A First Class, A Last Stand, A Wolverine
Director: Bryan Singer
Writer: Simon Kinberg
Actors: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Michael Fassbender, Evan Peters, Halle Berry, Fan Bingbing, Nicholas Hoult, Omar Sy, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Anna Paquin, and Peter Dinklage
Running Time: 132 Minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Production Budget: 200 million dollars
Plotline: In a future where mutants are on the verge of extinction, Wolverine is sent back in time to the 1970’s in order to reunite the X-Men and stop the creation of the sentinel program.
Review: For the first time ever this year a Spider-Man and an X-MEN movie can co-exist, so why am I not more excited? Answer: this isn’t 10 years ago. So when two franchises long past their second installment peak (2003 and 2004 respectively) churn out a decent film, or in this case more than decent, it can still feel a little bit fatiguing.
Attempting a stealth reboot of sorts, director Bryan Singer from two of the best installments is back onboard and shoots a beautiful looking film with an epic time-travelling scope connecting the tissues of The Last Stand (2006) and First Class (2011) while correcting various inconsistencies. He succeeds in this goal with each era of time looking so artfully distinct it feels as if the audience is watching two separate good movies rather than one great one.
The actors expectedly pull their own weight, yet save for the introduction of Quicksilver and the always well utilized Wolverine acting as an audience surrogate, none of characters are given their finest moments. The intensity between Charles and Magneto doesn’t match the heights of First Class nor is the interplay of the older party given much to do.
Jennifer Lawrence who has faced a meteoric career rise is given a substantial returning role here but now plays like a distraction as her character loses her mystique instead of growing into it. Where Rebecca Romijn had an underserved confidence and presence and was well utilized pulling off the intimidating physicality with a better looking outfit. At least here it much improves on the First Class costume it still doesn’t look as good. Lawrence is given dramatic heavy lifting, which is no problem for her but feels like a betrayal and unnatural fit for the character whose fight choreography seems less impressive this time around. I understand she is playing a different version of Mystique that’s growing and conflicted but I find at this stage Jennifer Lawrence, though shown to be a good actress is not a great fit for this role at least in this stage of her career, neither is she intimidating.
Similarly, the biggest problem with this film is though I understand putting her upfront is valued due to her massive career success, and as a center point to Professor Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr’s Magneto. But her plot doesn’t synergize with the Wolverine beats. It’s as if there are two different films here. The film’s past divided against its future cannot stand even with the mighty Wolverine backing it. Yet as two movies side by side with differences the film has enough moments to make it all just work.
Rating: B+/ +2
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— Spoiled Territory —
Within the film’s strengths also lie its weaknesses. There are quite a few plot holes that are naturally fitting with a time travelling movie. For instance, how does Logan know Quicksilver when they haven’t been introduced in the film series yet? Mystique and Wolverine who have a history in the original trilogy yet share no scenes together and their dynamic is ignored despite their top billings.
The future setting is a bit wasted in the way that its setup is taken for granted. We have no idea how we got to a future approximately 10 years after The Wolverine despite last year’s credit tease, it’s hardly established. A fitting direction since its action only serves to add tension and entertain but in the way everything turns plot-wise out none of it actually matters.
As for the past plotline I was quite uncertain of Mystique and Magneto’s character motivations and plans. Were they working with each other, against one another or united against Charles and humanity? I still don’t know.
In a clever bit of plotting, any inconsistencies are shoved in the way of making an entirely new timeline for the franchise as the as a palate cleanser from X-MEN 3 and table setting for the rest of the franchise. It is both a continuation and a closer. Ingenious really but there is a frustration in that all audiences have endured previously over the last 14 years is now rendered obsolete.
- Evan Peters as Quicksilver is a strong addition to the franchise canon. In the separate universe of The Avengers he will be played by the bland Aaron Taylor Johnson.
- This movie needed to be longer. The time flew by.
- X-Men: Apocalypse May 27th, 2016