X-Men: Finally, With Robots (2014): Well, I never like any of these movies but what am I going to do— stay home and “read a book that enriches my life”? Fat chance, George Will! I win! Anyways, all I’ve ever wanted to see since I was a kid was the X-Men fighting the stupid robots and this one was supposed to be that, except… They made the robots into these iPhones— they’re not the comic robots, so it wasn’t really that satisfying. (In straight-up nerd language, basically all of the Sentinels in this movie are the bad guy Nimrod instead of classic Sentinels. Those JrJr Nimrod issues are wonderful n all— Dan Green inking 4ever— but because of that, we never get to see Colossus throw Wolverine through a robot, or … the robot fights are just not what I feel like I’ve waited to see this whole time because the robots were too advanced and lithe and T2-ish and not just big dumb hulking T-1s… They “raised the stakes” too high on those dudes for movie purposes which has a logic to it but it took away the whole aesthetic pleasure of the thing to me). I don’t know— I thought I wanted to see giant robots fight godzillas, and then they gave me Pacific Rim. I thought I wanted to see Ridley Scott make sci-fi movies, and they gave me Prometheus. I think the lesson is I need to negate my desires. Oh my god, Buddhism is right!!!
Besides that, besides my new spiritual awakening… it was just weird and shapeless and I wasn’t really sure who the main character was and a lot of meaningless stuff goes down and a lot of the parts just flat out don’t make any sense. But who goes to superhero movies wanting to see Good Movies? That’s maybe just a dumb thing to want at this point— that’s not what they’re selling. ”It’s not about anything” — I’m going to see a Michael Bay movie about robot-dinosaurs later this summer. I don’t get to complain that the X-Men movie’s not about anything. I’ve lost my rights— I’ve surrendered my rights as a human being. ”So this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause." ―Natalie Portman in Star Wars Episode 3.
Here, though, the source material they were mining— what made those Days of Future Past comics so special was something I don’t think they could recreate in a movie in a way that’d feel fresh or fun. Those are probably on any Marvel fan’s top 10 storylines of all time (and I’m not even a Byrne X-Men fan), just because how influential they were— two issues basically spawned out two decades at least of stories afterwards…? But, like, “trope-wise”, it’s exhausted material— guy has to go back in time to prevent horrible future…? It’s hard to make that feel special. Even if it was being made competently. Which here… I’d absolutely say no. Like, even setting aside basic “does one scene motivate the next in a coherent way, do I know who and what I’m rooting for, does a character’s motivation track from one scene to the next” shit, just so little made sense…! Literally, in a ten second timespan, near the end, Magneto the Master of Magnetism’s motivations go from Y to the exact opposite of Y for reasons I can not even begin to guess. Though to be fair, I didn’t see that last movie— I managed to dodge that bullet— so there was a lot of stuff that I wasn’t sure I understood, that maybe seeing that last one would’ve changed…? For example: why is Jennifer Lawrence in these movies??? Very, very strange. The last movie I saw her in was American Hustle. Here, she plays Mystique, and the dialogue is like, “Your name isn’t Mystique— it’s RAVEN.” What the shit??
At one point, the person next to me asked me what Bishop’s power was and I was and am unable to answer. This movie features all the worst X-Men. There are multiple shots of Thunderbird or Warpath (?) looking concerned. That character…? Really? Was Rictor too hard to cast? Or the movie introduces all these X-Men at one point, like Tongue Man or whoever, and then later in the movie it’s like “What happened to Tongue Man? Oh, he’s working at a fry station at a 1970’s burger stand." What?? Why did they even bother…? What?
Action scene, there’s one good scene. Same as X2 only had one good action scene with Nightcrawler, here, it’s the Quicksilver scene, I’ll give it up to that scene, that one good scene was good, and then… Quicksilver just disappears from the movie even though his powers would literally solve the entire rest of the movie / all of these people’s lives forever / et cetera…? It’s that kind of movie where human thought is the movie’s enemy, which you think it’d make up for by putting a lot of interesting visual stuff on screen but the visuals are super-boring (the dystopian future is like no-budget Tron 2), and instead there’s like 5 scenes where the screenwriters were like, “Let’s have someone have a heart-to-heart talk on an airplane.” Most of that movie is heart-to-heart talks on airplanes, right…? Was that just me? The Quicksilver scene was legit, at least. Some folks might fuck with the opening fight with the robots but … I just wasn’t into the robot fights… Nobody should be defending that last robot scene though— that scene sucked. Oh and Bryan Singer remains fascinated with Mystique kicking people. That’s the one thread that unites these movies— that Mystique for some reason is really good at kicking people…? Do they ever explain why she’s so good at kicking people? Why are these movies so obsessed with her kicking people…? There is so much kicking in the Singer x-men movies— “Mystique kicking” and “raping guys” are his signature moves as a director.
It doesn’t really factor into the plot enough to be funny, but I guess it’s worth noting that it’s directed by a guy who (allegedly) rapes young, smooth-skinned bros. I feel like everybody I know has a story about that guy having proclivities towards younger guys, though I guess the whole “rape” part wasn’t something anyone told me before. But this movie’s made All Of The Money already, so I guess people don’t care. I don’t know— it’s just funny to me as someone who likes Woody Allen movies…? I think maybe people resent Woody Allen because his movies are considered high-culture products— people resent the idea that there’s such a thing as art and they’re less than for choosing this shit rather than that shit, maybe…? I don’t know— I can’t figure the math any other way there. I’m sure there’s some tumblr post out there that’ll check my privilege on thinking that’s the difference but in the meantime, this (alleged) rapists’s movie made $300+ million dollars so far so I think that gets to mean we can all get back to enjoying Annie Hall guilt-free…
(Singer for me has always been kind of an object lesson in why you might want to think twice about signing up for a Franchise, though. That guy made the Usual Suspects— he maybe could’ve been somebody. Now? Who gets excited if they hear “Oh it’s directed by Bryan Singer"— nobody respectable gives a shit. Just sub-mental people, and even then, just when it’s with these characters (because for some reason they think he can direct action…? He REALLY can’t— X2 was terrible too, I don’t get it)… I got a Valkyrie and a Jack the Giant Killer that proves it. Obviously there are rewards both financial and apparently sexual and obviously legal— you can afford some pretty great lawyers (whom I hold in the highest esteem)…But man, who hasn’t written that guy off as someone who’s going to make cool, interesting movies? Then again, maybe Usual Suspects was all McQuarrie…)
Just writing this, ways that movie was incoherent are just sitting here occurring to me. Fucking time travel movies. This kind of storyline is basically about suicide, right? ”Let’s negate our present selves by obsessing over our pasts”— yo, that’s not emotionally healthy thinking. That’s not a fun weekend for me anyways, the “I should’ve told that girl something else back in college" weekends. Here, they try to get away with doing something contrary to that but then that doesn’t work at all… Why would they think that’d work? I don’t know. Fucking time travel movies. There’s that Klosterman essay Eat the Dinosaur— I need to reread that— his premise is that the only healthy reason you’d ever want to build a time machine is so you can find out what it’s like to eat a dinosaur. If Michael Bay made a movie about that, I’d see it opening weekend. Take that, Queen Amidala and George Will!!! My Queen Amidala - George Will slash-fiction is going to be the hottest pornz… Here’s a taste: "Tell me about baseball, George," Queen Amidala gasped, while George Will writhed on his Naboo torture-bed. (Okay, this is getting kind of weird I’m going to end it here I’m afraid of my own feelings).