X-Men Apocalypse: Ripping Up And Ruining Comic Books Over The Space Of Two Hours

2/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Apocalypse, played by Oscar Issac, awakens in the mid Eighties and tries to take over the world.

This film takes a steaming dump all over the X-Men in many ways. Firstly it brings in fan favourite characters such as Psylocke, played by Olivia Munn, Angel, played by Ben Hardy, and Storm, played by Alexandra Shipp and then barely uses them. Worse still in the case of Angel the film just kills him off. This shows almost a contempt to the lore or the universe as Angel is a character that has had a long and storied comics history and has many places to go, not that this film cares.

Likewise, the film had the perfect inspiration in the Age of Apocalypse storyline from the Nineties yet it doesn’t even bother to draw an influence from that, and instead gives us a mess riddled with needless Eighties nostalgia and horribly used CGI. The final battle in this film is one of the worst realised of any superhero film in terms of its use of CGI, it looks visually repulsive.

The cast across the board isn’t very good with two key exceptions that I will get to, the young actors brought in to play the new version of the X-Men are all terrible with no exceptions, Tye Sheridan and Sophie Turner are particularly poor. Jennifer Lawrence clearly doesn’t want to be there and though normally he is terrific here James McAvoy is sorely underused and as such can’t deliver.

The two good performances and the reason this film doesn’t get lower are Michael Fassbender as Magneto and Evan Peters as Quicksilver. I thought the exploration of the father son dynamic between these two characters was interesting, I would have liked to see the film commit to it rather than just dance around the subject but it framed the film nicely. Of course the slow motion scene with Peters is cool to look at, but it is the emotional scenes where his character shines.  

Moreover, the scenes with Magneto as a family man, who then loses his family and breaks bad again are very well done and easily become the highpoint of a deeply mediocre affair.

Overall, the clear start of the decline for the Fox X-Men films.

Pros.

The father son subplot

Fassbender

Cons.

Wasting Oscar Issac

The young cast

The CGI finale mess

A weak plot

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New Mutants: The Poor Man’s Chronicle, Potential We Will Never Get To See

The New Mutants is a superhero horror film directed by Josh Boone. The plot sees a group of young people have to come to terms with their mutant abilities whilst inside a secure facility. Each has emotional scars from their past that they need to overcome in order to move forward.

So before I get into this I will just announce that I may have a slight bit of bias of this one, because Josh Boone has recently revealed himself to be a terrible person, look up his disastrous io9 interview for more information, as such I don’t like him, but I tried my best to stay impartial with the film.

This film is not as terrible as you have heard, it is by no means the worst X-Men film. There are strong parts to it, such as the horror, however there are also a lot of problems. It is a very mixed bag.

First the positive. I thought the horror elements of the film were really compelling and worked well, it was actually scary at times. Personally I thought this film would probably work better as a straight horror film, as when the superhero stuff happened it did not seem to fit with everything else. The CGI battle at the end of the film, is proof of this, it stood out for all the wrong reasons and felt jarring.

I enjoyed seeing each of the characters on screen, I think for the most part they nailed the look and feel of them from the comics, I had never seen anything like it before (in terms of powers). The acting was patchy, as though the characters were enjoyable and fun to watch, for the most part the ones who were doing accents were doing them badly. Charlie Heaton was the only member of the cast who pulled his accent off, Anya Taylor Joy’s Russian accent came and went and was not maintained and Masie Williams’ Scottish accent was awful.

I would like to see more from these characters, sadly we never will.

There is a scene that I would like to talk about that I found to be questionable. The shower scene early on in the film between Masie Williams character and lead Danielle Moonstar (Blu Hunt), felt a bit icky to me. There was something about it that I didn’t like, and it felt off, especially considering the actors ages when it was shot.

Overall, there is some fun to be had and it is definitely worth a watch, not in cinemas (its not that urgent), however the problems it has are significant. It would have been better as a horror film.

Pros.

The characters are all likeable

It was cool seeing the powers pulled off well

The horror

Cons.

The superhero stuff felt like it clashed

The shower scenes

Taylor-Joy and Williams’ accents

3/5

Reviewed by Luke  

X-Men Dark Phoenix: No More Mutants Please

X-Men: Dark Phoenix is a superhero film directed by Simon Kinberg; it belongs to 20th Century Fox’s now defunct XCU (X-Men cinematic universe), taking place after the events of X-Men Apocalypse and is based on the Phoenix Saga from Marvel Comics.

