, this can’t guarantee a film or TV show will be remembered for the right reasons. There is something about the slick, smooth and sexy ways to the vampire genre (can you call it a genre??) that feels forced and lazy. No real effort into the “what if this really happened”.

Scariest Monster Zombie

This is not the case when it comes to zombies. I must admit that they do all have the post-apocalyptic feel to them but so they should. The world is no longer what we once knew it was, people have changed, places are abandoned and flesh is being eaten. However, they do deal with problems that come with being on the road with people you don’t know, sticking by your family ring in the gritty, dirty undead of zombies. Zombies are, in their own way, more relatable than vampires. These are essentially former humans who like almost as they used to but everything else that made them who they were has gone. They all have a story that they can no longer tell.

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Despite the fact that one of the most popular zombie movies came out in 2002 (28 Days Later) it’s taken until now for a big budget movie to be released. World War Z is the first of what I assume will be many made about the undead, it takes the post-apocalyptic world and uses a family man (Brad Pitt) to tell it’s story. It’s great to see a big star on a big set for what hasn’t been the most popular of genres. It comes as the Walking Dead is entering it’s fourth season this year, a show that has been a proven success with both fans and critics alike. And which will likely continue it’s streak of superb episodes that involve not only conflicts with zombies but also other survivors.

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Those sorts of mediums have taken the serious storyline route whereas that’s not all we have in this increasingly popular franchise. What I must say is one of my favourite films has done is combine violence and humour so perfectly, you’ll find yourself howling to a piano falling on and squashing one of these so-called death knights. Zombieland came out at a time when there really wasn’t very much about them and it was just fantastic to watch. Columbus’ (Jesse Eisenberg) friendship with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) has the makings of a great buddy comedy but with zombies, Bill Murray and two double crossing girls. The rules for survival, Tallahassee being an unadjusted nut case (something tells me he’s always been like this, even before the apocalypse), the never-ending search for elusive and potentially non-existent Twinkies and (sort of) snappy one liners (Tallahassee: “Here’s the deal: I’m not easy to get along with, and I’m sensing you’re a bit of a bitch.”), it brings the zombie genre out of it’s typical serious shell.

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As does Warm Bodies starring Nicholas Hoult. I always find it hard to believe that he was ever the little kid from About A Boy, let that sink in… Anyway! This is another ZomCom (I probably heard that elsewhere but I’m going to claim that as my own little phrase. Zombie Comedy, yeah) in which “R” played by Hoult is part of the undead population, but saves a girl who is live from being eaten. It’s in fact a ZomRomCom. OK I think THAT one is Simon Pegg’s for Shaun of the Dead, another example of a Zombie Comedy, but with a British twist. Warm Bodies is yet another clever genre twist in that the undead start to heal themselves but are still hunted down by the ever-brilliant John Makovich.

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With Shaun of the Dead bringing in some home grown talent and British humour into the zombie wasteland, I would say that this is one hell of a genre! It does baffle me that the vampires get all of the attention, perhaps it’s appealing to the young  masses by having primarily very attractive people in them because let’s be honest, zombies aren’t the most attractive of people. They do look like they have been physically dug up at some point and set to roam around free. Whatever the reason, it looks like zombies are finally getting the attention they deserve and the genre doesn’t look like it’s about to die at any moment soon.