Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 8, 2017


A Really Bad Guy: Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac)
X-MEN: APOCALYPSE (2016). Director: Bryan Singer.

In 1983 Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender), also known as Magneto, a mutant terrorist, has been leading a quiet life with his wife and daughter when his true identity is discovered and a confrontation with police leads to their deaths. Now his mind is in the perfect place for him to team up with En Sabur Nur (Oscar Isaac of Star Wars Part VII), the world's first mutant, born in 2500 A.D., and better-known as Apocalypse. Nur wants to remake the world over by demolishing human society, and Magneto -- at first -- is only too willing to help him. His former friend, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and even fellow terrorist Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) are out to stop the two men and their mutant allies. The trouble with X-Men: Apocalypse -- the sixth X-Men movie (the 8th if you count the two Wolverine films released before this one) -- is that it suffers from over-familiarity and despite a somewhat impressive main villain, lacks a really strong story or sense of desperation. This is another prequel, with younger actors completely taking over from those cast in the first X-Men -- Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan are nowhere to be found. The X-Men comic and its many spin-offs (Apocalypse actually first appeared in X-Factor) have been published for so many decades now that the movies have their own interpretation of the characters, hence Peter (Pietro) Maximoff --  apparently Magneto's son -- is no longer a brooding, unpleasant Russian but a hip teenage American, who (as in the last film) has been reinvented to be more like The Flash. The movie's most striking sequence has Flash -- I mean, Quicksilver (Evan Peters) -- rescuing all of the students from Xavier's mansion when it explodes. I don't recall Professor Xavier ever being able to stop time in its tracks the way he does in this movie. X-Men: Apocalypse isn't bad, but it does take a long time to get started, and despite some decent effects, the pace isn't great and the action scenes not that well delineated. Fassbender, who is quite good as the conflicted Erik, has emerged as the dynamic star of the X-Men movies. Hugh Jackman only appears briefly as Logan and was given three of his own films.

Verdict: Perhaps one trip to the well too many? **1/2.

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