Tuesday, February 28, 2017

X-Men: Apocalypse

2016, Bryan Singer (Apt Pupil) -- download

Matthew Vaughn came along and took the X-Men movies from Bryan Singer, with X-Men: First Class. He had a chance to rewrite history and style, but Vaughn left and Singer was back in the director's seat, for X-Men: Days of Future Past, which I don't remember liking as much as I wrote I did. Now, that the play on actors from the first series popping up in the second series, Singer returns for the third "new timeline" much darker, but almost entirely bloodless, movie, despite the massive casualties.

Note: We are ignoring the terrible X-Men: Last Stand because you should too.

The first time I watched a sub-par download of this movie, I burped and promptly forgot about it. It sat at the top of my To Write list for ages, and was destined for an I Saw This!! but I am trying for less of those these days, and cleaning out the cupboards, without a Cleaning Out the Cupboards post. So, I grabbed a new, shiny, lovely Blu-ray rip, dropped it on my MS Surface (I love my Pro 4) and over the last few days, watched it when my commute allowed.

Oh my! From my grumps against the dullness of 3D projected movies to an almost painfully exquisite over saturation of colours and brightness on this high-res tablet screen! Seriously, I was marveling at the play on colours everywhere in the movie! I cannot say if it was the cinematography of Newton Thomas Sigel, but it was like a sugar high of delight to see how well each scene was coloured. From the reds and oranges of the steel mill where Magneto confronts Apokalips (wait, wrong cinematic universe, but wouldn't THAT be neat) to the greys and greens of Stryker's mountain stronghold, to the browns and purples of all things En Sabah Nur (which, before catching the name in IMDB,  I was never sure of) I kept on getting distracted by exactly how pretty my copy was. I am hoping its the tablet, and I can resurrect more movies for such experience. And yes, as soon as there is a copy of Rogue One available for download, I will re-watch it.

So, as I said, Singer is back and these characters are his once again. But he is again introducing the core characters of Storm, Cyclops, Beast and Phoenix. OK, Beast is already with us but the establishment of a core team is the point of this movie. It starts with the accidental resurrection of En Sabah Nur beneath modern day Cairo. This ancient mutant was a god in his day, and to be honest, he was not quite far off. But when he awakens, he is rather aghast the world has moved on without his tutelage. It is his new goal to wipe the Earth clean and start again, with a whole new band of worshiping mutants. Charles Xavier and his school of muties are up against his plans.

The core of the movie is rather..... forgettable? Unfortunately that is the mark of the Singer films, in that they are fun to experience, they are not going to linger with you. En Sabur Nur imbues his allies with great power, creating wonderfully amped up Angel, Psylocke (as Kent said, Olivia Munn in some great cosplay) and mohawked Storm. And Jean, Scott, Raven and Kurt gather together to stop the bad guys, with Quicksilver tagging along -- for the best scenes in the entire movie, recreating his breakout Magneto scene but saving Xavier School students.

Other than manipulating a bunch of kids, creating some massive statues of himself and crew, and punching Charles in his Mind House, scary Big Bad ESN doesn't really do anything. He's arrogant, pompous and lets others do the real work, like having Magneto tear the planet apart in a bloodless yet obviously mass casualty disintegration event. I guess pseudo gods just are. Of course, the unity of the crew is able to defeat his allies and then they leave it to Jean with her suppressed Phoenix power to take out ESN.

I can now remember why I forgot the movie. And the worst offense is having Oscar Issac completely wasted under all that blue makeup and grandstanding. Seriously, he is an entirely one tone villain. Wolverine gets a silly, but with a wee bit of blood, cameo and (again, as Graig said) the 80s are completely forgotten in this pretty, X-Mas light movie.