Showing posts with label James McAvoy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label James McAvoy. Show all posts

Friday, March 18, 2016

X-Men: Apocalypse Trailer # 2 - Review and Reaction

x men apocalypse team movie poster image picture wallpaper screensaver

The second trailer for the X-Men: Apocalypse is here.

After helming X-Men: Days of Future Past, Bryan Singer returns to the director's chair. In addition to the  regulars (James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult), we have a few newcomers: Oscar Isaac as the titular antagonist En Sabah Nur/Apocalypse, Tye Sheridan as  Scott Summers/Cyclops, Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, Alexandra Shipp as Ororo Munroe/Storm, Ben Hardy as Warren Worthington III/Angel, Lana Condor as Jubilation Lee/Jubilee, Olivia Munn as Betsy Braddock/Psylocke, Kodi Smit-McPhee as Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler and Tómas Lemarquis as Caliban.

Check out the trailer below:


The trailer seems to take a leaf out of the recent trailers/TV spots for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and is very action packed. The special effects in this movie definitely look better than what we have been seeing in the Zack Snyder directed one.

Unfortunately, the comparisons do not end there. Just as the trailers have been mostly soulless and joyless, this trailer also gives off similar vibes. Plus, it does not help that Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique is given way too much screen-time.

This obviously comes at the expense of other more important characters like Prof X and Magneto. The only one to survive the Jennifer Lawrence onslaught and come out relatively unscathed is Oscar Isaac's Apocalypse.

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The trailer starts off with Erik and Charles repeating a famous exchange between Ian McKellen's Magneto and Patrick Stewart's Prof X in the chess scene in the climax of the 1999 X-Men movie.



The focus then shifts to Apocalypse. We briefly see his origins and cut to the present where he is recruiting his four horsemen: Storm, Magneto, Archangel and Psylocke. These scenes are adequate.

The trailer goes downhill from here as the YA theme kicks in with the song and Jennifer Lawrence in full Katniss Everdeen mode spouting motivational speeches like: Let's go to war”, “You are not students any more. You are X-Men!

The action scenes look adequate, but somehow the trailer failed to capture my imagination. The movie looks to have been made by a committee that has provided a checklist to be followed: A movie with YA credentials (to capitalize on the Twilight, Hunger Games, The Divergent series fans). This is obvious in the way presenting Jennifer Lawrence in full-on Katniss Everdeen avatar and a cast full of young faces.




All this has been achieved at the cost of delivering a proper X-Men movie. When stalwart characters like Charles Xavier and Magneto are given a couple of token lines (at the beginning) only to give way to a Mystique who leads the X-Men now, it is clear that the studio's priorities lie elsewhere: making profits at the expense of making an actual X-Men movie.

Bryan Singer has been a reliable director on his X-Men movies and other ones like The Usual Suspects and Valkyrie. His X-Men movies are my favorites in the comic book movie genre, right along with Christopher Nolan's Batman movies, Sam Raimi's Spiderman Trilogy and Richard Donner's Superman.

As a fan of most of the X-Men movies, I hope this one too will be good. But my instincts indicate otherwise. Looks like Bryan Singer has bent to the studio system and has delivered a mass product rather than one borne out of his passion and imagination.


cyclops optic blast x men apocalypse image picture poster wallpaper screensaver

Hopefully, one of my favorite mutants shown above would at least get some money shots showcasing his awesome powers, if not proper character development. Cyclops is the best!

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Saturday, December 12, 2015

X-Men: Apocalypse Trailer - Review and Recap

oscar isaac x men apocalypse poster wallpaper image picture screensaver

The first trailer for the upcoming X-Men movie is here. And it looks promising.

After helming X-Men: Days of Future Past, Bryan Singer returns to the director's chair. As is typical of a X-Men film, this one has a large ensemble cast. Joining the regulars (James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult) are newcomers: Oscar Isaac as the titular antagonist En Sabah Nur/Apocalypse, Tye Sheridan as  Scott Summers/Cyclops, Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, Alexandra Shipp as Ororo Munroe/Storm, Ben Hardy as Warren Worthington III/Angel, Lana Condor as Jubilation Lee/Jubilee, Olivia Munn as Betsy Braddock/Psylocke, Kodi Smit-McPhee as Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler and Tómas Lemarquis as Caliban.

Check out the trailer below:



The trailer manages to get one's attention without giving too much of the plot (or) crucial plot/character developments away.

