X Men Apocalypse

X Men Apocalypse | In the follow-up to Days of Future Past, the younger, lesser experienced X Men team are up against the most dangerous mutant ever, Apocalypse, from ancient Egypt, immortal like The Wolverine, and possibly the Adam of the X-Men tree, endowing him with frightening powers.  West Coast Midnight Run presents its music editorial treatment of this Brian Singer adventure complete with a film review starring the music influence of M83, Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren, John Paesano, and the acting talents of James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Sophie Turner, Michael Fassbender, Oscar Isaac (Star Wars), Nicholaus Hoult, and Evan Peters.



Hold on to your Brit-chez as we prep our review with an exceptional music editorial video treatment of X Men Apocalypse featuring the inspirations of Tiesto, Sarah McLachlan and Delirium.  The movie has Annie Lennox and Sweet Dreams set to Quicksilver action, we have Delirium and much more, three music video editorial pieces in all.



X-MEN APOCALYPSE FILM REVIEW

For Marvel, X-Men is possibly the longest running franchise of the lot, one that gained mega success early before all the other series started spreading their wings.  The success of X Men is to a great extent the same interactive character play that viewers relish in The Avengers or The Justice League (DC Comics).  Both series generate audience appeal from using a large cast of superhero characters, their struggle to play cordial teammates even though many of them thrive best by being on their own and the massive action these team-ups of super powered characters require and generate resulting almost always in a canvas global in scale and action and adventure punching through the roof.

For a series starting to show its age, Fox Studios decided on injecting a new shot of adrenaline by taking the audience into the next phase of X Men, the prequels if you like, starting with X Men First Class, and moving to X Men Days of Future Past, where a new cast portrayed our heroes at an earlier age bracket than the initial series that made Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, and Halle Berry household names.

Enter James McAvoy as Charles replacing Stewart, Michael Fassbender as Magneto replacing McKellan, Jennifer Lawrence as Raven (she has not adopted the moniker Mystique as of yet) replacing Rebecca Romjin, and Sophie Turner as Jean Grey taking the place of Famke Janssen.  Hugh Jackman is replaced by, well ... Hugh Jackman as The Wolverine.  Tye Sheridan is now Cyclops, Nicholas Hoult is The Beast, Alexandra Shipp as Storm (we miss you Halle).  And that only rounds out the regular cast with most screen time.  Others X-Men returning from First Class and Days of Future Past include Alex Summers (Lucas Till), Quicksilver (Evan Peters), Angel (Ben Hardy) and Commander Stryker (Josh Helman).  There are a few more characters but these aren't key to this film.

The younger set of actors may have rubbed the viewer the wrong way in their initial portrayals of our heroes that we grew accustomed to.  Perhaps the gear shift may have been a bit too fast after only three installments, whatever the reason may have been, X Men First Class felt a bit awkward with many faces that were not only new to the series but also entirely unknown to the movie going audience.  The actors that launched the X Men were familiar faces from previous, and in some cases, highly recognizable films.

With X Men Apocalypse, although the actors continue to portray an inexperienced crew in team-up situations, by now most audiences have grown familiar and comfortable with these faces.  And to make these films distinct from the old series, more new actors are introduced in this movie.



Apocalypse is possibly the most "dangerous" of all the dire situations faced by our heroes and their erstwhile antagonists in the X Men saga.  The story, as has now become a tradition with many Marvel cinematic productions, is brimming with plot holes and storyline flaws but that does not stop the film from being extremely entertaining and amongst the best in the Marvel family of films.

The danger, and implausibility, rests in the central story idea that the very first mutant ever is somehow linked to all of the subsequent generations of mutants and not only is there a PSI-based link, this ancestor can control and manipulate all mutants on the surface of the planet simply by virtue of the fact the descendants carry some form of its genetic material in their bodies, regardless of the fact this ancestor was in stasis or limbo for a very, very, very long time and thus was unable to inject the controlling DNA in the mutant population in a more active or quantifiably larger sense.

Our Adam from The Pharaohs of Egypt, renamed Apocalypse, is re-awakened following a forced retreat into oblivion, and when he returns, rather than displaying a sense of misgivings at how the world has evolved or moved incredibly forward in technology and power, or rather than show us a creature that sizes up the fact it might be woefully out of touch with the realities of the present, the First Mutant is portrayed as both cunning and incredibly astute in catching up in one fell swoop with the ills of the world and rebuilding its power base while being completely ignorant or dismissive of the powers that will stack up against him should he start flexing his muscles.




The analyst at the CIA with whom our heroes consult with, describes this creature as supremely dangerous as it possesses in some sense the powers of a vampire or the Wolverine, an immortal that does not regenerate but one that leaps into other younger bodies as it nears its death, presumably it has leaped into other bodies of mutants and accumulated more power as time goes by.  While this sounds immeasurably potent the movie fails to account how Apocalypse builds more and more PSI powers over multiple lifetimes when it is the First mutant and subsequently all mutants after him are diluted copies and less powerful than him.

As presented in the film's exposition all subsequent mutants are lesser creatures than him and under his control, so how does he build his power on his death as he moves his consciousness into lesser mutants and weaker copies of himself?  This issue is ignored in the movie but it presents some viewers with a wrinkle or two that makes the film a little less than perfectly polished.

OK, fine so let's go along with the premise of Apocalypse and the source of his powers.  Did he not also accumulate wisdom or intelligence that would make him second guess the final solution he is about to dispense on present day Humanity?  Someone that has lived multiple lifetimes as a King or ruler of dynasties and empires at the time leading up to the Pharaohs Age, considered in Antiquity to be the Age of Enlightenment, would not have acquired wisdom that would rival those from the Chinese and European empires?  We've seen countless portrayals of the gods of Ancient Greece displaying enormous wisdom, alas the Mutant who is the only immortal god through time did not absorb any despite Egypt's role in history along with Greece and Rome?




