i watched an apocalypse (an x-men one)

usually i write these things immediately, but today is saturday and i watched this movie on monday. whateva.

my expectations going in to x-men apocalypse were extremely low. the trailers made the film look like an unintentionally cheesy, overdramatized disaster porn superhero movie. not that we’ve seen any of THOSE this year. but i ended up pleasantly surprised by x-men apocalypse. smart character arcs for existing characters and the newer (good-guy) characters are well done and mostly fun. it isn’t great, and i’m not even sure that it’s good, but it isn’t bad.

spoilers below.

okay i watched some xmen cartoons when i was a kid, but i don’t really remember them, and i’ve never read a comic book in my life except a couple alan moore novels, but even my coworker who is the biggest xmen fangirl i know had this issue: the horsemen in this movie are not fleshed out well enough to know what they’re about. let’s review:

  • the film follows magneto because he is magneto and his story arc actually works great, even if i am getting sick of “magneto is hiding, but he’s good, but a Thing happens and now he’s bad, but at the end he’s good because he’s friends with charles” plot in every one of these newer xmen movies.
  • storm is awesome, from the actress to her hair, and her powers are used in a very cool way, when we see them? which is almost never. we needed more storm badly.
  • angel was kind of beaten easily and mostly off camera, and otherwise his part was to stand around and have metal wings. did he make the transition to archangel that makes him, as the internet tells me, a pivotal part in the original apocalypse storyline? well not on camera he didn’t.
  • i did not know until talking to my coworker that psylocke was called psylocke. this was also when we learned she was telekenetic and precognitive. in the movie, she is basically just a psi-blade. she was underpowered as hell for a horseman. she’s not if you actually flesh her out, but the movie fails to do this. i’m not much of an olivia munn fan, so giving her less screen time is fine with me, but psylocke needed way better treatment than this.

okay, so we have an almost all-powerful megalomaniac who wants to be the world’s literal god, and he gets a cool set up, and then the movie got boring for a while. the second half was fairly by the numbers for what was set up, and that’s fine, it’s safe, it’s not going to make a great movie, but it is the trope for a reason right? the beginning of this movie was just kind of dull for me. maybe boring is better than over produced, over dramatic evil laughter supervillainry, which was what the trailers had led me to expect.

at any rate, when apocalypse finds charles and cerebro the movie gets pretty entertaining, although i do agree with the screen junkies’ review that quicksilver’s scene, while very good on its own, is annoyingly misplaced and completely glosses over the death of havoc. it doesn’t even really impact cyclops that much from what we see. he and jean and nightcrawler have a really fun sequence at stryker’s compound, finding weapon X wolverine was pretty funny and also maybe the best action scene in the movie, but meanwhile maybe the movie’s biggest flaw is happening? okay second biggest. let’s talk about the 2 biggest flaws.

NUMBER TWO. magneto is causing literally world wide destruction. it’s not even really that well controlled by the man himself because he’s just producing enormous magnetic fields. there should be millions of dead. this has no impact whatever.  we see landmarks breaking apart and buildings falling over and debris in the sky, which is about as moving as dubya’s address on 9/11 for exactly the same reason: why all this focus on buildings? you know there’s people in them right? the events of x-men apocalypse seem to happen on an alternate earth devoid of inhabitants except the characters we’re meant to care about. it makes the ultimate redemption of magneto have less weight because he hasn’t actually done that much bad here. i mean, of course he sort of has, but the movie totally ignores the human impact, except for in problem…

NUMBER ONE. hey there, movie, can i call you movie? hi. you pleasantly surprised me but we have to talk about the exposition room. i mean the situation room. in every disaster porn film, we have some circle of scientists, and military, and government officials, sitting around saying things like “death toll in the thousands” to be cut off with “thousands? millions,” or “may god have mercy on us all,” or “what have we done,” just to make sure the impact of what’s happening on screen is even apparent to the dumbest viewers. but see, in those movies, even the terrible ones, those are characters in the movie. independence day’s president is a total badass with a part to play. day after tomorrow’s governmental circle interacts with its main character. but you, movie, had an isolated room filled with empty anonymous suits saying “this is bad” and “oh dang.” thanks for that clever use of screen time. i totally wouldn’t rather spend those minutes seeing psylocke being PRECOGNITIVE????? and storm and storm’s excellent hair do a thing.

my favorite part of this movie was jean gray finally showing off her phoenix side. even though xavier and apocalypse’s fight inside their minds didn’t make much sense to me–like, charles jumped into his head, so when he starts losing and acts like he’s going to die (hahahahahahahaha) why doesn’t he jump back out? but jean goes full phoenix and just destroys him faster than he can regenerate and i’m in my head doing a n0tail impression. hell yes. i wasn’t before but now i’m looking forward to the next movie in this timeline because phoenix is out and she’s strong as fuck, fellas.

so all in all, an okay movie, some really good things and some really bad things. now we sit around and wait patiently for the bourne movie to release 🙂 holy hype yall

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