September 30, 2020
(The Channel Awesome logo is shown, followed by the NC title sequence. Open on NC sitting in his usual spot. He is holding up his Apple iPad to his face and listlessly listening as a whiny female voice is heard on it.)
Voice: Please! Please, please, please, please!
Jubilee: It would mean so much to me. Please, please, please, please!
NC: (annoyed) ALL RIGHT, FINE!
Jubilee: Yes! All right, let me just boot it up.
NC: (sighs, looks into camera) Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. I guess Jubilee just did a new ad for Xavier's School of the Gifted, and she wanted my opinion on it. (looks back into iPad) You know, it's a little odd to be reviewing an advertisement, right?
Jubilee: Oh, I'm sorry. Uh, what commercial special are you up to this year?
NC: Twelve, if you count the Christmas one, but what does that matter?
Jubilee: Just look this over and tell me what you think.
(NC watches Jubilee's ad. In the ad, gentle acoustic guitar music plays, and the "Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters" logo is shown over a field of flowers. Jubilee appears in the ad.)
Jubilee (in ad): At Xavier's School for the Gifted, we provide a home for mutants of every kind.
(Fade to Mystique, played by Tamara. Onscreen text describes her as "Sometimes Hero Sometimes Terrorist".)
Mystique: For years, I've said that I shouldn't have to parade around in this human form, that I should be able to show the world what I actually look like.
NC: Wait, hasn't she tried to kill you guys a lot?
Jubilee: She agreed to do this when I said she could show her true form.
Mystique: Now, for the first time, I'm gonna show the world my true form.
(A white light suddenly washes over Mystique.)
Mystique: Good news! I'm totally fine staying in my human form all the time!
NC: Wait, what was that?
Jubilee: Ugh! The stupid timeline must've been altered again!
Mystique: Seeing as how I was raised with Xavier as his loving sister...
NC: "Loving sister"?! They sure didn't act that way half the time!
Mystique: ...I'm happy to be at Xavier's School until my contract's up. ...I mean, until it's time to move on.
(Fade back to Jubilee.)
Jubilee (in ad): There's even more satisfied mutants!
(Fade to Darwin, played by Malcolm. Onscreen text describes him as "Mutant You Remember...Kinda".)
Darwin: I know it seems almost silly being here, as my mutant power is to adapt to anything... which basically makes me immortal.
NC: (thinking) Huh. Guess it does.
Darwin: But Xavier's School has still helped me immensely, even though I can never die.
(A white light washes over Darwin. He now has sunken eyes and is surrounded by low lighting.)
Darwin: I died stupid fast, going out like a little bitch.
NC: What? Then how the hell is he still alive?
Jubilee: Ugh. The timeline's turned us into a horror series now.
Darwin: I must defeat a giant CG bear in a mental institution because that's what being in X-Men is all about now.
(Blood splatters from off-screen, and an unseen woman screams.)
Jubilee: So, um... what do you think so far?
NC: I think the Star Wars movies have more consistency.
Jubilee: Okay, let me re-edit some of this to match the timelines. Give me a minute.
(NC sighs, puts the iPad down, and faces the camera.)
NC: It's hard to have a fluent franchise when things keep changing up.)
(Various clips of the film X-Men start playing.)
NC (vo): When Bryan Singer's X-Men premiered in 2000, it was absolutely perfect. ...For the time. People weren't as open to comic book flicks, so some of the more fantastical elements had to be scaled down to lure more moviegoers in.
NC (vo): Over the years, though, comic book movies have exploded and are surprisingly still going strong, with people accepting - even demanding - that film adaptations look as huge and epic as what was on the page. Even if it might be a little silly.
NC (vo): This almost seemed to happen with what many consider the best X-Men movie First Class, bringing in the energy, color, and wild imagination the comics were known for. But while the film did well, it didn't do smash-hit well. Part of that may be it didn't have many of the big X-Men names fans wanted to see. (fake cough) Wolverine. So Singer was brought back to direct Days of Future Past, combining the old cast with the new cast. ...The ones that survived. Yeah, you thought Last Stand was a bloodbath? Only five of the First Class cast members survived for future movies. I still blame Ratner. (picture is shown of Brett Ratner) The film was creative and entertaining enough, despite they probably should've done one more film with the new cast for this to flow better. But I get it. You got to keep mainstream audiences interested, and you don't know how long your most popular actor is gonna be playing the same character. I understand where they're coming from.
NC: Where I DON'T understand where they're coming from is with 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse.
(X-Men: Apocalypse logo is shown, followed by clips of the film.)
NC (vo): First off, we already saw who's gonna live in the last movie, so this apocalypse has some pretty low stakes. Second, while comic book movies continued to move forward - hell, even the X-Men movies continued to move forward (clip is played of Logan) - this one decided to take us back to that safe, serious, more grounded X-Men universe that Singer had started, despite some comic book-y elements that clearly wouldn't fit.
(Clip plays of Cyclops (James Marsden) in the first X-Men film.)
Cyclops: What would you prefer? Yellow spandex?
