woensdag 1 juni 2016

Today's Review: X-Men: Apocalypse

Still behind on all the stuff I wrote, but slowly gaining.

X-Men: Apocalypse - Recensie

'Third one is always the worst' says Jean Grey when leaving the theater after watching Return of the Jedi back in '83. She was right about that one, and conscious or unconscious (I doubt the writer intended for this movie to be the weakest in the second X-trilogy), she's also correct about X-Men: Apocalypse. However, also like Return of the Jedi, Apocalypse still is a whole lot of mutant fun for those who didn't expect the franchise to reach new heights anyway.

Granted, it's not the story that provides the mirth, since it's the stuff of repetition, variations on themes and lack of narrative evolution. Basically, another all-powerful mutant rears his head and threatens to destroy the world for mankind so that its stronger successors can take over. And once again, the X-Men, fighting for peace between man and mutant, must get together to stop this megalomaniacal scheme from becoming reality. This time, it's not Magneto who has hatched the diabolical plan, but rather a 5,000 year old ideological predecessor, an ancient Egyptian once worshiped as a god, with the modern moniker Apocalypse. Magneto, once more masterfully performed by Michael Fassbender, merely provides some muscle to help Oscar Isaac's semi-god with his evil shenanigans. Isaac does a decent job playing an age old villain, but he's no Fassbender and his Apocalypse is nowhere near as intimidating or intriguing as the much more relatable Magneto.

Still, the villain suffices for the cause of bringing together two generations of X-Men, the First Class lot and the new batch of young recruits, including novel takes on classic X-characters Cyclops, Jean Grey and Nightcrawler. Their performances and their chemistry make us hopeful for the future of the franchise, should the studio feel like using them for the next installment Apocalypse seems to be building up to. For although it's meant as a conclusion to a trilogy, the ground work is amply laid for more to come and these young stars succeed in making us curious about what lies ahead. The new additions to the cast are aided by snappy dialogue and light humour, making the shortcomings in the plot not nearly as blatant as they would have been in lesser hands. Nevertheless, it's clear director Bryan Singer, who has made his fourth X-movie with this title, has run out of ideas for the X-universe. Though we appreciate his work on both trilogies, new blood would be equally welcome in the creative room as it proved in the cast.

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