X-Men: Apocalypse

2 out of 5 stars

To go bald where no X-Man has gone before…

If anything, «X-Men: Apocalypse» is a mixed bag. Let’s call it a roller coaster: An exciting, but extremely uneven experience. Some really great moments carry on for just a little bit too long, some cringeworthy creative decisions lead into funny scenes. On one hand we get some gripping sequences stolen by the new characters, on the other hand I was left speechless by some unused, even wasted talent of the veterans (and villains). Especially Magneto (Michael Fassbender) seemed to be stuck in a much darker, more serious, and in the end, probably better movie. I liked Raven though, who didn’t seem to care too much in a natural way, which both fit her character and her real life counterpart (Jennifer Lawrence).

The X-Movies where always the ones I expected the least of; not including the first one, when the genre was still fresh and exciting. For a long time, this lack of expectation protected me against some serious disappointment – up until «Origins: Wolverine», which barely qualified as a movie.

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On the bright side, compared to, let’s say «BvS», «Apocalypse» never felt like a mess. All the parts fit together somehow and I even got more than a few satisfying fan serving moments and references to past and future plot points,… it all just felt somewhat clunky.

The problem at hand may be that I didn’t feel much of anything, like in most Bryan Singer pictures – I’m often impressed but rarely moved. In contrast, the movies of the «real» MCU may be as constructed and schematic as they come, but I always feel at home, and I keep caring for the characters in the midst of spectacular action and gripping storytelling.

While watching «X-Men: Apocalypse», I think I spotted a solid movie shining through the cracks, but this film wasn’t it. Apocalypse’s design sadly doesn’t look much more convincing than in the first trailer, the character motivations where all over the place, and Olivia Munn didn’t seem to be enjoying her part as much as I thought she would be.

Was I not entertained?! Oh, who am I kidding? I surely was!

Sadly, I never recognized the quality and coherence I thought I saw in «First Class». Not in «Days of Future Past», which was a small step in the wrong direction, and surely not in this one. But I still kind of liked them all. Not like a «real» Marvel flick, but you now, it’s still my childhood heroes,… on the fracking big screen, with costumes, powers and all.

I may be giving this one some extra slack because it’ll hopefully be the last one in the current installment, and it did a surprisingly solid job in tying it all together, bringing the story to a satisfying end.

If you dare, check out my old review of X-Men 3.

Demon in a Bottle

Just re-watching me some Marvel movie goodness and realized that one of the few nods to Tony Stark’s alcoholism (a feature I’d always considered to be central to the character) in the current MCU will probably be Stark’s shitfaced appearance in the nineties flashback at the beginning of «Iron Man 3».

Not to be complaining, I think his daddy issues work just fine as a character trait/motivation,… maybe even better considering his role in «Captain America 3: Civil War», without being too dark. 

Nonetheless I can’t shake off the thought that almost 10 years ago, the powers that where considered Robert Downey Jr.’s drug-related history might be a suitable association for the well-informed comic book fan waiting for the next superhero movie to come (of which there weren’t that many around at the time).

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Of course, that was before we all learned how truly, perfectly Robert Downey Jr. IS IRON MAN and, even without the booze, was defining Tony Stark for the big screen, clearing the path for a franchise we all learned to enjoy in a way we thought we never could. 

(Now that I think of it, there was some heavy drinking in Iron Man part 2, but that didn’t lead anywhere either.)

Demon in a Bottle

PS: This is getting better and better: I think I just spotted a «The Silence of the Lambs» easter egg in «Iron Man 3» (in which the US-president is strung up in the «Iron Patriot» suit. I think the sound given at that moment supports that theory.)