Director: Bryan Singer
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence
Release Date: 18th May 2016 (UK)
I saw this at an opening screening at midnight. Not because I’m an X-Men fanboy per ce (more I’m on the Avengers/Guardians of the Galaxy side) but one way or another, I have seen all of the previous wealth of films (side note: Hugh Jackman has played Logan/Wolverine more times than either Connery or Moore played Bond in films).
The whole film, especially Magneto’s (the usually very dependable on an excellent performance Michael Fassbender) involvement, just seems so very inconsequential unlike most of the other films. The main bad guy Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) is about as deep as a tea spoon too, usually there’s depth to the characters but apart from when Quick Silver (Evan Peters) retreads the exact same gag as in Days of Future Past (the extended slow mo sequence), you just don’t get a reason to truly care who succeeds in the end. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender seem to know they’ll be reprising their roles down the line too, their performances for the most part seem very phoned in, when I personally like to see them kinda chew the scenery.
Hugh Jackman makes his nearly obligatory cameo too. In First Class, his one line of ‘fuck off’ was funny at least, here it is pretty obvious that like countless other cameos which are otherwise inexplicable, it’s just so he can give slight fan service and get some more 20th Century Fox dollar. The 1980s setting, unlike October 1962 in First Class and January 27, 1973 in Days Of Future Past, beyond providing the aesthetic of clothes and cars (and a portrait of President Reagan in a Central Intelligence Agency office) provides no actual background, something I find questionable at best seeing as the decade saw almost more uncertainty than the two before it, yet things like Operation: Able Archer (which as it was arguably even closer to a nuclear war than in 1962, would have been the perfect counter point to the Cuban Missile Crisis in First Class), the impending 1984 Ethiopian famine, 1986’s Chernobyl disaster (superbly mirrored in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country) and the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 are all readily available, yet none play any role, in that sense I found myself many times thinking I wish I was watching a better X-Men like First Class.
Overall, if like me you have sat through the last seven (eight if you include Deadpool), you may as well see this but it has many, many flaws, feels like it was doing nothing but setting up the next phase of X-Men films and like X3, provides a somewhat sour ending to an previously truly enjoyable trilogy.