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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin -- X-Men: Apocalypse

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, my blog about movies I own.  Today, we tackle the latest chapter in the X-Men franchise, X-Men Apocalypse.  This originally appeared in my notes at October 6, 2016.

As I wrote in my original review, the end of X-Men: Apocalypse reminded me quite a bit of the end of Skyfall.  When we see what Professor X long told us was his original line-up of X-Men -- Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm -- suited up for the first time and battling Sentinels in the Danger Room, I got the sense that the reboot that started with X-Men: First Class was complete.  NOW we can get into some good ol' X-Men adventures as they use their powers to protect the innocent from those who would use their powers to cause harm. 

Which is weird, because after the spectacular Days of Future Past, Apocalypse feels a little less-than-spectacular.  Maybe it's because it was the same summer we had Civil War, so gigantic teams of superheroes are no longer spectacular.  Or maybe it's because, with this being the sixth film (ninth if you could the Wolverine solo films and Deadpool), we've got the good ol' franchise fatigue setting in.

Or maybe it's because Apocalypse is a less-than-compelling villain.  He's just another power-mad despot, bent on world domination.  He spends a lot of the film just standing around looking menacing.  As does Psylocke, by the way.  Waste of Olivia Munn. 

However, Apocalypse does prove to be the most appropriate villain for the Professor's character arc this time out.  It's 10 years after Days of Future Past, and Mystique's actions to bring down the Sentinels have convince the world that she's a hero who saved the President, and that mutants are not a threat.  Humans and mutants seem to be living in a peaceful co-existence, and the Professor's dream has become redundant.  There are still those who believe, however, that the X-Men should become a reality to protect the world.  Beast still tinkers in the basement of the mansion, working on the Blackbird.  And Mystique, who has been living in hiding, reluctant to become the public face of the heroic mutants, still works mainly underground, and eventually turns up at the Mansion to inform the Professor that this peace is only temporary, and there are facets of humanity where mutants are still persecuted. 

Which is illustrated in Magneto's character arc.  He, too, is living in hiding.  Working in a foundry in Poland, never using his powers, and he's even settled down and gotten married and had a daughter.  He seems to have finally found peace...until he instinctively uses his powers one day to save a co-worker form an accident and outs himself.  Soon, the authorities are knocking on his door to bring him in, and after a tragic standoff, Magneto's family is dead, and he's back to his old ways.  When you see Magneto resort to his old ways and lay waste to those who ratted him out, it truly is a heartbreaking scene.  Apocalypse finds Magneto to be a kindred spirit, and soon recruits him to be one of his new horsemen. 

When Apocalypse tunes in to the Professor's psychic powers, and realizes he needs them to take over the world, the Professor is soon captured by Apocalypse, and here's where the Professor realizes that there are those who would use their powers to dominate, and that the X-Men are needed.

And the X-Men are soon formed, under Mystique and Beast's leadership. to go rescue the professor.  We've got Jean Grey, the returning Quicksilver, and some new arrivals, Cyclops and Nightcrawler, tagging along, to help save the day. 

Of course, they get sidetracked by the Weapon X project, so we can get another gratuitous Wolverine cameo. 

There's lots of good stuff in here.  We get another spectacular Quicksilver scene as he evacuates the Mansion at super-speed.  There's the aforementioned Wolverine cameo.  There is a lot of fun stuff, but a whole lot of "been there, done that" hanging over the proceedings. 

It's good, but not great.  We may be due for another reboot.

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