Miss­ing the X fac­tor

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - WEEK IN MOVIES - Leigh Paatsch

X-MEN: APOCA­LYPSE (M)

Di­rec­tor: Bryan Singer (X-Men) Star­ring: Michael Fass­ben­der, Jen­nifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Os­car Isaac, So­phie Turner, Ni­cholas Hoult, Olivia Munn Ver­dict: End of days, and a daze that never ends

IS X-Men: Apoca­lypse the worst-ever film to carry the ven­er­ated X-Men brand? Per­haps not.

Is X-Men: Apoca­lypse the dullest of the whole lot? Ab­so­lutely. It did not have to be this way. But af­ter open­ing with a corny, col­laps­ing-pyramid flash­back that looks like a deleted scene from the Fe­bru­ary flop Gods of Egypt, the die is cast. (And oh, how the cast dies a slow and mean­ing­less col­lec­tive death here. More about them later).

Any­way, af­ter watch­ing thou­sands of com­puter-gen­er­ated slaves get crushed to death by sty­ro­foam bricks, we pole-vault in time to 1983.

The sole sur­vivor of the big crash has just wo­ken up from a 5500-year coma. His name is Apoca­lypse (Os­car Isaac), and this su­per-pow­ered supreme de­ity is most displeased with what has be­come of the world while he was sleep­ing.

(If Apoca­lypse took a glance in the mir­ror, he’d be even more cheesed off with the X-Men makeup department. He is very blue, and tragi-com­i­cally butt-ugly. Not un­like the love child of a Smurf and a the­atre-res­tau­rant Franken­stein).

Af­ter re­cruit­ing a few like-minded mu­tants – in­clud­ing Olivia Munn’s Psy­locke, whose ‘gift’ seems to be buy­ing bad cos­play out­fits on­line – Apoca­lypse’s next move is to fire ev­ery nu­clear mis­sile on the planet into deep space.

Is this guy sup­posed to an archvil­lain, or is he press­ing for pre­s­e­lec­tion as a Greens candidate at the next elec­tion?

Sadly, we will never know. Mainly be­cause X-Men: Apoca­lypse keeps over­stuff­ing its many un­der­de­vel­oped char­ac­ters into any scene it can. Most ac­tive par­tic­i­pants are on the anti-Apoca­lypse team of Pro­fes­sor X (James McAvoy), and are fol­low­ing his say-so be­cause they ei­ther work with him (Ni­cholas Hoult as Beast) or study at his school (So­phie Turner as Jean Grey).

When the Prof isn’t the­atri­cally press­ing his tem­ples and squint­ing, he will re­mind you re­peat­edly that his old pal Mag­neto (Michael Fass­ben­der) isn’t as bad a fel­low as ev­ery­one says.

To fur­ther em­pha­sise this well­worn point, Mag­neto is shown pen­sively tak­ing a scenic tour of Auschwitz, which could be the most ill-judged scene you’ll see in a su­per­hero picture this decade. Par­tic­u­larly af­ter he joins up with Apoca­lypse and starts wip­ing out whole cities.

De­liv­er­ing de­cent work in such dire cir­cum­stances just isn’t pos­si­ble. Nev­er­the­less, that doesn’t ex­cuse the dis­in­ter­ested per­for­mances of the film’s two biggest stars, Fass­ben­der and Jen­nifer Lawrence (as Raven/Mys­tique), which can only be de­scribed as ‘con­trac­tu­ally con­sti­pated’.

They are hon­our-bound to show up for ev­ery scene as re­quested. But they’re not go­ing to con­vince any­one they ac­tu­ally care.

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