Monday, May 30, 2016

Looking at Movies (First Run) - X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

The one superhero movie franchise that Fox Studios seems to get right is X-Men. Even when Fox is mutilating the Fantastic Four series, it still manages to put together some pretty entertaining X-Men movies. But what Fox seems incapable of is understanding how story timelines work, and how important it is to make firm decisions when those timelines change.

Apparently, X-Men: Days of Future Past was a storyline re-boot for the entire X-Men series, but not really. In Apocalypse, there are elements of all of the previous X-Men movies, even the Wolverine origins movie. That means that director Bryan Singer is not able to completely commit to the idea that the timeline was changed in Days of Future Past when Wolverine went back in time and tried to stop the war between mutants and humans. Instead of seamlessly handing the roles of the iconic X-Men characters to younger actors, all Singer did was make the whole thing way too confusing.

Singer's sloppy story telling is found in the details in Apocalypse. Little things like the younger version of Storm having a thick Jamaican accent when the older version of storm (Halle Berry) never had a hint of a Jamaican accent in any of the original movies. I understand what Singer is trying to do; I just think he doesn't do it well. He is trying to reset the X-Men series with younger actors so Fox can make more X-Men movies in the coming years. But it would be nice if the story line was consistent and easy to follow, instead of all jumbled up.

X-Men: Apocalypse has to be a stand-alone movie because (aside from most of the same actors from Days of Future Past) it does not line up with any other X-Men movie. We see Wolverine in this movie, but his appearance is not consistent with Days of Future Past or the Wolverine origin movie. The only thing Singer properly retains from any previous movie is the complicated relationship between Charles Xavier and Magneto. But other than that, this movie stands alone instead of being a continuation of a series.

X-Men: Apocalypse is getting bad reviews because it is confusing as part of the X-Men series, and it is confusing as a movie unto itself. You really have to have some backstory for many of the events that happen in this movie to understand them, but the backstories don't seem to line up with what we see in the movie. This film is hard to follow, and it makes you stop to think about previous movies to try and understand what is going on way too often.

Fox Studios needs to give the Fantastic Four and X-Men series back to Marvel and let Marvel handle the stories. The shortcomings of the newest Fantastic Four movie are found in this new X-Men movie, and they show a stark contrast to the relatively smooth storytelling found in the Avenger movies. Fox simply gets too wrapped up in special effects and forgets that movies are supposed to tell stories. Now that Fox has completely fouled up the X-Men storyline, it is difficult to say what will happen next. The only thing we know for sure is that there will be another X-Men movie, but it is hard to say whether or not it will make sense.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

George N Root III goes to the movies all spring and summer long by enjoying family nights at the drive-in. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3 or send him a message at georgenroot3@gmail.com.

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