NC (vo): Of course not. We're about BLUE spandex around here. Where you give the other Singer films leeway because of when they came out and what they did for comic book movies, this one feels weirdly behind the times, with boring fight scenes, boring melodramatic characters, and a boring story. Even the next film seems to mock how boringly predictable they've become.
(Clip plays of the trailer for X-Men: Dark Phoenix.)
Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender): You're always sorry, Charles. And there's always a speech. And nobody cares.
NC (vo): Eh, you were off by one film, but I still agree with you. In fact, box-office-wise, these titles should've been switched. So how do we go from wild new energy back to the same-old-same-old?
(NC is interrupted by Jubilee on his iPad.)
Jubilee: Okay, I think I figured this out. Here's a re-edit.
(A new version of Jubilee's ad plays, starting again with the "Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters" logo over a field of flowers and an acoustic guitar musical score. Fade to Bishop, played by Orlando. Onscreen text describes him as "No Religious Affiliation".)
Bishop: Being from the future, I'm excited that Xavier has utilized my talents to go on many exciting adventures.
(A white light washes over Bishop.)
Bishop: Nope! I'm just a cameo now! Looks like we'll have to give all that cool stuff to Kitty Pryde!
Kitty Pryde (off-screen): Nope. I'm a cameo too.
(Jubilee groans, and NC puts the iPad back down.)
NC: This is X-Men: Apocalypse.
NC (vo): We open on ancient Egypt, and I'm just gonna call it. Unless you're THIS movie (picture is shown of The Prince of Egypt), CG pyramids are the kiss of death for your film being taken seriously. (pictures are shown of the posters for The Mummy (2017), The Mummy Returns, Gods of Egypt, and Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen)
Priestess: (speaking in Egyptian) Now you will rule for eternity, my lord.
NC (vo): We see their ruler named Apocalypse - played by Oscar Isaac - is using other mutants to transfer his consciousness and powers into to grow stronger and live forever. Hey, remember when mutants were only discovered in the 60's? Glad to see there were no records of ANY of this eons ago! Eh, but to be fair, those Egyptians were famously bad at documenting stuff.
(Two traitors to Apocalypse break the pyramid entrance supports and seal the pyramid shut.)
NC (vo): But he's betrayed, and the tomb is sealed, resulting in his followed being origami'd and Mars Attacks!'d to death. He's preserved through anime lines, and we transition via pretty creative passag of time told through James Bond's enemies' gun barrel.
(Clip plays of the film's opening credits sequence.)
NC (vo): It's odd, but I kinda like it. However, the imagination stops there as we cut to the 80's - keeping to these films' style of each installment taking place in a different decade despite none of them aging (side-by-side pictures are shown of Erik Lehnsherr, one in the 1930s and one in the 1960s - he looks exactly the same in both) - and we're given the ultimate line of quality.
NC: The greatest, most natural way to get across exposition! You know what it is!
Teacher: As everyone knows...
NC (vo): OH, MY GOD!
NC: How many times does this have to be addressed?!
NC (vo): There is no line lazier to get across information than "as you know"! Because as I and everyone has said a million times, if we all know, why is it being said?
(Several clips are played of film characters saying "as you know".)
Teacher: (in X-Men: Apocalypse) As everyone knows...
Doctor Sid (Donald Sutherland): (from Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within) As you all know...
General Hager (Andre Braugher): (from Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer) As you may know...
Kathy Morningside (Candice Bergen): (from Miss Congeniality) As you may know...
Nute Gunray (Silas Carson): (from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace) As you know...
Admiral Zhao (Aasif Mandvi): (from The Last Airbender) As you know, I conducted a raid on the Great Library...
NC: And you know what's ironic? This is being said in a school!
NC (vo): They probably DON'T know! That's why they're there - to learn stuff! You didn't even NEED the worst line ever written, you idiots!
Scott Summers (Tye Sheridan): (rubs his eyes, speaks via poorly lip-synced ADR) Can I please go to the bathroom? I think there's something seriously wrong with my eyes.
NC: (rubs his temples, intentionally speaks via poorly lip-synced ADR) Something is also seriously off with my dubbing.
Bully: You want to eyeball my girl?! (pounding on bathroom stall door)
NC: (as bully) I'm just gonna keep knocking!
(The bully continues pounding on the bathroom stall door.)
NC: (as bully) Still knocking!
(Scott keeps rubbing his eyes as his bully keeps pounding on the stall door.)
NC: (as bully) Is this what bullies do? It's my first time. Does it show?
(Scott fires an optic blast from his eyes, ripping the stall door off its hinges and throwing the bully backward into the wall behind him.)
NC (vo): This is of course Scott Summers with his powers going nuts in school. Hey, if you're gonna steal from X-Men films, steal from the best. (picture is shown of the poster for X-Men Origins: Wolverine) But in East Berlin, we see Mystique - played again by Jennifer Lawrence - looking to rescue mutants who are being forced to battle.
(Inside the fighting cage, Angel (Ben Hardy) kills the Blob (Giant Gustav Claude Ouimet).)
