Thursday, May 19, 2016

X-Men Apocalypse: Extinction is Coming!



Non-Spoiler Review by contributing writer Michelle Chee:

This latest movie featuring the mutant superheroes of Marvel is actually the 9th of the X-Men series, with the latest few dealing with how the X-Men founders Professor X and Magneto first establish the Xavier school for gifted children and how they found the first few mutants to join the school, including characters like Beast and Mystique. Looking back, it seems like just yesterday that the first X-Men film was released in the year 2000.

In this latest installment, we see several new additions to the cast, like Tye Sheridan as a young Cyclops, Olivia Munn as Psylocke, Sophie Turner ( famous for playing Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones) as a young Jean Grey, Alexandra Shipp as Storm and Kodi Smit McPhee as Nightcrawler. Reprising their roles are James McAvoy as Professor Charles Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystiqe, Nicholas Hoult as Beast and Rose Byrne as Moira McTaggert.


As you may have guessed, there’s a new villain in town and he goes by the name ‘En Sabah Nur’ (No, he doesn’t come from East Malaysia). En Sabah Nur is played by an almost unrecognizable Oscar Isaacs. If you think that the name rings a bell, it’s because he has a part in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Yup, you guessed it right; it’s Poe Dameron, in a more sinister role.


This time, the villain is an ancient mutant who has the ability to transfer his consciousness to other mutants and absorb their power. Through this he becomes nearly invincible and proclaims himself a God in ancient Egypt, amassing numerous worshippers. Unfortunately, his followers betray him and he ends up buried for thousands of years. In a chance encounter, CIA agent Moira McTaggert witnesses his resurrection in 1983.The news of his awakening also reach Professor Xavier and the rest of the X-Men who become entangled in his plan for world domination. En Sabah Nur then begins gathering four followers akin to the Biblical Four horsemen, God’s angels of doom.

En Sabah Nur is convinces them that as beings with superior strength, mutants should rule over the mortals, and therefore begins his destructive plans.

En Sabah Nur with his leading ladies, Storm (left) and Psylocke.


The Outpost Movie Recon Team (M.R.T.) and yours truly were given exclusive invites to watch this movie prior to its official release and the experience was a real treat. Firstly, the CGI was amazing and all the action sequences were on point, albeit brief. Without giving too much away, you’ll get to see more of the backgrounds of certain characters and something pivotal happens in Magneto’s life that heavily impacts his future choices.

The younger and newer cast members deliver very convincing performances as they portray younger versions of key X-men characters who are struggling to control their powers and how they appear reluctant to use their full potential at first. We see the first signs of how Jean Grey begins to feel the Phoenix developing inside her, and how the rest lived before they joined the X-men, including being forced to fight in a cage:


Contrary to what may be portrayed in the trailers, the movie isn’t all serious action. There are plenty of lighthearted and humorous moments courtesy of Kurt Wagner or Nightcrawler and Quicksilver, who has the best punchlines of them all. The movie has received mixed reviews from various parties, but if you’re an X-man fan this movie really does a fair job of moving the plot along in the ongoing saga. Of course, there are several interesting cameos to look out for in the movie, including the ever present Stan Lee and a certain fellow with steel claws. Also, try to stay after the credits are done for a sneak peek at what’s coming next.

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SPOILER Review by contributing writer Xavier Fong.

I'm a huge Marvel fan and for the next few years, we're going to have a ton of Superhero movies coming our way! Be it the amazing Marvel Cinematic Universe, the sub-par (yes, I still think the DC movies are kinda sucky) DC Universe, or even the Fox X-Men Universe, I'll go for these movies regardless.

The only few Fox superhero movies I liked so far would be Deadpool (The BEST ever!), X-Men: First Class, and X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Please don't get me started on the horrendous 3 Fantastic Four movies, or even the X-Men Trilogy and the two stupid Wolverine movies... Those deserve to be dumped on a deserted road, run over by a bulldozer, burn with fire, and sent to the depths of Lucifer's domain... I think even Lucifer would get nightmares watching these movies.

So yup, I never had any high hopes when it comes to the X-Men movie franchise as almost every installment is an overload of redundant and under developed characters, so-so plot and storyline, and way too confusing and jumpy timeline due to reboots and re-casting and revisiting...

Sad to say, after two successful movies - (First Class and Days of Future Past), Bryan Singer has once again gone back to the drawing board with the ever crowded, loosely and under developed characters, average storyline and confusing timeline...

I'm not saying that this is an entirely bad movie or even a good movie. It was entertaining and at it has its moments, but at the end of the movie, you’d be asking yourself, “So… ummm… What happens now?”

So… If you don’t want the spoilers, skip right ahead to the end to see my final score. Without further ado… Let’s get started with the review!!!

