In ancient times mutants ruled the world as gods. They were respected and feared, worshipped and obeyed. But to each time there must come an end as mortals rise up against these gods and supplant them with science and courage. Yet an artifact of that age remains, clinging on for life; that being………………………………………………………
And yes I’m talking about the movie there not the character. See the X-men movies in my mind come from a time before Iron Man and Captain America, from before the team ups and spin-offs. They had a decent run for their time and place but that all ended with X-men 3. They had lost their director and they had lost their way; right when those things were needed the most because Marvel was here to show people how to do it right. Yet like the Phoenix from the M’Kraan crystal they rose again with “First Class”. They had a chance to go back and do things right from day one. They could have costumes of colour and utilise a team rather than focusing on one “popular” individual. Then Bryan Singer came back. So now that he has “successfully” tied the new X-Men into the bloated already murky continuity of his old X-Men where do we go next?
Well it’s been ten years since the events of ‘Days of Future Past’ and nobody seems to have aged a day, well except Huge Action; who a) is in the movie *cough* “spoiler” *cough* and b) looks less like he should be in a berserker rage and more like he should be telling the whipper snappers to get off his lawn. I guess the rest have some kind of secondary mutation or something. Anyway; Erik is now a steel worker in Poland and proud father to his young daughter; no not that one, no not that one either, but instead his much loved daughter with the power of Alfred Hitchcock movies. Mystique is breaking Alan Cumming out of illegal mutant fight clubs, where he faces of against heavy metal loving pretty boys, Quicksilver has gotten quite good at Ms Pac-Man and Xavier is running a school for mutants who will not be appearing in this movie.
But all of this changes when En Sabah Nur is released from his eons long imprisonment under a pile of rocks. This sets out a series of quakes that manage to reach across the world while only being slightly noticeable. From here Erik’s family is killed by the local angry mob and Raven is sent back to Westchester by Richard O’Brien for help. As ‘Apocalypse’ gathers his horsemen; thus so too must Xavier gather his X-men once more.
So lets start with the good. It looked good and most of the cast are fairly decent. You could just about follow the plot without the aid of a flow chart and Quicksilver’s mansion scene managed to look good and get a few chuckles out of the audience. Think of his scene as the Ant-man/ Spiderman sections from Civil War. Unfortunately while that had a fairly decent movie on both sides of said fight scene I can’t say the same here. Now don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad per say but it seemed lacking somewhat. We’re three movies into this time line and we really only get an “X-men” at the very end to pose before the credits. J-Law has clearly had enough and wants out and while the same could be true of some of the others they can still act while mapping out their future career choices. It also means we get the weird position of a Mystique at peace with herself but non-blue for much of the movie so J-Law can avoid the make up chair. I mean Beast has the same problem but he at least seems to give in in the last hour or so and “hulks out”.
If this were the only character problem in the piece I could let the slide but Magneto is up and down worse than a bi-polar yo-yo as he tries to head toward the super villain we’re all expecting while dealing with the problem of being played by the very likeable and bankable Michael Fassbender. Scott hasn’t found a stick to shove up his butt yet, Storm was apparently a terrible pick pocket despite her powers and Psylocke and Angel are here for the studio to bank on at least one of them being popular enough for a spin-off/sequel/team up. Heck the worse hit for this would be Jubilee who appeared in the trailers and all the promotional stuff only to get about two lines and a trip to a mall before getting side lined until they decide if they want her in ‘New Mutants’ or not yet. But don’t worry for those of you wanting things like character archs and emotion shall have it; as they shove in bits from the other movies instead of bothering to construct new and interesting scenes here.
As I said earlier the movie looks nice and the effects, as countless cities are torn asunder, are up there all right but it leaves the feeling of power levels being dictated by the special effect budget and the script rather than feeling consistent throughout. Yes several people get a power upgrade from the big bad but you can’t help but sit there and ask why En Sabah Nur could reshape Cairo into a towering monument to himself but couldn’t dig himself out of a hole at the start of the movie or where indeed Magneto is going to go from here. Toward the end he is tearing apart the Sydney Opera house while being stood down on the plains of Africa. It was like watching one of those old Golden age comics where they had pumped Superman so far up the power spectrum he was towing planets around.
It’s not a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination but I can’t see it sticking with you and as it seems to draw a close to the first six x-men movies by literally going back to the beginning you have to hope they can do better with the next six.