May 20, 2016
Some may be better than others, but in general, I liked all of them for their character development and complex drama about humans-mutant relations. I particularly like this rebooted series about the X-Men in their youth which started in 2011 with "First Class" (MY REVIEW) and "Days in Future Past" (MY REVIEW).
En Sabah Nur, a very powerful mutant from ancient Egypt, wakes up in 1983. He begins his conquest of the world by recruiting four powerful mutants to become his lieutenants, the Four Horsemen to his Apocalypse. At that time in Poland, Erik Lehnsherr's struggle to live a normal life with his wife and mutant daughter does not go too well. His depression makes him an easy target for recruitment.
Meanwhile, mutants converge at Prof. Charles X. Xavier's Institute for Gifted Youngsters, where Hank McCoy was a teacher and a young Jean Grey is a student. Mystique rescues Nightcrawler from a fight club in Berlin. Alex Summers brings in his brother Scott to control his newly-discovered powers. CIA agent Moira MacTaggert was also there to brief Prof. Xavier about her research about Nur. Just then, Nur and his Horsemen attacks the Institute.
As this is already the third film in the rebooted series, the actors all play their characters as if the role was written with them in mind. This is most especially true with James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Prof. X and Magneto with so much passion. Jennifer Lawrence plays Mystique with intensity as expected, as Nicholas Hoult played Hank McCoy with charm.
Quicksilver (Evan Peter) reprises his amazing time-slowing stunts again here, but on a much bigger scale, this time to the tune of "Sweet Dreams" by Eurythmics. Those comical Nightcrawler (an unrecognizable Kodi Smit-McPhee) gags can be diverting amidst the CG violence. This is the first time I have seen Sophie Turner outside "Game of Thrones" and she gets to play the awesome Jean Gray. Tye Sheridan (whom we met last year in the serious "Dark Places" and the absurd "Scouts' Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse") played Scott Summers still conflicted with his powerfully destructive ability.
You would not really know that it was Oscar Isaac (whom we recently met as Poe Dameron on "Star Wars: The Force Awakens") hidden under the leathery face of the Apocalypse. Olivia Munn played Psylocke as a sexy leather-clad dominatrix. The new actors playing the other two Horsemen, Alexandra Shipp and Ben Hardy as young Storm and Angel respectively, fell short in the acting department amidst the formidable cast.
The timeline of these X-Men movies are really all topsy-turvy now. Figuring out which happens first within the three films of this trilogy becomes too complicated, it is useless to try. We learn here how Storm's hair turned white, or how Prof. X lost his hair (in the movie world, at least). The production design and costumes evoke so much 80s pop culture nostalgia, it was really fun to catch them all as they flashed on screen. There is a cameo appearance of an invincible mutant in an exciting action sequence in the middle of the film, which will be referred to once again in the extra scene at the very end of the end credits.
There are really very many instances here where the breaks of the battles obviously favored the heroes, even as the bad guys got the upper hand at first. Magneto was lifting metallic objects all over the world, while metallic objects right below his feet were still there. Apocalypse can disintegrate his human enemies into dust. Against mutants though, he chooses to just plaster them into the wall or, more incredibly, he just goes old-school and simply strangles the neck.
Distracting as they may be, I guess that such illogicalities are to be expected in complex superhero franchises such as the X-Men. Despite this and the imposing scale of its scope, this film, again engagingly told by director Bryan Singer, entertained me as it unfolded. Suspend your disbelief and enjoy. Even if I still think "Days of Future Past" was superior, this comes pretty close to matching that one in excellence. 8/10.