Fight Announcer: (speaking in German) Let's hear it for the fat man!
NC (vo): (as announcer, over clip of Blob in X-Men Origins) Who - remember - isn't fat from his mutant powers! He just put on a lot of weight! Oh, who cares? We actually saw the fight in that one.
Fight Announcer: NIGHTCRAWLER!
(Angel fights against Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), who teleports around the fighting ring.)
NC: I'm not gonna lie. I thought a battle between Nightcrawler and Angel would be a lot cooler than this.
NC (vo): But maybe that's because I don't care a thing about them.
(Picture is shown of Nightcrawler in the X-Men comics.)
NC (vo): Nightcrawler is one of the most easily likable characters in X-Men history. Yet all he is here is a worried face. Nothing else.
NC: And Angel - I'm not even joking - has more development in Last Stand than he does here.
(Footage plays of Angel (played by Ben Foster as an adult and Cayden Boyd as a child) in X-Men: The Last Stand.)
NC (vo): I at least remember him cutting off his wings, fighting with his father, saving him at the end. This dude fights and...
(Clip plays of Bubba Blue (Mykelti Williamson) in Forrest Gump.)
Bubba Blue: That's... That's about it.
NC (vo): Best save 'em, Mystique. They have so much to offer that we can forget!
Mystique: (speaking in German) Ah, you mean this?
(Mystique knocks out a thug by driving her elbow upward into his jaw.)
NC (vo): (as Mystique) Next time I'll actually hit you!
(Scene plays again in slow-motion to show Mystique's elbow never touched the thug's face.)
(Mystique overloads the club's power grid, causing an electrical surge, and the crowd runs away.)
NC (vo): She helps them escape, but meanwhile in Poland, we see Magneto - played again by Michael Fassbender - has made a new life for himself, with a wife and daughter he's passionately writing obituaries for in his head.
Magda Gurzsky (Carolina Bartczak): Good day?
Erik: Better now.
NC (vo): (narrating as Erik) She was kind and generous, always patient with her husband. Killed by... uh... falling building? Evil mutant? No, humanity! It's always humanity. What am I thinking? (normally) Yeah, Fassbender is still great in this role, but his new life is so clearly manufactured just to be taken away, you might as well show his cute daughter feeding deer-- OH, COME ON!
(Sure enough, Nina Gurzsky is shown feeding deer.)
Nina Gurzsky: Where did you learn that song, papa?
Erik: I learned it from my parents. And one day, you'll sing it to your children too.
NC (vo): (as Nina) Oh, come on, dad. I'm eight, and even I know what's gonna happen to me.
Erik: (opens Nina's locket) And here. With you.
NC: (as Erik) It's my clench locket. I will hold it tight in my hand when you... don't... die.
NC (vo): (as Nina, disbelievingly) Daddy...
NC: (as Erik) I'm just hoping someone somewhere hasn't seen a movie yet!
NC (vo): Meanwhile, Scott - a.k.a. Cyclops - is taken by his brother Alex - a.k.a. Havoc - to Xavier's school, where he bumps into Jean Grey - played this time by Sophie Turner.
Scott: I just heard you in my head.
Jean Grey: I'm telepathic. I read minds.
Scott: Well, stay out of mine. I don't need some weird girl creeping around in there.
NC: He's the most hated X-Man why?
NC (vo): They're also greeted by Hank - played again by Nicholas Hoult.
Alex Summers (Lucas Till): Whoa! What happened to the big blue furry you?
Hank McCoy: I... I keep him under control now.
NC: (as Hank) That's code for "I didn't want to put on that damn makeup."
NC (vo): (as Alex) Oh, the Jennifer Lawrence motto.
NC: (as Hank) Exactly.
NC (vo): Cyclops is introduced to Xavier - played again by James McAvoy - who wants to test out his powers in the most safe, controlled, highly populated area on campus.
Charles Xavier: My grandfather planted that tree.
(Xavier's grandfather's tree falls after Cyclops blasts it with his eye beams.)
Xavier: I think that was probably my favorite tree.
Scott: Does that mean I'm expelled?
Xavier: Oh, on the contrary.
NC: (as Xavier) I'm going to MURDER you.
Xavier: You're enrolled.
NC (vo): (as Xavier) You'll find I'm rather insane in these movies. There's a jet under the basketball court, and I slay all of you in the future. (clip is played of Xavier in Logan) We're all about consistency here. (speaking normally) And because these movies still have no idea what to do with Jean, she just acts tormented again because everyone thinks that's all we want to see out of her.
(Xavier reads Jean's mind and sees visions of Apocalypse and the Phoenix Force.)
(Jean wakes up.)
NC (vo): (as Jean) I just saw a sneak peek of Dark Phoenix!
NC (vo): (as Xavier) We are so screwed.
(Jubilee interrupts NC's review.)
Jubilee: Oh, this is perfect! I just edited the scene where Jean talks about her experience at Xavier's school!
(NC looks exasperated as Jean Grey's portion of Jubilee's ad starts playing. Cut to Jean Grey, played by Aiyanna. Onscreen text describes her as "No One's Favorite Mutant".)
