Friday, May 27, 2016

Movie Review: "X-Men: Apocalypse"

The X-Men are back in the sixth movie in the X-Men franchise and the fourth to be directed by Bryan Singer.  While this is the end of the second X-Men trilogy, it also feels like a new beginning.  The main thing to understand with X-Men: Apocalypse is that you shouldn't listen to most of the critics lambasting it for its vast number of characters and storylines.  Even though there is a lot that goes on in X-Men: Apocalypse, it's all emotionally engaging and most importantly, fun.

X-Men: Apocalypse takes place ten years after the events of Days of Future Past in 1983.  The world's very first mutant from Ancient Egypt, a being named Apocalypse who thinks himself a god, awakens from suspended animation and sees how the world has become without his leadership.  Apocalypse sets out to destroy almost the entire Earth to start humanity over anew, with only those pesky X-Men standing in his way.  In a nutshell, that's the entire movie, but what gives X-Men: Apocalypse its emotional resonance is the fact that it is the sixth X-Men movie.

This is a direct sequel in the way that The Empire Strikes Back was to Star Wars.  The moviemakers don't waste time reminding us who these characters are or what they're doing, they simply assume we've watched every other X-Men movie.  While there might be a few passive fans of the franchise who do not like this approach, as a fan who has seen all of the X-Men movies multiple times, I was on cloud nine practically the entire runtime.  On top of that, this one and Days of Future Past feel like the moviemakers are finally embracing the more comic bookish nature of the X-Men.  There are a lot more fantastical images in this one that look and feel as if they were taken straight from the pages of the comic books, and as a comic book fan, that's just icing on an already delicious cake.

Overall, I absolutely loved X-Men: Apocalypse and it's my personal favorite superhero movie of 2016 so far.  I know those are fighting words, but all of my favorite X-Men are represented in this movie and shine brighter than these movies have ever let them shine.  From the teenage reintroductions to Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Nightcrawler, it's like Bryan Singer was reading my mind Professor X style to deliver the X-Men movie I've wanted for years.

I give X-Men: Apocalypse a 9 out of 10!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Movie Review: "Captain America: Civil War"

Captain America: Civil War would not have been possible if it weren't for the shared Marvel Cinematic Universe.  If this was attempted without all the other Avengers movies and Iron Man movies, this movie would not be as good, and it is proof that the Marvel model of making movies works when done with enough forethought.

In Civil War, Iron Man and Captain America find themselves at odds over a new bit of legislation that would have the Avengers answering to the United Nations.  Cap thinks the Avengers should remain free to make their own choices, while Iron Man believes they need oversight, thus the battle commences.  While there are a great many twists and turns that happen, I don't want to spoil that for anyone, because all anyone wants to really know is if this movie is worth their money, and that is a resounding yes.

Look, by this point if you haven't jumped on the Marvel Studios train, this movie wont be the thing that gets you onboard, but if you have been a fan of every Marvel movie thus far, then this is going to be an emotional roller coaster ride from start to finish.  This is top notch blockbuster moviemaking and it needs to be experienced on the big screen.  Directors Anthony and Joe Russo really get these characters, which is why it's great that they're also directing the next two Avengers movies.  Of course the greatest aspect of Civil War is that while it features a lot of Avengers and can at times feel like another Avengers movie, it still never forgets that Captain America is the main character of this movie.  While I still personally would have loved to have seen another Cap solo movie instead, like The Winter Soldier, Civil War is a great substitute.

I give Captain America: Civil War a 9 out of 10!