10 June 2019

A Boiled Toad Of A Movie

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The X-Men series used to work as a metaphor for those that felt as though they were considered a minority within our society. Black people could relate to the idea of being unjustly treated as a second class citizen and gay people could relate to the idea that if they didn't want to wear spandex then leather was considered their only other option. As the series has progressed though, it seems that there's now an even smaller minority of people that might be drawn to it and that's the four people left on planet Earth that actually still give a shit about these films. I know that coming out to your family must be a difficult thing but after I told my Mum that I didn't hate X-Men: Apocalypse, it wouldn't have been unfair for her to ask, “Have you tried not being a stupid twat?” But out and proud I am when it comes to my love of the X-Men movies. Sure there might have been a few bad ones like Apocalypse, Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and The New Mutants. But let's not forget that this is the franchise that really started the comic book movie boom in 2000 and even more recently, the Deadpool series and Logan have been fucking great. Oh and in case you've not heard of The New Mutants then it's an X-Men film from a few years back that's so terrible that the studio still hasn't released it. If movies were children then The New Mutants is the one that you keep locked up in the attic and feed on a diet of fucking fish heads.

I know that to most people the X-Men has become a sort of zombie franchise; dead-eyed and limping on, despite the fact that the recent Disney/Fox merger has pretty much fucking killed it. But I was still quite excited to see X-Men: Dark Phoenix because it promised to tell the story of X-Men: The Last Stand but without a cameo from Vinnie Jones. At the very least we have to admit that almost everything is improved by a lack of Vinnie Jones, don't we? I can confirm too that having now seen it, that this new version of the story is significantly better than the 2006 version. But only in the sense that being slapped in the face is significantly better than accidentally sitting on your own bollocks. And yet for the first forty-five minutes or so I did actually find myself enjoying Dark Phoenix. I like the characters and unlike the CG-fuck-a-thon of Apocalypse, it felt like we might actually get to spend a little time with them this time. I also really enjoyed the ominous tone that it had as though building up to something terrible which, admittedly, it sort of did. Despite enjoying myself, it was about the ninety-minute mark that it occurred to me that the film had turned into complete shit and I wasn't sure at what point that had happened. You know what happens to a toad when you boil him in a pot? The same thing that happens to everything else. Except that if you put him in a hot pot then he'll instantly perceive the danger and jump out but if you put him in a warm pot and slowly heat him up then he won't notice until he's fucking dead. Well, this film has that same kind of thing in that the movie wasn't instantly terrible but rather there was a slow and constant dribbling of diarrhoea that I hadn't noticed until all I could see was shit.

Having said that, I suppose there was probably a clue quite early on in the movie when one of the main characters of the franchise was brutally killed off and I felt fucking nothing. I won't ruin who it was despite the fact that it's in the trailer and is being openly talked about by the filmmakers because it feels like a spoiler. But I guess I just put down my lack of caring towards her death as being due to the fact that Avengers: Endgame has left me fucking dead inside. However, looking back, it does seem somewhat disingenuous of the film to have a moment in which Jennifer Lawrence's character highlights how the female characters deserve better treatment before it then spends the next two hours either killing them off or completely fucking sidelining them. Apparently, Storm was in this movie too but she honestly wouldn't have made less of an impact if her superpower had been to rub a balloon against her jumper and then hold it above her enemies heads. The way the film highlights its treatment of female characters before getting rid of them all isn't even subtle. It's like an office admitting that it needs to acknowledge the needs of its disabled employees before building a wheelchair ramp that's so steep that it simply slides them out even faster. Even Jessica Chastain's villainess is given so little explanation here that after two hours I understood her character less than I would understand my dog if she were to attempt to communicate with the sound of her own farts.

Also, Michael Fassbender's Magneto has more screen time than Jessica Chastain's lead villain despite the fact that he has literally zero relevance to the plot. If he'd turned up to just start madly fucking Professor X then I'd have understood because this is the last film in the series and that's clearly what their relationship has all been building towards. We're always seeing them playing chess together but isn't it about time we saw a couple of queens being allowing to have their bishops bashed? Alas not. Magneto has just been shoehorned in for the sake of it. So if you were hoping to see Magneto rub his purple helmet across Professor X's bulging, smooth head, then I'm afraid you're going to be left with balls bluer than you'd find dangling beneath Nicholas Hoult's big, hairy Beast. Perhaps this is for the best though as when it does come to the action the film becomes near on incomprehensible. There's a fight scene near the end in which all they have to do is cross the road and yet it takes them longer than a fucking hedgehog that's got his dick snagged in a grid. Not only that but I have no idea where that scene took place with the only clue being that it featured a big red bus and was clearly on a set. As a result, my friend assumed that the third act of this film was set in Wee Britain and I can't say for sure that he's wrong.

You might think that the action should at least look cool though, with all of the various powers on display. Except that it's only been a few hours since I saw the film at this point and the only one that I can remember is a guy who fights by whipping his hair back and forth as though in tribute to Willow fucking Smith. To be honest it doesn't even look like he's fighting anyone in particular as he does it. He had dreadlocks and so it was more like watching Whoopi Goldberg get jam on her head at a picnic and after somebody had kicked open a fucking wasps nest. The final fight is even worse though with it taking place on a train as it's being attacked by aliens. That might sound good but the aliens have been taking the form of the humans that they've encountered and from the way they dress I can only assume that they'd stopped off at a party for investment bankers on the way. Whenever a new alien boarded the train to fight it was like a cross between The Raid and an advert for HSBC. They kept doing this fucking thing too where they'd all arrive in unison as though it was trying to rip-off the agents from The Matrix. But because we were in a pool of shit by now in terms of the slow-drip diarrhoea effect that I mentioned earlier, it was like the climactic battle for the final X-Men film had turned into a dance-off against a fucking Kraftwerk tribute band.

At which point we really have to wonder how bad that fish-head sucking New Mutant film must be for them to have locked that away and yet still expect money off us to see this one. It's a shame too because the X-Men franchise deserves to be remembered much more fondly than it likely will be now. My friend claims that we only keep old people around because of the nostalgia of who they used to be and I guess that's true of this franchise too. I just hope that people can remember this in its prime and not as the downbeat bore-fest that it's ended up as. If this franchise was a human then in terms of the main series it would have been better to hold a pillow over its face as soon as Days Of Future Past was over. But even if it has ended on a low point, I will still fight anybody that dismisses the series as a whole with the franchise having had some of the best moments in the history of comic book films. Who can forget Nightcrawler's attack on the president in X2, the final shot in Logan, or Magneto's Nazi-hunting scenes in First Class? I still remember to the moment in Days Of Future Past in which Wolverine turned up naked and a woman at the cinema I was in accidentally slipped out an entire orgasm. I know that as a whole the X-Men series falls down when compared to the mighty MCU, but it's thanks to the success of the X-Men that there's an MCU at all. The simple irony is that as Marvel Studios perfected their formula for a multi-film narrative, the X-Men simply failed to evolve. Thanks for reading, motherfuckers, and see you next time.

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