So, was this a good movie?
Oh my heavens no. This was a slog to get through, and for a movie starring Michael F. Assbender that should be quite difficult to do. But no! This was bad.
Why was it bad?
Well, for starters, let’s keep in mind that this is, essentially, a remake of the worst X-Men film to date, X3. What’s even goofier is that the same dude that wrote it, Simon Kinberg, got a SECOND CHANCE TO MAKE THIS FILM. How many people in Hollywood get a chance like this?? It was shitty the first time, and just because the actors are different and the plot gets a rejiggering doesn’t mean that the same dude who fucked up X3 is suddenly going to save the idea.
There are things eerily reminiscent of that abomination of the film, from dialogue to costuming choices, and it makes this seem like a recycled version of that. Characters act very oddly from the previous film to this one. People are ACTING. VERY. HARD. It’s disjointed, and strange, and it feels extremely uncomfortable at times.
Uncomfortable? How do you mean?
Uh, well, spoiler alert, there’s a scene where Xavier forces himself into Jean’s mind while she’s sleeping, she begins to wake up and resist, and it just felt like…
Holy shit, like Mind Rape?
I KNOW RIGHT.
Was there anything good about this movie?
Yes, absolutely! It wasn’t an abomination of a film like X3, nor was it as goofily pointless as Apocalypse, or as cringingly painful as X-Men Origins: Wolverine. There were some very solid action sequences, like the one aboard the train near the end, which did a great job showcasing the powers of Storm, Nightcrawler, and Magneto. Hell, every time Magneto is on the screen it’s a win for this movie. Hans Zimmer’s score is very, very good. And y’know what? I dug the X-suits the team had – aesthetically pleasing and far more functional than the leather suits. It’s like they looked at the Negasonic Teenage Warhead costume from Deadpool and thought, “Wow. So that’s how these are supposed to look.”
Neat! How was the rest of the cast?
They were…okay? Jennifer Lawrence’s exasperation with this role was almost palpable. James McAvoy was trying his darndest to sell this film. Nicholas Hoult was…present. But everything else was pretty blah. Jessica Chastain is excellent as a bland, monotone alien that doesn’t really do jack shit until the third act… Hell, Sophie Turner did 100% better in this film than in the previous one, but honestly, Tye Sheridan and Alexandra Shipp were absolutely wasted in this movie.
Shipp is fucking fantastic as Storm. She’s young and powerful and would have been an excellent character to expand on in this film, but she’s relegated to a weapon for the team. Hell, I don’t think they say her character’s ACTUAL name (Ororo Munroe) once in the film.
Cyclops was basically a mopey love-struck teen the entire damn movie, and that doesn’t suit Sheridan’s skills. Hell, that doesn’t jive with the progression of Scott Summers as well: this is a young man groomed for leadership, for being a strong character who pushes his teammates to do better. He doesn’t fight for Jean, he whines for her. Also? Dude has one rad optic blast trick shot the entire movie. Fuck that shit.
And no Wolverine?
Yup, no Wolverine. It’s kind of weird, how they seem to cram Hugh Jackman into every X-movie, even via awkward cameo, and for this one he’s conspicuously absent.
Is this all really Simon Kinberg’s fault?
As writer/director/producer, you bet your sweet patoot it was. Again, this is the same story idea that was already done before in an X-Men film written by him. He made the choices, his fingerprints are on everything. For some asinine reason he wanted to make a small, character-driven movie out of one of the single most sprawling, ambitious comic stories ever told. I shit you not, he actually said this:
“It wasn’t made as a classic superhero movie,” he contended. “It was made as more of a dramatic, intimate, smaller film.”
Like, what the fuck, Si? It’s a star-gobbling, reality-manipulating space god in the body of one of the single most powerful mutants on Earth. What the fuck about that is subtle and intimate? Also, they said the word “Phoenix” once in the whole goddamn movie. Once! In reference to what students were calling Jean after the space mission!
So, what you’re basically saying is that this is a turd of a movie and I shouldn’t see it?
Whoa, hey now, don’t put words in my mouth. Yes, it’s quite demonstrably not good, but it’s assuredly not the worst X-Movie out there. There are good aspects of this movie, good performances, and a better shot at the Phoenix storyline than before. I’d see it, just to get a small sense of closure from this series of film, and to see some really solid ass-kicking.
But yeah, it’s a bit of a stinker that tries to pick and choose what parts of an epic storyline it wants to serve its own purpose. It could have been more, should have been more, but instead came out a limp-dick excuse for a super hero movie.