Jean (in ad): As one of Xavier's closest students, I try to be the heart of the team by listening to everyone's problems and helping them through their emotional journeys.
(A white light washes over Jean. She's now sitting in a sassier pose.)
Jean (in ad): So I basically offer NO advice, but everyone tells me I'm important.
Jubilee: Damn it! Stupid timeline!
Jean (in ad): Though I have a generically kind personality, it'll serve as contrast when I become angry and psychologically tortured.
(A white light washes over Jean again. She's now sultrily lying on her side.)
Jean (in ad): I've always been angry and psychologically tortured.
NC: Okay, hold up. (turns to camera) This does bring up how the films never got Jean right.
(Pictures are shown of Jean Grey in the comics.)
NC (vo): It's not that Jean is a phenomenal character or anything, but you can clearly see what her role is. She's the Counselor Troi of the group. Someone who can read minds and uses it sometimes to attack but more often to heal. It's not as cool as, say, Gambit or Rogue, but it's still an important component. And both the comic and TV show utilized it.
(Various clips are played of Jean Grey in X-Men: The Animated Series.)
Jean: (to Wolverine) What happened isn't his fault. It's not your fault either.
Cyclops: Do you think I did the right thing?
Jean: You did what you HAD to do. So did they.
Jean: (to Wolverine) You're supposed to be resting. Even you can't heal this fast.
Jean: (to Cyclops) You're doing the best you can, but you're no good to the Professor when you're like this. Relax a little.
NC (vo): She helps people out by listening to them and being the words of kind wisdom. That's why the Phoenix Saga left such an impact, because she was so understanding and patient and becoming a power-hungry mass murderer was very jarring to see. But in the films, even when she's played well, she's still either just the prize or crazy. Just because other characters are drawn to her for no reason doesn't mean WE'LL be drawn to her for no reason.
Jean (in ad): Well, what would you prefer? Yellow spandex?
(A white light washes over Jean yet again. She's now lying on her back with her legs pointing up.)
Jean (in ad): Good news! We now wear yellow spandex! (clip next to Jean is played of Dark Phoenix with the X-Men wearing yellow)
NC: (sighs and rolls his eyes)
Jubilee: (points at her yellow gloves) Hey, that stuff comes in handy! You never know when apocalyptic dishes may need to be washed!
(Back to the review.)
NC (vo): Back in Poland, Erik's coworkers figure out that he's the famous mutant terrorist.
Soldier: (holding up newspaper clipping, speaking Polish) Is this you? Are you the one they call Magneto? (pronounced with soft "e" like "Mag-NEH-to")
NC: (as Erik) Actually, it's Mag-NEE-to. Damn it!
(Birds start swarming around the officers.)
Soldier: (speaking Polish) She's one of them?
NC (vo): His daughter tries using her powers to scare them off, resulting in the most one-in-a-million shot of an arrow piercing his daughter, going through her back, and stabbing his wife as well. I'm sure there's a fly that got impaled at the end of that too.
Erik: (sobbing) No, no, please, please...!
NC (vo): (as soldier 1) My God, he's really trying.
Rob Walker (vo): (as soldier 2) He does know this is the NINTH of these films, right?
NC (vo): (as soldier 3) This is my first appearance, and even I'M phoning it in.
(Erik uses Nina's locket to stab the soldiers in the neck, killing them one-by-one.)
NC (vo): He turns his clench locket into a revenge locket, while in Egypt, Apocalypse is resurrected by some sort of cult, and he saves a young thief who will end up becoming Storm.
Apocalypse: (speaking Egyptian) You can't feel it, can you?
(Apocalypse uses his mutant powers to fuse an Egyptian thug into a stone wall.)
NC (vo): (as Apocalypse) I do enjoy "building" you up. Get it? Because you're a building? Eh, doesn't matter. You're dead. (normally) Wanna know how dumb this movie thinks you are? Xavier visits Moira MacTaggert, who explains to him how, if Apocalypse is real, he'll gather four horsemen to complete his mission.
Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne): Some kind of... apocalypse.
Xavier: The end of the world.
NC: Yes. They actually think you don't know what "apocalypse" means.
Moira: Some kind of... apocalypse.
(Picture next to Moira is shown of Deadshot (Will Smith) in Suicide Squad.)
NC (vo): (as Deadshot) So what? We're some kind of X-Men Squad?
Xavier: The end of the world.
NC (vo): (as Moira) Yes. I work for the CIA, Charles. I know what "apocalypse" means.
NC (vo): (as Xavier) Well, as everybody knows--
NC (vo): (as Moira) Oh, piss off! (normally) Speaking of which, Apocalypse goes with Storm to her hideout and catches up on history by touching the TV.
Ororo Munroe (Alexandra Shipp): What are you doing?
(Audio clip of Johnny 5 is played over clips of X-Men: Apocalypse.)
Johnny 5: Input, input, input! Whoo, whoo!
Apocalypse: False gods.
NC: So, much like the comic, Apocalypse's powers are a little vague.