Here is a synopsis of the trailer: Jean Grey is having visions of mass destruction across the globe. She is not comforted by Charles Xavier's assertions that her premonitions are just dreams and will not come to fruition. Moira informs Xavier about a mutant who could quite possibly be the very first one to walk the Earth.

Unfortunately, Jean was right in her thoughts and Apocalypse is here. He has a definite purpose in mind: to destroy the world and create a better one in its place. To this end, he recruits Magneto, Storm, Angel and Psylocke to be his four horsemen. Nice touch there with Moira contending that the Bible took this idea from the mutant himself and not the other way around as Havoc thinks.

We get a look at some of the destruction caused by Apocalypse and his horsemen as the X-Men struggle to prevail over such an powerful enemy. The trailer concludes with James McAvoy's Charles Xavier getting his full bald look. McAvoy makes a fantastic Xavier and I prefer his version over Patrick Stewart's. This decision by Bryan Singer wins brownie points for the trailer right away.

If there was one mutant who gets a bit shortchanged, that would be Michael Fassbender's Magneto. He has no dialogues at all (kind of like Henry Cavill's Superman in the Comic Con trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice).

On the other hand, if there was a mutant who gets too much attention, that would be Jennifer Lawrence's Raven (not Mystique). The significant aspect is that Lawrence does not have the blue body-paint at any point throughout the trailer. I guess the studio and producers want to capitalize on having Lawrence in the movie rather than the fact that she is playing Mystique. Even the first shot featuring her with others deliberately reminds one of her character Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games.


x men apocalypse cyclops jean grey nightcrawler photo image poster wallpaper picture screensaver

The trailer also gives us a look at the new and a younger X-Men team consisting of Cyclops, Jean Grey and Nightcrawler suited up for action. As a fan of Cykes, I enjoyed the brief but powerful scene of Scott Summers going full optic blast against an unseen opponent/obstacle.

Finally, we come to Apocalypse himself. He looks and sounds very much like what a God-like mutant would do. There were complaints about the character being not big enough in the promotional images so far. Bryan Singer seems to have paid attention and we get a beautiful shot of just how big En Sabah Nur can get if needed. His motto is: Only the Strong will survive.




Apocalypse is the main antagonist to X-Men just as how Darkseid is to the Justice League or Doomsday is to Superman. Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder seem to be either clueless or just plain lazy with regards to Doomsday as the recent trailer suggests. Bryan Singer shows us how to pull off such an important super-villain in the right way. Live and Learn, Warner Bros.

Other points of interest: More Quicksilver, which is a good thing.

Bryan Singer's X-Men released in 2000 started the current Hollywood craze for Superhero genre. It is also the longest running Superhero movie franchise. Despite a few hiccups here and there (mainly X-Men Origins: Wolverine), the series has produced some of the best movies in the genre.

Credit to Bryan Singer who has been the driving force behind these movies. He has been instrumental in making the casting choices that have made these movies so great - From the great Ian McKellen, Rebecca Romijn, Hugh Jackman and James Marsden to the current crop of actors including James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Evan Peters. Hoping that he would have the same luck with the new set of actors cast as the younger versions of mutants.

The X-Men movies also enjoy a good blend of humor and pathos, like Richard Donner's Superman: The Movie and Christopher Nolan's Batman movies. Unlike both the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies that tend to be too jokey or the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) movies that are too serious for their own good.

In Bryan Singer, we trust.

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) - Recap and Review

Michael Fassbender as Magneto Erik Lehnsherr in X Men Days of Future Past

This post discusses the movie in detail. Readers who wish to avoid plot spoilers are recommended to skip the rest of the post.

The movie opens in a futuristic world, where mutants and the humans who support them are systemically eliminated by mutant hunting robots called Sentinels. Most of the mutants have been captured/killed.

We get a measure of the Sentinel's effectiveness when they attack a bunch of mutants. Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), Blink (Bingbing Fan), Colossus (Daniel Cudmore), Sunspot (Adan Canto), Warpath (Booboo Stewart), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) and Bishop (Omar Sy) are no match for their nemeses. The sentinels adapt quickly to their opponent's powers and easily subdue them.

As Kitty explains to Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellen), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Storm (Halle Berry), her ability to transport a fellow mutant's consciousness back in time helps avoid these attacks.

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Professor Xavier decides that the only way to prevent this grim future is to stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from assassinating Dr Boliver Trask (Peter Dinklage), the scientist who developed Sentinels. This 1973 incident sparked the outrage against mutants. Mystique is captured shortly thereafter and her unique shapeshifting abilities are used to make the Sentinels a highly adaptable and undefeatable mutant killers.

