Over X-tended. Mildly X-citing.
X-Men: First Class (2011) winningly reset the Marvel hero franchise in 1962, as college friends Charles (Professor X) and Erik (Magneto) began to learn about their mutant powers — and how the world views them. James McAvoy (X) and Michael Fassbender (Magneto) elevated each of their roles to create an excellent hero film that neither X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) nor this year’s X-Men: Apocalypse have been able to improve upon.
What we get from director Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, The original X-Men series, Superman Returns) is X-cessive new characters, X-hausting backstory layers and X-tensive FX. We could have done without any of those extras, but at least we get a compelling 1980’s cold war story. One that finds enough new threads in the familiar save-the-world story to pass the time.
A joke within the movie, as the young mutants leave a 1983 showing of Return of Jedi, is that the “third one is always the worst.” I’m not sure if this was a self-deprecating joke or a swipe at the unwatchable X-men: The Last Stand (2006). However, both apply.
This is not a great film, but it’s not Batman v. Superman either. McAvoy, Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence (Raven) and a surprise guest make this film entertaining enough for a trip to the theater for some popcorn and a few disposable thrills. I had hoped for more.
Simply put: A third-tier, third installment with just enough fun to keep me invested in the series. And the Quicksilver bit is getting old — fast.
Award potential: None.
The ten buck review: Worth ten bucks (barely).