NC (vo): I guess he can search the worldwide TV, upgrade mutants, and... wall people. But we're never given the limit of what he can or can't do, which doesn't make him the most intimidating threat. His design I also don't think is as bad as everyone was making it out to be. I mean, it's not GREAT, but the original's not the easiest design to work with. (picture is shown of Apocalypse in the comics) My biggest problem is just his height. If you told me THIS guy (referring to comics Apocalypse) was gonna destroy the world, I'd believe it. If you told me THIS guy (referring to film Apocalypse) was gonna destroy the world, I'd say, "With what? A Papa Smurf rendition of 'King Tut'?" (picture next to Apocalypse is shown of Steve Martin performing "King Tut" on Saturday Night Live) I'm not going to lose sleep over this dude.
(Cut to Mystique and Nightcrawler.)
NC (vo): Eh, it's been over an hour and a half. I GUESS we can cut back to our third-billed star.
Caliban (Tómas Lemarquis): Always good to see your face. Even if it's not yours.
NC: (as Caliban) I was just about to do the Time Warp again.
NC (vo): Mystique decides to take Nightcrawler to Xavier's, where he's introduced to Cyclops, Jean, and... Jubilee?
(Jubilee (Heather) interrupts the review again.)
Jubilee: Whoo! Finally, a time period where my clothes make sense! (looks at her rubber gloves) ...Kinda.
NC: Yeah, it's just that...
NC: Jubilee's now the same age as...
NC (vo): ...Cyclops, Jean, and Storm? Which technically means she's older than Gambit, Rogue, and Kitty Pryde?
NC: That feels... wrong somehow.
Jubilee: Oh, come on. I'm still the same age in the other X-Men movies.
NC: Hey, wait, that's a good point. One of the things altered...
NC (vo): ...by the timeline is when Jubilee was born? In fact, Angel's born at a different time too?
NC: This doesn't make any sense!
Jubilee: Look, I'm about to take them to the mall and actually give this movie some personality.
NC: (sighs) You're right. Everyone's been so mopey and down in these movies. Let's finally connect with these characters and show they have some humanity.
Nightcrawler: I'd like to go to the mall.
Scott: All right. Where does he keep his cars?
(Scene cuts away to Apocalypse, Storm, and Psylocke.)
NC: Oh, let me guess. We don't see them go to the mall, do we?
NC (vo): The one time we can ACTUALLY give likability to anyone, and it's thrown away for costume upgrades.
Jubilee: Well, there is a scene of us exiting a movie.
(The movie in question is Return of the Jedi.)
Jubilee (Lana Condor): Empire is still the best.
Jean: Well, at least we can all agree the third one's always the worst.
NC: Ohhhhh! (laughs and wags finger at camera) I see what you did there! (picture next to NC is shown of X-Men: The Last Stand) You mean the one that practically...
NC (vo): ...ignored Angel, turned Psylocke into a villain, killed off half the cast, botched the Phoenix Saga, made Storm pissed off, had Mystique switch sides, forced Jean to do angsty faces, was incredibly disjointed, and changed a ton of shit from the comics?
NC: YES! IMAGINE NOBODY LEARNING FROM THAT!
Jubilee: Well, at least I'm not a vampire!
NC: You got nothing.
Jubilee: (hangs head in shame) I got nothing.
(We cut to commercial. After the commercial, the review continues.)
NC (vo): So, after Apocalypse upgrades more mutants who have been unfairly pissed on in other adaptations...
(Pictures are shown of Archangel and Psylocke in X-Men: The Animated Series with a yellow text caption that says, "ONLY IN A FEW EPISODES OF THE ANIMATED SERIES".)
NC (vo): You got Children of the Atom, Psylocke. Count your victories.
(Screenshot is shown of Psylocke in the X-Men: Children of the Atom video game.)
NC (vo): ...Magneto goes to get revenge on the men who outed him before he's so rudely interrupted.
Erik: (to Apocalypse) Who the fuck are you?
NC: Yeah, still riding that one F-bomb you're allowed. You're not gonna recapture the magic of this.
(Clip is played of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) in X-Men: First Class.)
Wolverine: (to Xavier and Erik) Go fuck yourself.
(Back to Apocalypse.)
Apocalypse: I'm not here for them. I'm here for you.
NC (vo): (as Erik) Sorry, my heart belongs to Xavier.
(All the workers in the factory sink into the floor.)
NC (vo): I do like that Apocalypse takes his revenge away, encouraging Magneto to take his anger out on humanity. But tell me if THIS scene works, where he takes him back to where he watched his parents die.
Apocalypse: This is where your power was born. And this is where your people were slaughtered.
Erik: You shouldn't have brought me here.
Apocalypse: Are you afraid to be here?
NC: Can you really take this that seriously with...
NC (vo): ...Spirit Halloween (referring to Psylocke) hanging out in the background? The first film kept the imagery pretty grounded here. Yes, there were superpowers being used, but we didn't see Mortal Kombat Swimsuit Edition distracting us. I'm just waiting for her to say...
(Clip is played of Sindel (Musetta Vander) in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.)