Prior to writing this review I had been putting off watching this for a second time, it is a horrible film. Can I just ask the question before we get into the review, who thought letting Simon Kinberg a man who can’t even write films lead alone direct them, direct this was a good idea? All of the good X-Men films had very little involvement from this hack, or if he was involved, he was heavily reigned in by the director of whichever movie he was working on.

That said let’s get into the review.

First off, the action scenes in this film are atrocious, when you realise that they belong to a block-buster superhero film they seem even worse. They are a mad rush of CGI paired with the weakest blandest fight scenes you might ever see in your life, it is so lifeless and boring, it makes you wonder if they gave up on this film before it even started filming, and Fox wanted to release it just so it would cost, new franchise owners, Disney money; makes you think.

Secondly the acting, I can’t even bring myself to really go into this, so I will only talk about 2 noticeable bad performances, the rest are painfully average and feel so underdeveloped that you begin to question whether they even exist. James McAvoy as Professor X and Michael Fassbender as Magneto are the only 2 okay performances and even then, the incredibly bad, prequel era George Lucas esque bad, writing takes away anything it can from either performance.

The first of the woeful performances is Sophie Turner as Jean Grey. If I had to put together a list of the worst performances, or worst actors of 2019 Turner would surely be on it. I understand she was in Game Of Thrones and that was popular, empathies on was, but that doesn’t mean she is a good actress. Her performance has as much range and emotion as a bin bag floating down the side of the road, she can’t maintain an accent and as such it keeps slipping, she just can’t act, she can’t and if Hollywood learns one lesson from last year it should be to dump Sophie Turner as fast as they can.

The second performance and perhaps the more controversial pick is Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique. Never before in the history of film has it been clearer that an actor has only been in a film because they were contractually obligated to be. It is clear from the very first moment she appears on screen, in her human form because Lawrence doesn’t like the makeup, she is being payed millions to wear, that she doesn’t want to be there. Her now infamous line of “you should change the name to X-Women”, made me both cringe and feel annoyed at the same time, and shows everything that is wrong with this film.

Overall, I have to say bravo to Dark Phoenix as it actually made me like the rotting carcass that is X-Men: The Last Stand so well done for that!

Pros.

McAvoy and Fassbender are okay.

Cons.

Sophie Turner shouldn’t be cast.

Jennifer Lawrence should have left when she stopped caring, they should have let her go.

Someone should have stopped Simon Kinberg from ripping the X-Men apart.

The overuse of CGI hurts.

0.5/5

Reviewed by Luke

Deadpool 2

Spoilers.

 

Deadpool 2 is a superhero film following the adventures of The Merc with a Mouth, Wade Wilson, (Ryan Reynolds). The plot focuses on Wade as he tries to stop the time-travelling mutant Cable, (Josh Brolin) from murdering a young boy; who would later grow up to be a ruthless killer. Brolin is superb as Cable, being the overly serious intense presence, everyone knows from the X-men comics, whilst also having a gleam of roguish charm. The interplay between him, Wade and later Zazie Beetz’s Domino is sublime throughout, with Brolin’s no-nonsense Cable working well against Wade’s running mouth. Moreover, and I’m just throwing in this for the X-men faithful, the reveal of Cables daughter being Hope Summers is inspired: because not only does it expand the X-Men universe but, it also works as great abject symbolism. Deadpool 2 is of course incredibly funny throughout, with plenty of smiles and outright laughs to be had. While most of the jokes are crude, there are also some that make you think and tug at your emotions. To carry on from that, the overall tone of this film is darker than the first film, with the themes of child abuse and sacrifice being prevalent. However, this darker tone is not a bad thing, in fact, it helps to give the film stronger emotional stakes, making for many poignant moments. An example of this is the death of Vanessa, (Morena Baccarin) and the impact that has on Wade. That coupled with the bond Wade forms with new mutant Russell Collins, (Julian Dennison) help to give the film an air of maturity; which sets it apart from its predecessor.  The relationship between Wade and Russell is positioned as father and son and, from a narrative standpoint, this works incredibly well, with both characters growing from the other.  Best of all the new character is Domino, who is instantly likeable and hilarious, as well as having some slick sequences. From a narrative perspective tying her backstory into the same place that Russell was being tortured, is a masterstroke in character development and motivations; adding a true sense of vulnerability to her.  I did have one issue with the film, this being that X Force, Bedlam, Shatter star etc, are barely featured. Yes, the deaths do serve quite a funny sequence, but it still feels like a missed opportunity. On the whole Deadpool 2 greatly expands upon the first film, and setups a lot of interesting ideas for the X-Men universe, with it having one of the best post-credits scenes ever, so stick around for that.

4.5/5

Reviewed by Luke.