Wednesday 18 May 2016

X-Men: Apocalypse ... Normal stuff

A FOREIGN megalomaniac has come back from the dead and wants to destroy the world.
He also wants
to rid the world of false gods.A mutant joins the dark side because his family was killed. A frenetic finale with swirling weather conditions forms the background for the epic battle between good and evil.
  Blockbuster films stick to the tried-and-tested path of previous blockbuster films, and director Bryan Singer's X-Men: Apocalypse is no different. It introduces us to the new brats on both sides of the divide, and gives us a baddie whose name is a mouthful, En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac).

  This baddie naturally wants to conquer the world, but the film attempts to be topical by referring to the Cold War nuclear war threat between the US and Russia. It also refers to the Return of the Jedi, so viewers know the film is set in 1983.
   The baddie's innovative idea, if you could call it that, is to get the warring sides to shoot their nuclear missiles into space, thereby allowing him to be sole superpower in the world.
  This concept, while refreshing, is absurd.
  He must also have seen Batman v Superman, because he keeps talking about destroying false gods.
   And what about Magneto/Erik Lehnsherr's (German-speaking Michael Fassbender) motivation to join
(From left) Jean, Nightcrawler and Cyclops get ready to rumble. 
the baddie's side? His wife and daughter are accidentally killed by Polish cops, so he rejects the good mutants and joins En Sabah Nur's side.
  His relationship with Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) form's the film's bedrock, and it fluctuates with his mood.
    Charles tells him that he sees the good in him, but scowling Magneto is more interested in wreaking havoc on the world.
  By the way, don't you think that his motivation is similar to that of Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) in Captain America: Civil War?
  The mega destruction at the end is nondescript. Good vs evil fights cause multi-million-dollar damage, and the belligerent sides take great pleasure in obliterating cities, just like in Batman v Superman. Why can't they duke it out in a field?
   Talking about Civil War, I thought En Sabah Nur looked like Vision (Paul Bettany).
   Opening the film, Charles's stentorian voice washes over us with his glib comment about power. "A gift can often be a curse ... Give them powers beyond imagination and they may think that they rule the world."
  This film's scaremonger is the aforementioned En Sabah Nur. Waking up after more than 3,000 years,
They're staring down the opposition.
 he's able to speak English fluently by tapping into a television set and learning about current affairs involving Reagan, and US and Russian ties.
     CIA agent Moira Mactaggert (Rose Byrne, also appearing in last week's Bad Neighbours 2) can't remember her fling with Charles because the latter has erased her memories of it.
   A big problem with the film is that it's overflowing with mutants, and it's hard to know each one well. For example, the baddie collects Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Angel (Ben Hardy) and Magneto.
   Charles has Hank/Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Raven in a tight-fitting Mystique costume (Jennifer Lawrence), and newbies (in this film) mindreader Jean Turner (Sophie Grey), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee).
   Magneto's character is the most developed of the baddies as the film shows him slogging away in an iron factory and spending time with his pretty wife and cute daughter. He sings a German bedtime song to his daughter and tells her how generations of his family have passed down that song.
   When his family is killed, it's hard not to feel his pain, and even though revenge is a common theme in films, viewers should give credit to Fassbender for expressing Memento's anger and anguish in compelling terms.
  The baddie is expected in a film, but this film shows him with an iota of creativity: he manipulates Memento's experience at the Auschwitz concentration camp, where the latter first discovered his powers and where his parents were killed.
    Even Charles is taken in by this baddie, who likes to boost his proteges' powers. Charles gets a taste of it and says: "I've never felt this power before."
Olivia makes the breast of the situation. 
   The film's piece de resistance is Quicksilver/Peter (Evan Peters) in action. I won't tell you about it but you'll appreciate it when you see him in all his glory. He had appeared in X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) but the film expands his role and shows him flexing his muscles.
   Lawrence, on her part, displays more maturity in her role. Heck, even the other characters look up to her. She also looks damn good in her costume.
    Her Mystique rallies the troop with the all-popular American battle cry: "Let's go to war."
   The film could have done so much more but it sticks to its usual formula for success and piles on the characters.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars





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