Sindel: Too bad YOU... will DIE!
NC (vo): Apocalypse teaches him to be an Earthbender as Mystique is reunited with Xavier.
Xavier: Have a seat. It's good to see you, Raven. Welcome home.
Mystique: This isn't my home.
NC (vo): You know, that's another really big problem. All the relationships in the past two films are kept separated for most of this film. And even when they do meet up, they're not happy to see each other.
Hank: Raven. You're back.
NC (vo): When Wolverine sees Rogue again, it's nice. You feel like they have a connection. When someone meets up here, they MIGHT give you a look if you're lucky, but they mainly just talk.
Mystique: Charles wants students, not soldiers.
Hank: And he thinks the best of people. He has hope.
NC (vo): Everyone just looks miserable in this movie. X-Men can be dark, but it's supposed to be fun too, and nobody's having fun in this.
(Cut to Peter Maximoff (Evan Peters) holding a Twinkie.)
NC (vo): Well... okay, we'll get to that in a minute. But first, Apocalypse uses his powers to launch all the world's missiles into space. You know, for a guy who wants to destroy the world, he had a pretty good chance right there. But Apocalypse senses Xavier's powers and breaks in. (disinterestedly) Oh, no, the school's in danger. That's new.
(Magneto levitates Xavier's wheelchair toward Apocalypse.)
NC (vo): (as Magneto) Yyyyyyyyoink!
(Alex shoots an energy blast at Apocalypse and the Four Horsemen.)
NC (vo): Havoc uses his Care Bear Stare but accidentally hits the jet, blowing everything up. (gasps) Look out! Fun!
(Scene plays of Peter using his super-speed with Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" playing over it.)
NC: So this is the only scene where the film's pretty enjoyable.
NC (vo): Quicksilver - played again by Evan Peters - moves so fast, he saves everyone before the explosion kills them, all to the song "Sweet Dreams". Yes, I'm bitching about Singer doing the same thing he does in his other movies, and this is beat-by-beat a ripoff of the last flick, but this film is so uninteresting, even a ripoff of something fun I'll accept as something fun. It's clever, it's energized, and for a series that embraced whatever decade it was in, this is the only section that really has an 80's feel to it. If they had these effects at the time, you would totally see this in an 80's comedy. But... all good things...
(Mystique's mutant form is revealed to the rest of the students.)
NC (vo): (as Mystique) Oh, I forgot I turn blue whenever Annie Lennox plays.
Hank: They look up to you.
Mystique: That's not what they need. (turns to human form)
NC: (as Mystique) Thank God I saved some makeup artists their paychecks.
NC (vo): But Cyclops realizes Havoc was lost in the blast.
Scott: (sobbing gasps)
NC (vo): While you're no doubt bawling at the loss of his brother who had so little interaction you'd never figure out they WERE brothers unless you were told...
NC: ...this DOES bring up a good question. Who's the main character in this?
(Various clips are played of Wolverine.)
NC (vo): I mean, I know one of the criticisms of these flicks is that Wolverine gets too much focus - and I DO understand that - but at least there IS a focus. Even First Class, with how well that balanced all its characters, it still focuses on Xavier, Magneto, and Mystique as the primaries.
NC: There's about an hour of the movie left, and I still have no idea who the leads are.
(Clips are played of Avengers: Infinity War.)
NC (vo): It's not like Infinity War or Endgame where most of these people had their own movie prior. I've never seen this Cyclops before. I've never seen this Jean before. Or Nightcrawler. They're clearly different from the other films, so some time should be dedicated for getting to know them, and I feel like I don't know shit about them. But come on, that all had to be pushed aside for this entirely pointless, out-of-nowhere subplot where Stryker comes in and kidnaps everybody to take them to a military base.
Scott: Get in the pilots' heads! Don't let them take off!
Jean: I can't! I can't reach the pilots! I can't reach anyone!
NC (vo): Well, why is that--? Okay. Gotta get to the cash bomb we dropped for Hugh Jackman.
Peter: You know him? Magneto?
NC (vo): Speaking of out of nowhere, Quicksilver reveals he's actually Magneto's son. Oh, NOW you wanna follow the comic?! What a completely random time to do it!
Mystique: Why do you care so much? You see his speech on TV or something?
Peter: He's my father. I met him 10 years back. But I didn't know it was him.
NC (vo): Yeah, I'd stay away from this, man. Singer and subplots about fathers don't mix. (picture is shown of the poster for Superman Returns)
Apocalypse: You will send a message to every living mind.
NC (vo): Meanwhile, on a Pure Flix set, Apocalypse tells Xavier to send a telepathic message to the world about its impending destruction. You know, give them a heads-up.
Xavier: Am I to play a role in this madness?
Apocalypse: You have the most important role of all.
NC (vo): (as Xavier) I'm the hostage, aren't I?
NC (vo): (as Apocalypse) How did you know?
NC (vo): (as Xavier) I'm always the hostage!
(Cut to Wolverine wearing the Weapon X harness.)
