Sunday, June 5, 2016

X-Men Apocalypse

We seem to have yet another Batman v Superman case on our hands, an incredibly polarizing film that shakes up the dynamics of the universe, hated by some critics and beloved by others, packed with action, character, and awesome moments. The difference is that the sides aren't even switched around, they're just mixed up this time, with people who liked and hated BvS alike have been taking the same sides on this film.
As someone who really, really  liked Dawn of Justice, this film was brilliant. It's just a shame it's not out-selling the far inferior Captain America: Civil War. Yes, I'll go that far. Between this film and Deadpool, Fox has had a much better showing this year than Marvel has, at least in the theaters. Season two of Daredevil was awesome, and while The Punisher, Luke Cage, the second season of Jessica Jones, and Doctor Strange might make up for its failings later in the year, at the moment it's not looking too good for Marvel's main stuff.
X-Men Apocalypse takes place in the 1980's with the cast of First Class, with a few members of the classic X-Men and characters made famous by the 90's animated-series added in for good measure. We've got Jean Grey, Cyclops, Jubilee, Angel, Nightcrawler, Storm, Psylocke, and probably others in the background. Jubilee doesn't really do much, which is a shame, but I'm glad she's finally something more than a background character. Angel also plays a much more critical role in this movie than he did in X3, as anyone who knows the Apocalypse storyline would know. Nightcrawler actually sticks around for the whole movie, which is longer than he was in X2 for, the one thing I really didn't like about that film. Returning from previous post-First Class films are Mystique, Charles Xavier, Magneto, Havoc, Beast, Wolverine, and my personal favorite, Quicksilver!
X-Men fans will basically know how this movie goes, but for those who don't know the comics or the animated series very well, spoilers inbound. Yes, I know I already said that Wolverine is in this movie, but it's an X-Men film, Wolverine has been in every X-Men film to date in some respect, he was even in Deadpool in spirit.
So, after head-trauma, Scott Summers' (Played by Tye Sheridan) mutant powers manifest in a much less overpowered, yet incredibly similar way to the way they emerged in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Due to the way they changed the past in X-Men: Days of Future Past, Scott is not abducted by the people behind the Weapon X program and is instead taken by his brother, Alex Summers (Played by Lucas Till, looking the most like Matt Smith he ever has) to the Xavier mansion to get his signature ruby-quartz sunglasses, made by Hank McCoy (Played by Nicholas Hoult), which prevent his eye-beams from wreaking havoc like they do. At the mansion he meets Jean Grey (Played by Sophie Turner) Jubilation Lee (Lana Condor) and Charles Xavier. (James McAvoy) Scott stays at the mansion and befriends others there, and Jean gets a vision of an apocalypse that's coming their way.
Meanwhile, Raven Darkhölme, AKA Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is traveling around the world saving mutants. She rescues Kurt Wagner, AKA Knightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) from a cage-fight in East Berlin with Warren Worthington III, AKA Angel (Ben Hardy). Raven takes him to a weird guy named Caliban to get him to Xavier, but Caliban informs her that Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender), has been located in Poland after the army there killed his wife and daughter, and he killed all of them. This prompts Raven to go with Kurt to the states to inform Xavier of this.
Xavier looks in on a few people using Cerebro, and finds that Moira McTaggert has discovered something related the seismic events that coincided with Jean's nightmares.
Once in the states, Raven meets the new students, and Nightcrawler befriends Jean, Jubilee and Scott, and they go out to see Return of the Jedi together while Xavier and Alex go to Washington to talk to Moira about what they've found, and to undo the memory-erasure that Xavier used on her in First Class. They bring her back to the mansion so she can help him locate the mutant who is the source of the activity, and try and convince Magneto to rejoin them. This leads to Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) taking control of Xavier's mind, and using Cerebro to find the worlds most powerful mutants. This comes a bit late, since he's already recruited a pair of the worlds less powerful mutants to his team, Angel and Psylocke (Olivia Munn) that consists of them and Ororo Munro, AKA Storm, (Alexandra Shipp) and Magneto. Magneto is War, and Archangel is Death, but we're never told which of the remaining two are Pestilence or Famine. Not that this really matters, because I'm sure Storm could handle both of those roles.
Havoc destroys Cerebro, but Apocalypse shows up to kidnap Xavier so he can use him to disarm the worlds nuclear weapons and send a message to the world. Havoc tries to prevent that from happening, but Apocalypse redirects the waves and they begin to destroy the mansion, but Quicksilver shows up in one of the best scenes in the freaking movie and rescues everyone before the mansion is destroyed, save for Havok, who was at the epicenter of the blast.
Colonel Stryker shows up at the mansion and knocks out everyone, and kidnaps Hank, Raven, Peter and Moira, but Kurt, Scott and Jean evade them and stow away on a helicopter to get to the base where Stryker is keeping Wolverine (Hugh freaking Jackman man). They free Wolverine, and he helps them free Hank, Raven, Peter and Moira. Jean helps him get some of his memories back, and he runs off into the snow.
Meanwhile, Xavier is made to disarm all the worlds nukes, and Magneto begins messing with the earths magnetic fields to cause widespread destruction and to build a new infrastructure at Apocalypse's behest. Meanwhile Apocalypse is trying to transfer his consciousness into Xavier's body so he can get his powers, but the X-Men have hijacked one of Strykers drop-jets and made their way to his location, and they begin to do battle with Apocalypse and The Horsemen. Eventually they stop Apocalypse from merging with Xavier, and thanks to intervention from Magneto and Storm, the team manages to beat Apocalypse.
Xavier, now bald thanks to his interaction with Apocalypse, begins to officially form The X-Men, and Mystique trains students in combat in The Danger Room.
All in all, hell yes. Amazing. Can't really see how it could be improved much. Granted Alexandra Shipp's Storm voice sounds nothing like it has at any point in the past, and McAvoy's head isn't shaped exactly like Patrick Stewart's head is, but he still looks more like Stewart than Tom Hardy did in Star Trek: Nemesis. The plot flows well, and god-dammit do I love the Quicksilver scene in this film, just like I loved the Quicksilver scene in Days of Future Past. Peter Maximoff is turning out to be one of my favorite characters in this series, and I can't wait to see him in another film.
In the end, I give it a 9.9* rating. I'll see you guys next week with either Deadpool, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows!

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