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Review: X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) — It’s the End of the World as we Know It, and I Feel… Fine?

Bryan Singer is back to direct his fourth X-Men film; X-Men: Apocalypse. Luke Miksa checks to see whether it stacks up.

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The year is 1983, ten years after the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past. Upon awakening after thousands of dormant years, the first mutant, the immortal En Sabah Nur, Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), embarks on a plan to destroy humanity and remake it under his will. Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and the X-Men must band together to face the cataclysmic force that is Apocalypse and his disciples of doom, the Four Horsemen: Storm, Psylocke, Angel, and Magneto — mutants lured by the charismatic allure of Apocalypse.

X-Men: Apocalypse is the sixth X-Men movie — ninth if you count spin-off films from Wolverine and Deadpool — and the fourth run at the helm from director Bryan Singer. Having practically pioneered the modern run of superhero films with 2000’s X-Men, Singer certainly has experience in films of this nature, but this really is his weakest effort with this franchise to date. Not to say that this film is bad, it honestly isn’t, but it just feels like a stale retread as opposed to advancing the X-Men films to the next level.

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As with most X-Men films, Apocalypse features many characters, probably too many by normal standards, but these films have always been about the large ensemble. Most major characters are actually well formed despite the sheer number of them. Their motivations are juggled reasonably well: senior characters like ‘Beast’ Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), ‘Professor X’ Charles Xavier, and ‘Mystique’ Raven Darkholme (Jennifer Lawrence) get to continue on the paths set from prior films, with the ongoing tragedy of ‘Magneto’ Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) a highlight thanks again to some solid output from Fassbender. But it’s also the fresh faces, the younger cast of ‘Cyclops’ Scott Summers (Tye Sheridan), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), ‘NightCrawler’ Kurt Wagner (Kodi Smit-McPhee), and ‘Storm’ Ororo Munroe (Alexandra Shipp) showing promise for the direction of these younger versions of characters we know and love.

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This Week in Trailers: Monsters University, Jack the Giant Slayer, Room 237, Big-Ass Spider!, More

Trailers Banner Monsters University – Trailer #1

This trailer for Monsters University – the sequel to Pixar‘s 2001 classic Monsters, Inc. – is looking fantastic; light-hearted, genuinely funny, and  full of potential. The once infallible Pixar are in desperate need of a massive critical and box-office hit to get them back on the winning track after the moderate (for their standards) efforts of Cars 2 and Brave.

I am a fan of the classic ‘college comedy’ format and I’m eager to see it as formulated by the Pixar brain-trust, just to witness how a wild college toga party or bong hit is represented in this kind of universe.

The terrific voice-cast features the return of John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi, Jennifer Tilly, Frank Oz, and Pixar stalwart John Ratzenberger; while including the likes of Kelsey Grammar and Ken Jeong.

Monsters University should be a great time for all ages, and Australia will be the first to see it on June 20.

via Walt Disney Studios UK

 

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Jack the Giant Slayer – Trailer #2

If it wasn’t for his excellent history with terrific films such as The Usual Suspects and the first two X-Men films, I would worry that director Bryan Singer‘s upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past is in the wrong hands, based solely on this horribly bland trailer for Jack the Giant Slayer. There are so many clichés here it is painful (Bill Nighy is a grumpy, high-concept character! Rockin’ rock music in a fairytale trailer!), the only thing on display of any actual substance is Ewan McGregor‘s moustache.

I can now see why Fox decided to push the release of this one from mid-last year – blockbuster season – to the relative safety of a March release. Be wary.

Jack the Giant Slayer opens locally on March 21.

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