NC (vo): Meanwhile, LOOK! WOLVERINE'S WEARING THE THING!
(Wolverine slices his way past the Weapon X security guards.)
NC (vo): I know this scene affects nothing and we wasted dozens of minutes to do it, but WOLVERINE'S WEARING THE THING! WOLVERINE'S WEARING THE THING! You got X-Men!
Jean: Scott, wait.
NC (vo): Oh, and speaking of odd moments I don't want to think about... I know technically Wolverine's been alive decades longer than most, but him meeting Jean as a kid knowing he's gonna want to bonk her in the future is a little... Breaking Dawn-ish. (picture is shown of Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) and Renesmee Cullen (Mackenzie Foy) in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2) Or... wait, does that not occur too? (picture is shown of the Jean Grey School for Gifted Youngsters in Dark Phoenix) What happened to these movies, man?
Jean: I found a piece of his past and gave it back to him. Just the few memories I could reach.
NC: (confused) Well, can someone return you giving a shit? Because that was clearly missing from that line.
Scott: I hope that's the last we've seen of that guy.
(Comedic musical sting plays.)
NC (vo): The students are freed, and we abandon this completely unneeded detour to see Apocalypse and his Horsemen are beginning to destroy the world. All right, so this is usually where the big epic set piece goes. Say, fighting on top of the Statue of Liberty, lifting the Golden Gate Bridge, moving a stadium.
NC: But here's something I bet you haven't seen in a movie yet.
NC (vo): CG buildings getting destroyed!
(Buildings around the world are getting ripped from their foundations and crumbling to dust.)
NC (vo): It barely even registers we've seen this shit so many times. I mean, who's gonna leave this film saying, "Yeah, it was pretty dull, but they do that thing we've been watching 20 straight years of." "Whoa, I haven't seen the guy who directed boring Superman try that! I'm in!"
The Beast: Seventh wonder, 12 o'clock!
NC (vo): The X-Men fly in to try and stop him, while Apocalypse tries to transfer his body into Xavier's.
(The Beast fights against Psylocke, and Psylocke uses her powers to make an energy whip.)
NC (vo): Huh. Don't remember Psylocke using her power as a lasso, but THIS (picture is shown of the poster for Batman v Superman) is coming out, so snip-snip! (picture of Psylocke in the comics is edited to replace her energy blade with a whip)
Mystique: I know you think you've lost everything. But you haven't. You have more family than you know.
NC: Yes, talk softly to get his attention. I'm sure he'll hear you over the...
NC (vo): ...literal end of the world!
(Scene of Mystique talking to Magneto plays again, but with Mystique's voice barely being heard over the surrounding destruction.)
NC: I should point out, by the way, that Lawrence got a lot of flack in this movie for apparently not trying, and I... KINDA disagree.
NC (vo): Everyone in the movie has a downer way of saying their lines that gets very old very fast, but this is one of the few characters where I feel like it works. She IS on the verge of giving up. She DOES feel like she's betrayed herself and her cause. So I totally buy the defeated performance that she usually gives.
Mystique: You know, I really believed that once. I really believed we could change them after DC. Just because there's not a war doesn't mean there's peace.
NC: That is... except when she's in the blue makeup.
Mystique: Forget everything you think you know.
Mystique: I'm gonna go fight for what I have left.
Mystique: None... of that... matters.
NC (vo): She is bizarrely awful when that stuff is on her, and all I can figure is she wants out of it so bad, it's all she can focus on.
Mystique: That's what I've come here to tell you.
NC (vo): (as Mystique, thinking) There is a bubble bath of makeup remover waiting for you. Say the stupid lines, and you can swim in it.
Peter: I'm here for my family too.
NC (vo): Quicksilver DOESN'T tell Magneto that they're related. Nor does he in the next movie, so you figure out the point of that. But it looks like the guy who can fly crashes in a falling airplane. Have fun figuring out that one too.
(Time slows down, and Peter appears in front of Apocalypse.)
NC (vo): (as Peter) I'm here to give you the only other cool scene in the movie.
(Peter uses his super-speed to punch, kick, and toss Apocalypse around the battlefield.)
NC: Can we just call this series "X-Man" and only make it about him?
NC (vo): Apocalypse figures out how to stop him, but Xavier goes inside his head to... give you a scene where he's finally big. Yay! Trailers found a way to trick the fans again! Even Magneto decides to fight for good.
Apocalypse: You betray me?
Magneto: I betrayed them.
NC: (as Magneto) Mystique's acting was so unmoving, it moved me.
NC (vo): And remember all those people who said, (nasally) "If Singer did the Phoenix Saga, he would've done it right"? Well, here you go!
(Jean unleashes the full strength of her powers on Apocalypse, manifesting as phoenix wings.)
NC (vo): Another internet "what if?" totally sodomized by reality!
NC (vo): (as Jean) Remember aliens are gonna give me the firebird in the next movie, so I have no idea what this iiiiiiiis!
(Apocalypse's body incinerates.)
NC (vo): Apocalypse is... surprisingly easy to kill, and everyone unites except for Psylocke.