Wolverine volunteers to be the time traveler due to his healing abilities. Wolverine enlists the help of the younger versions of Professor Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr, played by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender respectively.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Professor Charles Xavier and Magneto play Chess in X Men Days of Future Past

The younger Charles has since lost his way after the incidents in X-Men: First Class. Hank McAvoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult) has devised a solution that helps Charles walk, but in return suppresses his mutant powers.

Magneto is being held in a prison stronghold under the Pentagon, after being implicated in JFK's assassination. Quicksilver/Pietro Maximoff (Evan Peters) helps release Magneto in a dazzling rescue mission.

The rest of the movie deals with the group's attempts to stop Mystique from her single-minded mission to kill Trask. The climax alternates between the aforementioned event in 1973 and the future, where the Sentinels have tracked down the mutants.


X Men Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer with Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier

Bryan Singer returns to the comic book franchise, he started way back in 2000. He has always focussed on the analogy between X-Men and the persecuted sections of human society. This time, he also highlights the fact that we are what we make of ourselves. Our lives are dictated by the choices we make.

As finely executed the action scenes are and the humor is enjoyable, this crucial message is the best aspect of X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Another enjoyable aspect is the number of nods to the previous movies (X-Men, X2: X-Men United, X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: First Class). It is quite understandable that X-Men Origins: Wolverine was completely ignored.


Sentinels are the mutant hunting robots designed and developed by Boliver Trask Industries in X Men Days of Future Past

The movie has a large ensemble cast (even by the usual Bryan Singer's X-Men movie standards).

To Singer's credit, he does an excellent job. Each character and actor gets their fair share of the limelight. Obviously, not all of them get the same amount of screentime. Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Shawn Ashmore as well as the newly introduced set of mutants are more like extended cameos.

I liked the teamwork between Storm and Ian McKellen's Magneto in the climax. It was a rare collaboration and an epic one at that.

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine Logan in X Men Days of Future Past

Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence get a lion's share of the screen time. Hugh Jackman provides most of the humor through his one-liners. His work as Logan in this movie is a return to form, as seen in the first two X-Men movies (also directed by Singer, no coincidence I am sure).

Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique Raven Darkholme in X Men Days of Future Past

Jennifer Lawrence is adequate as Mystique. I personally prefer the Rebecca Romijn version. Rebecca made Mystique the classic femme fatale and a genuine menace. Jennifer does not have the same impact in her performance.

James McAvoy gives a poignant turn as the mentally tortured Charles Xavier. Like the previous movie, he has the more underplayed role (compared to Fassbender's Magneto) and he continues to make a great Prof X.

Equally good but criminally underused is Evan Peters as Quicksilver. As noted in other reviews, his rescue of Magneto is quite possibly the best scene in the movie - superbly conceptualized and executed. Evan's performance is amusing and hilarious. It is a shame that he is written off so quickly. Hope we will see more of him in the upcoming sequel: X-Men: Apocalypse.

Michael Fassbender as Magneto Erik Lehnsherr in X Men Days of Future Past


All said and done, the movie belongs to Michael Fassbender (at least in my humble opinion). He is magnificent as Magneto and takes the movie to a whole different class (no pun intended) by his sheer presence.

Fassbender's Magneto goes berserk in the climax and this will be a feast for any fan of the Master of Magnetism.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Peter Dinklage's portrayal of the movie's main antagonist, Dr. Boliver Trask. The movie does not present a clear explanation for Trask's drive to develop the Sentinels to get rid of mutants.

Peter Dinklage and Josh Helman as Dr Boliver Trask and William Stryker in X Men Days of Future Past

In X2: X-Men United, William Stryker had similar ambitions, but at least Brian Cox managed to leave an impression in the role. Interestingly, a younger version of William Stryker is played by Josh Helman in this movie. He is kind of a right hand man to Dinklage's Trask and is equally lifeless in the role, just maintaining a smug/angry expression throughout.

There are also cameos by James Marsden (Cyclops), Famke Janssen (Jean Grey), Kelsey Grammer (Beast) and Anna Paquin (Rogue) in the closing scene, as Wolverine wakes up in the X-Mansion.

The latest X-Men movie shares its name with the 1981 storyline, written by Chris Claremont and John Bryne. There are significant differences between the two. In the original story, Kitty Pryde travels back in time to stop the assassination of Senator Robert Kelly (played by Bruce Davison in the 2000 movie X-Men) by Mystique and her Brotherhood of Mutants. In the movie, Wolverine is sent back by Kitty to stop Mystique from killing Dr Boliver Trask.