Help Me Gene, Help Me

Oddly enough the movie makes a point of calling him "Sabbah en Nour" his original name which from Arabic translates as the "Dawn of Light".  Instead we get a creature with massive powers and not much else despite its claims to be the enlightened savior who is about to cleanse the Earth and make it best for the strongest.  More interesting, the Mightiest of Mutants believes only The Mightiest of Earth shall survive the purification process and shows himself an absolute devotee of an ancient form of Darwinism presently adjusted on a geometric growth rate.  Despite becoming aware and connecting with Xavier, Apocalypse remains firmly on course unswayed by one of the strongest mutants whom he covets for his army.

And thus we find our heroes facing off against one of the most colossal dangers ever to menace this planet, a God (of Life and Death) who is completely unbalanced in its effort to make Mankind's lot better for the future of all existence.  For those of you who may have trekked amongst the stars and done a little prep work for Star Trek Beyond, this Apocalypse conjures up darker nodes of Adonis (another god from that part of the world) that Kirk and Company tango with in Who Mourns for Adonis?

The movie makes cultural errors by differentiating between "Egyptian" and Arabic as current (modern) languages by present day street vendors when the only difference might have existed between Ancient Arabic and present day Arabic.  There aren't two languages in use for the street vendors in modern day Egypt to question the recently awakened Apocalypse who at that point speaks only the dead language of The Pharaohs.

There is also another odd yet amusing thing going on with Storm.  She is sporting a punk hairstyle that is almost from the 1990s in a 1980s era Egypt where everyone else around her is donning 1940s and 1950s fashion and hairstyles.  She looks as if she had stepped out from a futuristic Mad Max timeline into the past, but it's harmless overall to the movie's thrust.


Wolf it, Wolf it for The Wolverine

Of all the X Men characters in the franchise, Wolverine's appeal has been so strong resulting in his own solo movies, and even when part of the team, he gets lots if not the most screen time.  Fans of the X Men will not  be disappointed, The Wolverine doesn't just make a cameo appearance he is featured in a crucial scene where his brazen personality and skills with his claws save the day for our heroes.

But the character is very troubled indeed.  Last time we saw him in Days of Future Past he wakes up at the end of the film after traveling through time to the past to change the future and finds himself back at the school where Jean Grey and Scott are both alive.  He is completely shocked and can barely compose himself.  Jean asks him if he is ok.  He can hardly answer her and stumbles into the office of the professor for answers.  What is odd about the scene is that Jean is an extremely powerful telepath and should have immediately read his thoughts and how troubled he is since he remembers the previous timeline in which he was forced to kill her and stop Magneto (X Men The Last Stand).  But the scriptwriters do not endow Jean with her usual telepathy and we don't see the connect that she should have had the minute he laid eyes on her and became shocked with disbelief.



Back then to X Men Apocalypse, Jean is younger, a novice and she can immediately read anyone, including Logan when he is unleashed in a crucial scene.  

Both Logan and Jean have show-off scenes in this film.  Interestingly enough Jean too plays an extremely pivotal role in Apocalypse.  We wont indulge your curiosity in this review since we feel we may have already revealed too many plot details.

And there is a complete story disconnect between the fate of the Wolverine as revealed in the past before he joins the X Men team and the flow of events as depicted in X Men Apocalypse.  In Days of Future Past Wolverine is fished out from the bottom of the river with metal bars wrapped around him by none other than military officer Stryker who in the same is shown with eyes glowing indicating Stryker is actually Mystique (Raven) shape shifted into the officer.  Was Stryker killed and she took his place?  She takes custody of Wolverine for testing and research.

In X Men Apocalypse, Wolverine is in an "area 51" lock-up and when foes finally clash, Mystique doesn't know anything about Logan even though the events in DOFP are prior to the timeline of Apocalypse.  In fact Mystique asks how her teammates made it through with all the carnage on the military base and Scott just answers "we had help".  How could it be Mystique didn't know Logan was on the base and didn't connect the carnage with his handy work?  How could there be Mystique in one place and Colonel Stryker on the base?




Why Ask Y? X Men are on The Scene

Despite all the characters and storylines he is juggling, director Bryan Singer manages to cram in at least a couple of highly emotional scenes and plenty of humor, some restrained and other moments guaranteed to force a smile on your face.

X Men Apocalypse has an insightful storyline on one of the baddest villains in the X Men series, one that explains much about the ongoing struggle facing their leaders.  And the storyline plays into the deadly and dramatic finale of this movie.

Yes, an extremely dramatic finale awaits our viewers compared with all previous efforts. At one point Charles is almost permanently Xed out from the picture as he cries out practically in a delirium of pain, marshaling his gene, as if to draw from his inner strength, "help me gene", in effect channeling his own mutant gene to push beyond the impasse facing him.  Perhaps there weren't enough X and Y genes bundled together, just lots of Xs and excesses prior to the spectacular action sequences that round up this chapter of the series.

Brian Singer has on many occasions indicated that for him, the X Men is about social misfits.  Judging from the juggernaut success of the film series, one could conclude that the underlying message gained huge followers and has struck a resonant cord with the public worldwide.  In retrospect it would seem that both the filmmakers and studio are championing the notion of, or social critique that, our society is becoming increasingly dysfunctional.  It's something worth pondering once the lights come back on and the images and noise from the film fade to black.


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