Wednesday, June 8, 2016

X-Men Apocalypse: Destroying the World With Zero Consequences

I finally broke down and watched X-Men Apocalypse on Monday.  I haven't really liked any of the X-Men movies that much since the very first one--not counting Deadpool.  They're more in the OK, reliable action movie category where I wouldn't turn them off but I rarely seek them out.  Apocalypse continues that tradition of being OK but unlike the first movie so long ago isn't going to redefine the genre the way Marvel's movies have.  It doesn't really take any big risks like you could say about Batman v Superman.

Following the pattern of recent movies, this takes place 10 years after Days of Future Past, in 1983 with a mish-mash of 80s references and nods to Return of the Jedi, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and so forth.  There's been kind of a stand-off between mutants and humans since Magneto nearly killed Nixon and a bunch of other people in DC.  And then along comes Apocalypse, who has some weird name I'm not bothering to learn.  Back in ancient Egypt he ruled the world with an iron fist from his weird blue pyramid.  Whenever he was dying, he would transfer his consciousness to someone else.  In the last such instance he transfers it to Oscar Isaac, aka Poe from Star Wars Episode VII, who's an Egyptian guy with Wolverine or Deadpool-level healing ability.  Transferring his consciousness into that body gives Apocalypse that ability, which comes in handy when his "loyal" guard drops the pyramid on him using kind of a Rube Goldberg-type setup with giant blocks.  (Because I'm sure they could totally do that in 3600 BC.)  So basically he's been sleeping for about 5600 years.  Man, I bet he really had to piss when he woke up, right?

Meanwhile in the present, serial almost-destroyer of the world Magneto has gotten married and had a kid in Poland until like Man of Steel he uses his power for good and people narc on him.  His wife and daughter are killed with a single arrow by a cop who must secretly be Green Arrow or Hawkeye.  And it's not even an arrow with any metal and yet it somehow penetrates the heart of a little girl and an adult woman to kill them almost instantly.  (Totally plausible!)  Even less plausible is that Magneto then beheads them all with a locket that he must have been sharpening for the last 20 years.

Meanwhile Apocalypse recruits Storm, Psylocke, and Angel to join him as his "Horsemen."  None of them are given even the most rudimentary backstory and contribute very little to the plot.  Which should be pretty disappointing to fans since Storm and Psylocke have pretty meaty backstories in the comics by now.  And then they recruit Magneto since he's all pissed off at humanity again, though this time there's probably more righteousness to his anger than the last couple movies.

When Professor X tries to find Magneto, Apocalypse realizes that Xavier's psychic power is what he really needs to complete his awesome collection of mutant powers because then he could just brainwash everyone to do what he wants.  So he captures Xavier and in the process destroys the X-Mansion.  Then he decides to set up his capital in Cairo, demolishing most of the city to build a new pyramid.  With Apocalypse's help Magneto starts destroying the rest of the world, notably the Sydney Opera House.  (Someone had the good sense to not have the World Trade Center be destroyed in this, because how tasteless would that be?)

Maybe the mention of Return of the Jedi was a subliminal cue to the ending, where Magneto turns on Apocalypse like Vader on the Emperor, though also with a lot of help.  Meanwhile there's a kind of silly-looking psychic battle in Xavier's head between him and Apocalypse and then Jean Grey, who still doesn't get a cool X-Men name.

After all that, Magneto just gets to walk away and Storm gets to join the mutant school and everyone's totally cool with it, because they learned a lesson.  Even though they helped kill hundreds of thousands of people, neither one is held accountable for it.  Xavier was just as culpable even if under duress, but he seems to give zero fucks about it.  Basically it was like the end of Man of Steel on an even bigger scale.

Though it's hard to tell if they really did kill anyone since there weren't really any reaction shots of actual people running from all the destruction.  They probably would have been mostly CGI people, but it would have helped to make it seem less like a video game cut scene.  You showed people being beheaded, partially beheaded, and disemboweled, so don't tell me the MPAA would have put up a fuss with showing a dead body or two.

At the end Magneto and Jean Grey rebuild the X-Mansion with magnetism and psychic power, which doesn't make any sense.  I mean sure they can fit the pieces together, but how does it stay together without nails, screws, welds, or whatever else?  It's not a fucking LEGO set.  (Or maybe there's a mutant with caulking powers.)  Which is another example of destruction with no consequences.  Blow up the house, so what?  We'll just put it right back together again.  When Bruce Wayne burned down his house in Batman Begins it took until the third movie for it to be rebuilt.

Even when Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Nightcrawler go to the mall nothing really happens.  I mean you take a blue dude with a devil tail to the mall and no one's going to hassle him?  Or be the slightest bit freaked out?  Maybe there's a deleted scene but as it stands there's again no consequences to leave any impact.

Honestly the IQ of this movie is about Michael Bay Transformers level.  I mean Nightcrawler says he can't teleport somewhere he can't see or hasn't been to but he beams right into the helicopter when the others are being abducted and later he beams right into the pyramid, despite that he couldn't have been to either before or seen inside without X-Ray vision.  And there's really no way this can still be affiliated with the original three movies.  For one thing Cyclops and Jean Grey have already met Wolverine, so wouldn't they recognize him years later?  Especially Jean who's been in his brain.  (And while it was supposed to be touching when she and Wolverine--or Weapon X--hold hands it's kind of creepy when she's supposed to be like 17 and he looks like he's in his 40s.)  And now they've already met Nightcrawler and Angel is dead and Jean Grey has tapped into the Dark Phoenix she wasn't supposed to know about and on and on.  The "parallel universe" or "altered universe" thing is hard to buy too when the end of the last movie brought all the original actors back.  (Which for the next movie if they're going to have it take place in the early 90s, which actors are they going to use?  Or are we supposed to think over the span of a few years McAvoy turns into Patrick Stewart or Sophie Turner turns into Famke Jansen?)

Anyway, Bryan Singer is supposed to be leaving the franchise (again) so maybe they can find someone who can make an X-Men movie that actually makes me give a shit again. 


  1. "Maybe there's a mutant with caulking powers" - hahahaha!

    I too thought this movie was sorely lacking in logic, brains, consequences, and fun. The whole franchise, at this point, makes zero sense.

  2. Hey Pat,

    I've never got into the X-Men stuff. Just reading your article about the latest instalment has just saved me any chance of watching the movie.

    Cheers, dude.




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