Michael Fassbender and Ian McKellen as younger and older Magneto Erik Lehnsherr in X Men Days of Future Past

Though the movie gets chatty and slows down considerably at some points, the climax and Fassbender's performance make up for these lapses.

Highly recommended for fans of Michael Fassbender/Magneto.

PS: Do not miss the post credits teaser for the sequel: X-Men: Apocalypse. The scene shows a group of people chanting “En Sabah Nur” and worshipping a hooded figure as he assembles a huge pyramid using the powers of telekinesis. The mysterious figure is revealed to be a grey skinned young man. Also seen in the background are the four Horsemen of Apocalypse.

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

X-Men: Days of Future Past - Trask Industries Viral Commercial


James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier in X-Men Days of Future Past Poster

We get our first look at the Sentinels in this viral commercial for X-Men: Days of Future Past, upcoming superhero movie from Bryan Singer.




Bryan Singer returns to the comic book franchise, he started way back in 2000. The movie has a large ensemble cast (even by the usual Bryan Singer's X-Men movie standards). The cast of the original X-Men movie series (Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Anna Paquin, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Daniel Cudmore) comes together with the cast of X-Men: First Class (Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult) to make this movie the must watch movie event of Summer 2014.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

X-Men: First Class (2011) - Review


Michael Fassbender as Magneto in X-Men: First Class

Erik Lehnsherr AKA Magneto happens to be my most Marvel character of all time and Michael Fassbender makes a great Erik/Magneto. Both these factors combined makes this my all time favorite X-Men movie.

After X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), there were reports of 2 separate movies in development: one based on Wolverine and the other focused on the Master of Magnetism.

I was quite interested in the latter and while the resulting movie is called X-Men: First Class, it is quite obvious that the movie was originally intended to focus only on Magneto.

The movie starts with the first scene of X-Men (2000) featuring a young Erik being separated from his parents in a concentration camp in the 1940s. The officer-in-charge notices the young Erik's mutant powers on display and decides to exploit the same. The officer kills Erik's mother to force the boy to display his mutant powers and succeeds in permanently scarring the boy's psyche with vengeance and hatred towards mankind.

In upstate NY, young Charles Xavier takes in fellow mutant Raven Darkholme AKA Mystique into his manor and they grow up together.

The movie picks up later with a grown up Erik tracking down his mother's killer, who now calls himself Sebastian Shaw. Played by Kevin Bacon in the vein of a 60s Bond movie villain, Shaw oozes pure evil. His mutant power is to absorb energy and use it to increase his own physical attributes to finally overpower his opponent. He is assisted by Emma Frost, Azazel and Riptide.

Erik joins forces with Xavier and his band of fellow mutants (Beast, Darwin, Havoc, Banshee and Mystique), as they counter Shaw’s plans to start a nuclear war.

Competently directed by Matthew Vaughn, the movie erases the bad taste left  in the mouth by X-Men: The Last Stand. The presence of Bryan Singer as producer no doubt helped.

Nicholas Hoult and Jennifer Lawrence are great as Beast and Mystique respectively. Other mutants with the possible exception of Banshee and Havoc leave no impression, mainly due to the lack of character development.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender share great chemistry as Professor Xavier and Magneto

James McAvoy is a great foil as Xavier. He is a suave ladies man and does not mind using his formidable mutant powers to make an impression. McAvoy radiates the calm demeanor and wisdom that will eventually make him the mentor for X-Men. He makes for a believable younger version of Patrick Stewart’s Prof X. McAvoy and Fassbender share a great chemistry as the two men who will eventually part ways, as their ideologies differ radically about the peaceful co-existence of mutants and non-mutants.

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Ian McKellen is one of the most accomplished actors and always excels in his work, whether he plays Gandalf the Grey/White or the Master of Magnetism. It is a great tribute to Michael Fassbender that he puts his own stamp as Magneto, despite the inevitable comparisons to McKellen.

Fassbender has a very magnetic screen presence (no pun intended) and exudes immense on-screen charisma as he puts his mutant powers to display, especially in the climax. The scene with Prof X where he learns to control his rage is a textbook example of Fassbender's thespian skills.


Michael Fassbender as Magneto

Fassbender single-handedly makes this movie a must-watch for Magneto Fans and/or X-men fans.

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