Review: X-Men: Apocalypse

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Olivia Munn, Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne. Directed by Bryan Singer.

X-Men_Apocalypse_reviewIn X-Men: Apocalypse, an ancient Egyptian mutant is awakened by Moira McTaggart, and he does not like what the world has become in the centuries since his live burial. He finds a few young mutants (Angel, Storm, and Psylocke among them) and – wait for it! – decides he needs to blow up the world.

apocalypseMagneto is living under cover in Poland, with a wife and child, while working in some kind of steel mill or something. He’s trying to live a quiet life, but as he keeps reminding us and Xavier, the world doesn’t want to allow it. I think Xavier finds him and enlists his help, with a bunch of young X-Men, including young Jean Grey, young Cyclops, young Nightcrawler (in what seems to be a timeline inconsistency), and young Quicksilver, in stopping Apocalypse, that Egyptian mutant, from ending things.

The Magneto story is great, and I appreciate the film taking its time through it. The Xavier-McTaggart story is interesting, but there’s not enough of it. And there’s just not enough of the relational stuff that makes other X-Men films so much better than this. Without it, you just have a crazy cartoonish villain wanting to – wait for it! – blow up the world, and that’s just not interesting. I still enjoyed the film, because I enjoy the X-Men and the students at Xavier’s school, but scenes with Apocalypse were just something to sit through, and there were a lot of them.


Review: Ride Along 2

Ride Along 2 (2016)
Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Ken Jeong, and Olivia Munn.  Directed by Tim Story.

rideI had no intention of seeing this film, especially since I never saw the first, but it just worked out that it was the most convenient for my schedule, and I knew I wouldn’t get a chance to see anything until after the weekend, so there I was, ready for the worst.

The worst never really showed up, because Ride Along 2 surprised me by being pretty entertaining.  Even at its least engaging or clever, it’s a well directed, well put-together film with characters I like.  The editing, visual effects, and even action sequences kept me interested, and although I honestly didn’t care how the story played out, I liked the mix of the film’s central characters and just enjoyed the ride.

along 2Ice Cube is a police detective in Atlanta.  Kevin Hart is his soon-to-be brother-in-law, just a month out of the police academy.  An investigation gone bad leads them to Miami, and although Cube plans to work solo, he brings Hart along in order to teach his sister’s fiancé the hard way that he just doesn’t have what it takes for detective work.  They join an ongoing investigation with Miami detective Olivia Munn, and with the help of computer hacker Ken Jeong, they try to figure out who killed the city’s port manager.

Really, it’s not about the story.  It’s about the interaction of the characters, and while I’ve never cared much for Kevin Hart, he’s well suited for second billing to Ice Cube’s tough guy.  Bring your willing suspension of disbelief and enjoy it for what it is.