Movie Review – X-Men: Apocalypse

X-Men: ApocalypseX-Men: Apocalypse

Directed by Bryan Singer

Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Issac, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Olivia Munn, and Lucas Till

Backstory

And here we are again, with the granddaddy of superhero franchises.  Most film historians will tell you that our current run of superhero films all began with the original X-Men way back in the year 2000.  16 years later, the franchise has spawned 6 films in the main timeline, and three spinoffs (the two Wolverine films and Deadpool).  After all this time, the question really is starting to become if they can keep it fresh.  Well…can they?

Plot

It’s 1983…10 years after the (past) events of Days of Future Past.  Magneto has gone into hiding, and is living a quiet life with a wife and daughter.  Mystique is also in hiding, frightened at how saving the President in the last film has made her a cultural icon in the mutant community.  And Professor Charles Xavier’s dream of mutants and humans living in harmony is making great strides, as his school for the gifted is thriving.  But then, in Egypt, an ancient evil awakens…Apocalypse, whom many regard as the first mutant, born thousands of years ago.  Distressed at the state of the world, Apocalypse sets out to rule once again.  With his four horsemen in tow – Archangel, Storm, Psyloche, and Magneto – Apocalypse begins laying waste to the land.  Before long, the Professor, Mystique and Beast — and some new recruits in the form of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, and Quicksilver — are headed for a deadly showdown with Apocalypse.  Will these newly-formed X-Men be able to stop the apocalypse…both the man and the end of the world?

What I Liked

This film reminded me of Skyfall in a few ways.  When the film ends,  you get the feeling that the rebooting and retelling of the origins is complete, and we can get on to some classic X-Men adventures.  That being said, it also reminds me a bit of the third film, X-Men: The Last Stand, in that there’s this attitude of “Let’s throw in all the cool stuff we’ve always wanted to see in an X-Men movie!”  It’s great finally seeing the origins of Cyclops and Jean.  Quicksilver steals the show once again, as we are treated to yet another spectacular showcase of his powers.  Fassbender continue to bring it as Magneto, showing him as a tortured soul and reluctant villain.  And yes, there’s a Wolverine cameo as you’ve seen in the trailers, and it is great.

What I Didn’t Like

The plot is fairly run-of-the-mill at this point.  It doesn’t totally re-invent the X-Men or introduce anything dramatically new.  I think franchise fatigue is starting to set it.

Final Verdict

A very solid entry in the franchise.  It’s not the best, but it’s satisfying.

3 Nibs

Episode 9.08: I Saw a Fox

Just one of those days, ya know?  It was long, it was hard, it was fun, and I was beat when all was said and done.  But the inspiration hit me, and I felt compelled to fire up the computer and crank out a podcast.  So what inspired me to record Episode 9.08: I Saw a Fox?

  • Well, there was no podcast last week because it was the May long weekend, so I tell you what I was going to do on the weekend, which leads to reminiscing about the Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site.
  • I just got home from X-Men: Apocalypse, so I have to share my thoughts on that.
  • Also gotta share my thoughts on the new Star Trek Beyond trailer.

And I actually did see a fox frolicking in the ditch on my way home from the city, hence the title.

So enjoy Episode 9.08: I Saw a Fox!

Download here!

And there’s iTunes!

Movie Review – Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: Civil WarCaptain America: Civil War

Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo

Starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Frank Grillo, and Daniel Bruhl.

Backstory

We can’t look at superhero movies as being individual films anymore.  Thanks to how Marvel has developed their cinematic universe over the past 8 years, the entire studio output has to be viewed as a single franchise.  Which is why there is so much hype over Captain America: Civil War.  This isn’t Captain America 3 as much as it’s Marvel 13.  And with such a large cast of heroes…it just looked like the biggest superhero film ever.  So the question is, does it live up to the hype?

Plot

After the all the collateral damage the Avengers have cause in their previous adventures, the UN passes a new set of regulations called the Sokovia Accords.  Under these accords, the Avengers would become a task force held accountable to a UN committee.  Iron Man is in favour of the accords, as he still feels guilt for those whose lives were lost, and this would give the Avengers a degree of accountability.  Steve Rogers, however, is against it, fearing it could turn the Avengers into a tool of political agendas.  Things get more complicated when Rogers’ old friend and sidekick Bucky is implicated in a terrorist attack.  Going rogue from the Accords to find Bucky first, Captain America is branded a criminal, and Iron Man and those Avengers still loyal to him are sent to bring him in.  Throw Black Panther into the mix — his father was killed in Bucky’s alleged attack so he’s out for revenge — and a shadowy villain manipulating both factions to his own ends, and you get one very big superhero adventure.  Will Captain American and Iron Man ever trust each other again?

What I Liked

My problem with huge ensembles is when people get lost in the shuffle.  But here?  No one gets lost.  Everyone has a job to do, a character arc, and a role in the battle.  Easily the biggest and meatiest subplot is Black Panther, who makes a fine introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  And speaking of fine introductions…Spider-Man!  He’s not in it that much, but what little is in there is so pitch-perfect Spider-Man.  We’ve finally got Spider-Man and the Avengers together on the big screen, and it is so good.  But the heart is Captain America and Iron Man.  They both make valid points, and at the end, when you see the villain’s endgame and Cap and Iron Man have their final battle, it is heartbreaking.  It is so good.

What I Didn’t Like

Ya know what?  I think a bit of franchise fatigue is starting to set in.  Either that, or I just watched the trailer too many times, as there was an air of “been there, done that” over the proceedings.

Final Verdict

It was so good, you guys.  A delightful time at the movies.

3.5 Nibs

Episode 9.07: Let ‘Er Rip

Wow!  I’ve been away for a month!  What happened?  Well, as is my tradition, the first break in the podcast is explaining what occupied my weekend’s past that prevented me from doing it.  So, yeah.  Tune in for that!  What else do I ramble about?

Well, I just came home from Captain America: Civil War, so there’s my rants about that.  I caught last year’s Fantastic Four reboot on Netflix, so my thoughts about that.  And growing excitement for X-Men: Apocalypse.  Huh.  I guess I could have called this one Make Mine Marvel.

But I didn’t.  It’s Episode 9.07: Let ‘Er Rip!

Download here!

And iTunes!