The newest X-men offering is pretty terrible. Its estimated $178 million dollar budget is a tragic waste, as is the 2.5 hours of time anyone gives to it. I’m sure there are lessons to be learned at some point, but the only lesson for viewers now is to stay away—you’ve been warned.
Where do I start? The script is a mess. The story is essentially the Mummy meets the Mutants. Right off the start, it feels old and derivative—move on, nothing to see here. Though there is a through line to the story, you’d hardly know it, with so many subplots (if they are worthy of the name) and enough climaxes to fill an entire franchise of films. If this is a reboot, it only works on paper.
The only actor we could care about is Nicholas Hoult’s Hank/Beast. If he’d been at the center of the story throughout, the film might have had a heart and a chance. But then they turn him blue and put him on the sidelines. The loss is palpable if you’re still paying attention. A talented actor (Warm Bodies, Jack the Giant Slayer, Mad Max: Fury Road), his presence proves that he can carry a film by himself if given the right material.
Many of the other actors are first-rate, and sorely underserved by script and direction. Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy, two of England’s best young artists, try their best in each individual scene, but there is no context created that places that effort into a whole that makes sense out of their hard work. It seems more of a challenge to create a believable world for the Avengers than for the X-men, yet the new Captain America film did it well. Here, everyone and every plotline is so scattered that these fine actors are doing their best in a vacuum. Even Hollywood- and Oscar-favorite Jennifer Lawrence, while not exactly phoning it in, is, shall we say, capable of higher heights. Oscar Isaac—well, we will just concentrate on Star Wars and politely forget about this.
And some of the lines these poor folks have to say! Corny and platitudinous doesn’t even come close. And why, (spoiler alert), oh why, did the producers bother shoehorning Wolverine in for a meaningless and distracting cameo?
I’m not particularly an X-men fan, and only see films like this because I teach film and feel I have to keep up on some of the more popular franchises. The Avengers films are generally stronger, funnier, and far more touching and meaningful than the X-Men series. This one, though, is a reboot on a par with the most recent Fantastic Four attempt. Not worth either your time or reading another word about it.