SPOILER ALERT!!!

SPOILER ALERT!!!

SPOILER ALERT!!!

We are first given a brief history lesson and introduction on the existence of the titular character of the movie – Apocalypse, who is about ready to transfer his consciousness to another mutant to maintain his immortality. We are taken right back thousands of years ago to the beginning of the first mutant - the En Sabah Nur (Apocalypse), who is being escorted to the base of the pyramid for the transition process, guarded by his four Horsemen – maybe some hardcore X-Men comic book fans might know these characters, but sadly, they were not given a proper introduction to whom they might be. The Egyptians rebelled while the transition process was taking place, destroying the pyramid’s support pillars, hence sacrificing their lives to once and for all destroy “The False God” and his four horsemen.

Editor: If keen to know more about Apocalypse in the biblical times, check out this timeline on the official website.

The movie then picks up 10 years after the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past. Xavier’s School of Gifted Children now has a lot more students after Mystique’s heroic deed by stopping Magneto from killing the President of United States on live worldwide television. Mystique is now travelling everywhere saving mutants from human slavery, in this case – Nightcrawler who is forced to fight Angel in some underground brawl. Meanwhile Magneto as Erik is trying to live a normal life as a father and husband while working at a machinery factory in Poland.

To put things simple, Apocalypse was awaken after thousands of years of slumber and his sole mission is to once again be the supreme ruler of the world where mutants would rule over mankind. That being said, he recruited his new horsemen in the most boring, non-impactful, and non-sensible way ever. This brings about the X-Men to once again team-up with former friends and enemies, and suit up to save the world from Apocalypse.

The development of existing characters were close to none, as most of them were returning for the sake of returning. Nothing much has developed on Mystique, Beast or even Professor X in this movie. The only character with a little more development would be Magneto as he is trying Professor X’s way on trying to live as a normal human being and co-exist with the human community. That was only touched briefly but he then goes back to his old ways to hate humans as they accidentally murder his wife and daughter.

The beloved Quicksilver from Days of Future Past was developed a lot more from his previous 15 minute screen-time. It is revealed that he is the son of Magneto himself. Quicksilver then goes on a quest to find his father and was given one of the coolest and most hilarious action sequence ever by saving everyone (except for Havok) from the explosion that wipes out Xavier’s school. I would say that Quicksilver’s unintentional rescue scene was the greatest highlight of this movie and this would be my only reason to give a thumbs up to this movie.

The younger versions of Jean Grey, Nightcrawler and Cyclopes face their first battle ever as X-Men.
Other characters would be the young Cyclops, young Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Angel, Jubilee (useless and redundant), young Storm, and Psylocke. Out of every single one of these characters, only Jean Grey, Cyclops and Nightcrawler would be a little more interesting to watch. Cyclops trying to control his newly developed Optic Blast powers was fun to watch. Jean Grey was just as usual, being the Jean Grey who can’t control her powers well enough and has a hidden “Phoenix” power within her. Nightcrawler was also somewhat of a comedic relief in this movie.

The four horsemen, except for Magneto, were very underdeveloped. Storm was a mohawk girl who Apocalypse somehow by fate, bumped into her in Cairo while she was stealing from a merchant then ends up being recruited because of her mutant powers. Psylocke was somewhat of a bouncer or a bodyguard in this mutant safe haven was also recruited by Apocalypse just by convenience. Angel was this angry kid who got his wings burnt from the fight with Nightcrawler, ends up being a horseman for Apocalypse (who somehow can unlock and upgrade a mutant’s power to their maximum potential), because it so happens that Psylocke knew Angel could fight. The recruitment done by the Apocalypse seemed so simple, as if it was him saying that “I can’t find any better mutants to join me. And since they so happen to be there, I guess I’ll recruit them just for the sake of completing my four empty positions.” Apocalypse could have just recruited Magneto as his solo horseman as Magneto was the most powerful and useful among the other three.

via GIPHY


If I don’t read the comics, I would’ve been confused. Throughout the movie, I find myself questioning who is this Psylocke and what exactly is her backstory? It’s like she’s just there in the group as the eye candy and her powers don’t seem to be a beneficial thing as Apocalypse’s personal horseman. Angel barely shoots his metal feathers except for 2 occasions. The second fight between him and Nightcrawler was so boring... just flying, punching and teleporting. Storm, doesn’t do sh*t except to shoot lightning at her enemies. Like seriously Apocalypse? These are your horsemen? Magneto just floats around creating magnetic force fields to guard Apocalypse’s Pyramid? Apocalypse himself would be powerful enough to fend off the X-Men without even having to recruit any new horsemen.