(Psylocke looks back at the heroes as she escapes.)
NC (vo): Yeah, check out that look. She's TOTALLY coming back. She'll get her revenge in "X-Men: Psylocke and Dazzler Rock the World"! (picture is shown of a fake poster for such a movie)
General: I think our prayers were answered.
NC (vo): So half the planet's a sandbox, but forgive and forget.
Xavier: I was right about Raven. I was even right about you.
NC: (as Xavier) You may want to hide, because you are wanted for literally everything.
NC (vo): "Oh, I'm totally giving that Storm girl another shot, though. Just because she was a HORSEMAN OF THE APOCALYPSE doesn't mean she should do jail time." Oh, did I say yet that Singer likes to repeat the same shit?
Erik: Doesn't it ever wake you up in the middle of the night? The feeling that one day they'll come for you?
Xavier: I feel a great swell of pity for the poor soul--
NC: (interrupting) You never have a plan. Stop pretending you do.
NC (vo): Let's wrap this up with Lawrence acting like she's eyeing that turpentine shower.
Mystique: You're not kids anymore. You're not students. You're X-Men.
NC (vo): Turner's sitting there thinking, "Eh, just once I'd like to wrap up a series on a high note."
(Sentinels march toward the X-Men trainees, and Xavier sits outside the Danger Room as the doors close.)
NC (vo): (as Xavier) I can't watch where this franchise is going.
(Closing title card reads "DIRECTED BY BRYAN SINGER".)
NC: So that was X-Men: Apocalypse. And much like a real apocalypse, it was over before it even started.
NC (vo): When I first saw it, I guess I viewed it as just another Singer X-Men movie, so I kinda lowered my standards. But that's precisely the problem. It just does what those other films over 15 years old have done, minus the charm. Without a main character, without any new ideas, without any real focus, you notice the problems even more. Yeah, those early flicks had issues, but they also had memorable characters, cool fights, and decent enough discussions about prejudice and where society could be going. This tries to do so much of the same yet somehow misses all those key elements. It's like recreating a beautiful cake, but it's made out of salt and salmon. You're clearly missing the important ingredients! The things that should stay the same are changed, and the things that should change stay the same. There just isn't any good consistency. Thank God for films like Logan and First Class because they remind me that this premise can work cinematically. But it has to be given to those who can add more to it rather than take away. Like an expired wine, it only gets fouler with age.
(Jubilee (Heather) interrupts one more time.)
Jubilee: Okay! I think I finally got this down!
NC: Oh, look, man. Too many things have changed. I really think you should scrap it and start from scratch.
Jubilee: But I got Wolverine in this one! Check it out!
NC: (sighs) Go ahead.
(NC watches the final cut of Jubilee's ad.)
Wolverine (vo by Doug Walker): I used to be a blood-hungry animal. But after Xavier's school, I've learned to be a role model of hope for teens all over the world.
(A white light washes over NC.)
Wolverine (vo): [BLEEP]ing everyone's dead in the [BLEEP]ing desert with no [BLEEP]ing light at the end of the [BLEEP]ing tunnel! Come here, you [BLEEP]ing psychos trying to [BLEEP]ing kill me!
(As NC watches, his expression slowly becomes one of pure horror. As Wolverine slaughters people in the ad, blood spurts out of NC's iPad screen, and he turns away.)
NC: Jesus, blood is literally flying from the screen!
Jubilee: It's okay! It gets better!
(Cut to Rogue, played by Tamara.)
Rogue: Howdy, y'all! I'm Rogue!
NC: (looks excited) Hey, hey, hey! Here we go!
(Onscreen text describes Rogue as "Southern Bad-Ass".)
Rogue: When I'm not throwin' cars or flippin' giant robots, I'm flyin' around the world beatin' up anybody who gets in my way.
NC: All right! Now that's what I'm talking about!
Rogue: Xavier's school turned me from an angsty teen depressed by everything into one of the coolest mutants who ever lived.
(A white light washes over Rogue. She is now dressed in black and looks angsty.)
Rogue: I'm an angsty teen depressed by everything.
Rogue: Please don't come near me. That might put a smile on my face, and that would make me sad.
Jubilee: (frustrated) All right! What is going on here?! I mean, there's alternate timelines, and then there's just insanity!
NC: Yeah, this does seem comedically specific.
Jubilee: Somebody is behind this, and I demand that they show themselves! Well?! Come on! WHO ARE YOU?!?
(Jubilee suddenly blows up in a big explosion, shocking NC. Cut to Rogue, who is holding a magic wand. She uses it to turn herself into Harry Potter.)
Harry Potter: Go to Hogwarts! It's a better school! (winks)
(Picture is shown of the insignia for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Text under the insignia reads "HOGWARTS: MAGIC > MUTANTS". As the Channel Awesome logo plays, we cut back to Harry.)
Harry: Hold on!
(Harry uses the magic wand to turn himself into Deadpool.)
Deadpool: Sorry, I just... love a double punchline.
Channel Awesome Tagline: Mystique: I'm gonna go fight for what I have left.
(The credits roll)