Following the second X-Men film, without a single exception, the films in this franchise have sucked. A lot of people say that First Class was pretty good, but the fact is that it is merely the best of the crap. That’s not saying a lot. When I saw the preview for this movie, I thought that this was it – the franchise was totally fucked. This was the bottom of the barrel. However, when I finally got around to seeing this movie, I am happy to say – I was dead wrong. Thank god. Not only did this film bring a franchise that was teetering on the edge of death back to life, but it red-conned the single worst part of it. Well, okay, the second-worst part. There is almost nothing worse than Origins: Wolverine. That film will go down in history for what a piece of shit it is.
The plot of this movie kicks off out of nowhere. Set many years after the events of the third film, a war has been fought between humanity and mutants. What kicked it off? They never really say. New machines, called Sentinels, were deployed into battle. They were able to identify mutants, and used to kill them. But not just the ones already existing. No, they also identified people who are potential mutants, and anyone who was helping them. It was a massive global genocide, leaving only the worst of humanity to rule what little was left. Most of the X-Men are dead, and what few are left have devised a radical and dangerous scheme that could end the war before it starts, or destroy what little is left.
Now, this movie is a bit of a mixed bag in a lot of ways. On the one hand, there are some very great things, and on the other hand, there are a LOT of little plot holes that go nowhere and get REALLY annoying in a big way. Let’s discuss the good stuff first.
The powers in this movie are very cool. It helps that they have some excellent special effects. It makes the use of powers and the battle sequences excellent. That is the very best part of this movie. The X-Men films have always had difficulty making the most of the fact that they have all these people who can do amazing things. It should make set-piece moments more like Avengers than what they have been so far. This movie seems to have taken that to heart. It uses all the potential of what mutants are capable of. There are two scenes in-particular that are so cool to watch. I won’t spoil them, but let’s just say, one involves speed, the other involves metal. Those two moments are just spectacular. The most fun one gets from this movie is watching the awesome battle sequences and how well the powers flow with them.
The other thing is the characters. This is a very dark movie, and it plays to that a lot. But it combines the best of the characters from First Class with our old favorites from the old trilogy. My favorite is Kitty Pryde, but that’s just because I have a thing for Ellen Page. I’m man enough to admit that. Still, Logan is funny and able to carry his role with class. The young Charles Xavier is too much. For real, this guy is awesome. Young Magneto is delightfully evil. Young Beast is infinitely better than the old one. Since this movie is going out of its way to make it so that the third movie didn’t exist, I am down with that. It’s like the third film’s Beast didn’t, either.
Which brings us to the last element that makes this film work – the darkness. A lot like the Captain America film, this one goes to a very dark place. It was very reminiscent of X2. It makes for a more rounded experience. However, the darkness does, unfortunately, lead to the films problems.
The first problem is that the plot comes right the fuck out of nowhere. For real, there is a little lip-service paid to how it all started, but it is rushed as fuck. Same with a lot of areas of the pace of the movie. Characters are introduced with a rushed explanation, only for them to vanish without a trace. We meet a ton of new people, but barely get to know any of them. Some mutants get new abilities that are never even addressed where they came from. Though maybe that is for the best. Perhaps its better to treat something that makes no sense like, in the film’s universe, it does. I will say that it didn’t annoy me for too long. Add up all the smaller plot holes, it does get annoying sometimes in a big way.
But all that is really just nit-picking. The reality is that this film is saved by one of the most fitting endings for a X-Men film. It wraps up its plot rather nicely. Plus, it red-conned the entirety of the third film. Thank fucking god. I think this entire movie was made for the express purpose of making that film not exist. I’m not complaining. It works. It works very well.
This was a lot of fun to watch. It’s ironic that the best films that came out last summer were the ones that people least-expected to be good. There was Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, and now we have this movie. It isn’t the greatest superhero film in the world, but I am glad to say that I watched it. Take from that what you will.
7 out of 10