And WTH would you want Jubilee in this movie and she doesn’t even do anything or serve any purpose to the story? So much hype and all she is is another student in the school?

Apocalypse had great potential as a villain, but unfortunately the movie uses him as a means of revisiting existing characters about their new lives, and establishing the next generation of mutants. Apocalypse himself was underdeveloped in almost every way possible. Most probably it’s due to the story itself where he was mostly recruiting his four horsemen and maximizing their powers. Apocalypse wants to bring apocalypse to the world that we know of, but the question is… For what?

CGI was fantastic in this movie. I would definitely give a ton load of credit for it. CGI can only help you so much, but the story is what is important. I always hate it when a villain who is supposed to be the most powerful being on the entire planet is taken down so easily in the easiest and laziest way possible. Yup, you guessed it, a few words from Professor X himself asking for Jean Grey’s help. She unleashes her hidden potential and evaporates Apocalypse with her Phoenix Fire… out of nowhere… Sigh…

At the end, we see a new class of X-Men training in the danger room of the X-Men mansion and this is supposed to what? Lead us to a new class of X-Men movies?

I find this franchise going nowhere but to keep on rebooting its characters in the same universe. When things don’t work out, Bryan Singer always takes the easiest way out, which is to jump back and forth between the past and the future to reset the story. This itself makes the story rather shallow and confusing. His choice of bringing in more characters in the movies but not making any use of them just frustrates fans and it makes the characters very redundant and pointless. Timelines in this franchise seem to lack continuity and does nothing but to confuse the plot and story. The lack of character development makes the story stale even with great CGI and action… Ok, action was just sub-par…

I could say Wolverine’s cameo was rather awesome as they kinda stuck true to the original source when he first got his metal claws. Won’t wanna spoil it for you, but I think Wolverine fans would love his cameo, even though it was just for about 5 minutes.

END SPOILER

END SPOILER

END SPOILER


Well, all in all, I would say that this movie was not all that good, not all that bad. It was just above average. There could’ve been a lot more potential, but as long as Bryan Singer is the director for the franchise… I have very low expectations for the coming sequels if they were to ever get made.

My final verdict –
6.5 / 10


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For all you diehard X-Man fans in Malaysia, the Outpost Movie Recon Team (M.R.T.) have taken the pains to compile all the current offer, promotions, contests and merchandise for you as you celebrate this latest movie installment.

While at the cinemas, look out for the every cool X-Men cast standee to snap you pic as a X-Man or Horseman. Or just massages Prof X's head!


Golden Screen Cinemas are giving out free X-Men Apocalypse free movie posters with the purchase of any two movie tickets to the movie, so you can have Professor Xavier and the rest of the cast members staring intently at you from your wall. 


Apart from that, GSC is offering a limited edition X Man thumbdrive for every purchase of an X Man Combo set consisting of soft drinks and popcorn. 


TGV Cinemas is letting Movie Club card holders a special limited edition X-MEn club card, and if you swipe this card at any TGV cinema candy bar, you’ll get a limited edition double walled X-Man: Apocalypse tumbler filled with your choice of soft drinks.


At MBO Cinemas, you’ll be able to purchase a one of a kind X-Cup with every purchase of a popcorn combo and sip from it while you enjoy the movie.


Caltex is promoting the film by offering attractive prizes every time you purchase a Caltex Havoline® or Delo® engine oil. These prizes include limited edition X Men : Apocalypse T-shirts and a Magneto mask which you can get through a lucky draw. Watch the video to learn more:


Purchase any Xtreme pizza at Pizza Hut Malaysia and join in their Ultimate Xtraordinary Xperience contest from May 19 to 29 to win really amazing prizes including a trip for two to the Gold Coast, a Magneto Helmet, weekly cash prizes and free tickets.


Join Huawei’s Honor X Power event that’s going in until May 30th where you can win yourself limited edition X-Men merchandise by signing up with your smartphone IMEI or SN number and joining a lucky draw. The grand prize winner gets to visit Fox Studios in Hollywood USA, and there are items like luggage bags, t-shirts, caps and vouchers also on offer.


X- Men: Apocalypse opens in Malaysian cinemas nationwide on May 19th 2016, so make it a point to hit the cinemas early. Here are some photos of mutant cosplayers at the local Fan Screening event and Premiere:

Magneto & Prof X: Finally friends or enemies?
Can you name all the mutants in this cosplay shot?

Everyone wants to be mutant?
Find more photos of the Fan Screening event by photographer John Gullidge and of the Premiere by GSC Cinemas on their Facebook Page.


via GIPHY
Don't get Magneto mad...

Disclaimer: X-Men and other trademarks are copyright to Marvel and/or Fox Studios, and their respective owners, referenced here for fan service announcements without intent to infringe.

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