So, let’s get two things out of the way first. One, this is not really a podcast reaction so much as just me ranting (with spoilers) about X-Men: Apocalypse. Two, I haven’t read Morning Star, so I won’t be touching on that (and didn’t listen to that section of the podcast). I’ve read Red Rising, and while I am not drooling all over myself about it like the other Gabbing Geeks, it is worth a read and it seems the entire trilogy is as well. I’ll eventually get to it, when I’m done reading pieces of everything else.
The Geeks seemed to like X-Men: Apocalypse with ratings in the 7-8 range. If you listen closely you can hear me type that I gave it a 6, which the Geeks thought was high for a movie I ranted about “hating” to them minutes before they started blabbing. And I do almost feel like 6 is too high, but 5 seems low. And hate is a strong word, but I didn’t think it was very good. Here is a random order, spoiler filled, Ryan style list of reasons why:
- Sequelitits. We are at the sixth main X-Men film now and if you throw in Deadpool and the two Wolverine films, we are up to nine. Obviously, it will be hard to avoid sequelitits in some respects. But superhero movies generally manage to. Watson brings up the repetition of jokes in such films as Austin Powers. And he’s right. But comedies are always the worst sequels for trying to capture lighting in a bottle twice. But the Quicksilver scene here, while it had it’s merits, just seemed like more of the same. Yes, it was bigger and badder and louder than the scene in Days of Future Past, like all good sequels are, but that didn’t make it better. There was a definite feeling of “been there, done that” that I don’t remember experiencing in previous X-films. Jenny expressed similar feelings about the scene and wanted to see something different. To that regard, we did get the awesome scene of Quicksilver beating on Apocalypse, which was way too short.
- Jean Grey. I’ve seen one episode of Game of Thrones, so I have no idea really who Sophie Turner is. And I only know those details because Tom told me as much when I complained about how awful she was in this movie. Tom said that the script did Jean the most justice of any previous incarnation. Maybe that is true, but it was the acting that did nothing for me and turned me off. Maybe she is better in GOT, I don’t know. When her and Magneto were rebuilding Xavier’s mansion at the end, she could have inserted herself in there as a support beam. Because she was so wooden. Get it? Ahem.
- Magneto. I know this happens in the comics as well, but boy am I ever tired of Magneto flip flopping back and fourth between being good and being evil. Just pick one and go with it.
- Jennifer Lawrence. When X-Men: First Class came out in 2011, Jennifer Lawrence was almost a nobody. Mainstream viewers didn’t know who she was and those that did usually referred to her as “that girl from Winter’s Bone”. This was the year before Hunger Games would make her a household name and she’s now arguably the biggest star in Hollywood. So, I can’t blame her for not wanting to do superhero movies anymore, but if you have to, try not to mail it in. Part of this can be blamed on the script, which really didn’t give her much of anything memorable to do. But I would bet dollars to donuts (what does that even mean?) that she “insisted” on the lack of her being blue throughout most of the movie to avoid the long days of makeup. You know, I’m sure that is not pleasant to go through, but for 8 million dollars (or whatever she was paid), suck it up.
- Weapon X. Like many, I love Jackman’s Wolverine. And I was happy to see him here, even if it was just a cameo. And it was one of the best scenes in the movie. Unfortunately, as Tom points out it was also completely gratuitous.
- Fan lip service. People have been giving Batsoup a lot of flack for hitting fans over the head with introducing the Justice League, etc., but is X-Men any better? I mentioned Weapon X feeling gratuitus, but let’s shoe horn in the Phoenix as well. And not that everything has to be 100% faithful to the comics, but the Phoenix Force isn’t even one of Jean’s natural abilities.
- X marks the spot. When Magneto halts Apocalypse in his tracks with the giant beams that form an X! Groan.
- What happened to Wolverine after Days of Future Past? I know that ten years have passed, but it just seemed odd to me that at the end of DoFP we see Mystique, disguised as Stryker, rescuing Wolverine from the bottom of the river, yet here we have Wolverine in the capture of the real Stryker. I know a lot could have happened in those ten years, but it almost seemed like Singer was doubling back and regretting his decision to add that CGI Mystique eye effect to Stryker two years ago.
- The timeline. As we know, the end of Days of Future Past rewrote the X-Men timeline, wiping the original trilogy from existence in a cosmic game of Rent, Own, Delete. But that doesn’t stop our minds from wanting to connect them. Jenny made a comment along these lines when she said that “we know that Mystique ends up as a bad guy and working with Magneto” to which the response was, “well, we don’t really, since this is a different timeline.” They are right of course. And maybe Jenny thinks like me (sorry Jenny) and her mind just wants to Jenga piece all these movies into neat little packages. Throughout I had to stop myself from trying to reconcile the actions of Storm or Mystique or whomever with what happens in that original trilogy. While this is a personal issue, it took away from the enjoyment for me.
- The timeline is fubar. So, the timeline is changed and doesn’t line up with the original trilogy. Yes, we just went over that. But does that explain how Jubilee was a teenager attending Xavier’s school in the original trilogy…and a teenager attending Xavier’s school in 1983? I get the altered timeline deal, but the events of DoFP have resulted in Jubilee being born in the early 70’s instead of the late 80’s? Angel is in a similar boat. Seen as a young 20 something in X-Men: The Last Stand…but old enough to be in a fight club and eventual Horseman in Apocalypse?
- Apocalypse. Part of the problem with him is standard “he is too powerful except when he needs/should be” fair. Like how he kills people with the blink of an eye but lets Cyclops live, simply encasing him in stone (while leaving his greatest weapon exposed), or telling Psylocke to kill Quicksilver instead of just finishing him off himself. These are more script issues. As for Apocalypse himself, I thought Oscar Issac was fine, but the villains whole design was just horrible. Jenny says he was “too 80’s”. I don’t know if that is what it was, but it just didn’t work. Maybe Jenny is right, as he did look like a bad 80’s special effects job.
- “The third one is always the worst.” Ryan said that his theatre groaned at this joke. Mine? Well, it was so shockingly empty it was hard to tell if anyone outside of myself even really got it. My question is why bother to have this line at all? It was quite obviously a joke at the Xpense of X-Men: The Last Stand, considered by many not named Ryan as the worst of the main X-Films. But it just seemed odd for a character in the third film of a trilogy to get all meta and proclaim that the third film in any trilogy is the worst. While it was meant to be a joke, it turned into more of a prophecy. While others seem to like Apocalypse more than me, I have yet to see anyone that would rank it higher than First Class or Days of Future Past. Worst indeed.
I’m sure there are more, but my bile well is drying up. Maybe I should have written this last night when it was fresher in my mind, but I think I’ve probably said enough. Let me know what you thought of the movie and likely why you feel I am wrong about many of these points.