UNFAIR COMPARE: X Men: Apocalypse vs. X Men: The Animated Series (Also with beer)

Man, are you readers (all, like, dozen of you) lucky, as today, it’s time for another edition of UNFAIR COMPARE! These movie articles always seem to be popular. And, much like the big comic book crossover movies that are blaring across screens this summer, this is going to be a CROSSOVER BLOG sort of thing, featuring input from my buddy Jeremy, he of the super-rad (and under-read) A Brew To A Kill. Y’all should go follow that blog. It’s rad

Jeremy here. I’m a big fan of the Unfair Compare series and couldn’t resist giving my two cents. And to tie it into my blog I found a beer to pair with X-Men: Apocalypse.

We’re up to nine X-men movies these days. However, unlike, say, Batman, Superman, or even Spider-Man, all of these movies are ostensibly connected in the same ramshackle continuity. Furthermore, for better or worse, each movie seems to do its own thing, so comparing X-men Apocalypse to an earlier film in the series would just feel silly.

But then, while kicking ideas around with Jeremy, it hit us.

Both Jeremy and I grew up on the ‘90s X-men cartoon, which served as our introduction to the greater Marvel universe as a whole.

x-men-apocalypse-launch-quad-poster

VS.

xmen4

 

We’ve been friends so long that we watched the premiere of X-men all the way back on October 31, 1992.

And, y’know, for the first two or three seasons, X-men was one of the best cartoons on the air (admittedly, both Gargoyles and Batman: The Animated Series were even better, but that just goes to show that Saturday mornings were freakin’ awesome when we were kids). Seeing as of how we didn’t have the time to binge-watch the whole damn series, we quickly concluded we would focus on just one story arc in particular: Beyond Good & Evil. It’s so notable that it even got mentioned on the DVD cover!

Sometimes I feel like I put the animated series on a pedestal. I can see the cracks in the finish now. Some great characterization. Faithful adaptations of the comic. There’s enough good in the show where I know it isn’t just a nostalgia clouding judgment.

Just not as good animation. Like, at the end, Professor X is standing up for no apparent reason.

The Beyond Good & Evil arc has more than a few similarities with Apocalypse. At four episodes, coming out to 88 minutes, it’s nearing feature length (even if it’s dwarfed by Apoclaypse’s overstuffed 144 minutes). Furthermore, both Apocalypse and Beyond Good & Evil feature a lot of the same characters: Apocalypse, Magneto, Mystique, Psylocke, Archangel, and a whole slew of X-Men. And finally, both the cartoon arc and Apocalypse come pretty late in their respective series, so there are some points of connection to be made there, as well.

The Beyond Good & Evil arc has a fairly straightforward plot– at least as straightforward as something that involves multiple time travelers can be. Basically, it boils down to Apocalypse (who the cartoon already established as an “oh shit” kind of villain back in the first season) getting his hands on a time machine, which he then uses to start collecting a bunch of psychics so he can use their powers for plotty reasons to take over ALL OF TIME. It’s kind of like an episode of Dr. Who, only if you replaced The Doctor with a grumpy murderous Canadian, and added more laser guns. (Which would be the best episode of Dr. Who ever, now that I think about it).

Beyond Good and Evil is also noteworthy because almost every villain the cartoon had featured so far was working for Apocalypse (for some … as of yet unexplained reason). So in addition to the various villains mentioned last paragraph, Beyond Good & Evil also features Sabertooth (who is awesome because he talks and dresses like an ‘80s pro wrestler), Mr. Sinister (an evil mutant drag queen), and Mr. Sinister’s awesomely named henchmen, The Nasty Boys. Seriously, that’s either the name of a crustpunk band or a gay dance troupe. They’re pretty great, even if all they seem to do is kidnap Jean Grey over and over and over again.

Beyond Good and Evil is the equivalent of lining up all your X-Men figures and having them fight. The run time is pretty close on how long it would take to pose each figure.

It ends in the same way, someone gets mad and throws them all over the living room.

Man, I remember multiple occasions where we’d hang out and by the time we got all our dudes lined up, one of us had to go home.

Not to mention there are a ton of cameos from the likes of Strife, Moondragon, Emma Frost and even Gamemaster. And I swear that little blue dude is a Green Lantern elder.

Anyway, the plot of Apocalypse is pretty standard. Apocalypse, an ancient mutant demigod-tyrant, gets trapped in the ruins of a pyramid for thousands and thousands of years, only to be awoken by some cultists, at which point he goes back to the whole ‘conquering the world’ business. It’s the kind of thing that made me wish Brendan Fraser had shown up to punch him. The first part of Apocalypse’s plan is actually rather interesting, as he teleports around the world recruiting various mutants to his cause. At least, early on, I can see why the mutants he recruits decide to follow him. It’s kind of a shame that, later in the movie, Apocalypse’s plan boils down to ‘tell Magneto to float around and make the world into a Roland Emmerich movie.’ And, sadly, Apocalypse ends with the superhero movie standard of ‘everyone yells at each other in the middle of a glowy SFX maelstrom until the bad guy explodes.’ (Oh, uh, spoiler alert, I guess).

So, what worked for you? I thought the opening was great. Interesting that Apocalypse used television to learn English and get a brief history of the world since Ancient Egypt.

That whole sequence between Storm and Apocalypse is great. Kinda funny that Alexandra Shipp does more to make Storm an interesting character in 15 minutes than Halle Berry could manage in three and a half movies.

I did like her but asides from that exchange I felt like she had next to no lines for the rest of the run time. All the Magneto stuff worked surprisingly well for me. His material has been strong for every entry in the “prequel” trilogy. It also helps that Michael Fassbender is a great actor. Maybe a Magneto solo film wouldn’t have been a bad thing.

A Magneto solo film would’ve been great. Though it kinda felt like Fox killed off a vague Scarlet Witch analogue to get back at Marvel for killing off Quicksilver in Age of Ultron.

When it comes to Pietro, Fox nailed the fun of the character. Quicksilver in Age of Ultron was uninteresting. There was no drama to be wrung from his death. I guess we should mention the best scene in the movie, that easily surpasses his scene in Days of Future Past.

Oh, absolutely. Highlight of the whole flick. Which makes me wonder how they’ll top it in the inevitable sequel. “Slow mo pop song montage” is gonna be his gimmick.

I’m just glad the song selected wasn’t “I Ran” by Flock of Seagulls. How about using a Rush song since he seems to be a big fan?

Did Rush put out anything good in the ‘90s? If they keep the whole ‘Movie a Decade’ thing up, I feel like it’d have to be a 90’s song. Not that the movie really did anything with the ‘80s setting other than throw out a couple of cheap jokes.

Ugh. Can they just stop with the whole Decade thing? How are these characters not aging? Of course Moira McTaggert looks great, it’s only been five years between First Class and Apocalypse, not twenty. I’d rather see whatever movie that follows this take place in ‘84 not ‘93.

True. Not to mention, if they keep the whole Decade thing up, they’ll run into the original X-men in two movies, which … just muddies matters. But if they do a 90’s movie, I kind of wish they’d just say ‘screw it’ and use the exact cast from the 90’s cartoon. Complete with ridiculous accents and Gambit’s fake-French.

Speaking of that. There are too damn many mutants in this movie. Why the hell was Jubilee in this movie? That character has had cameos in four other films. Has yet to use her powers. At all.

I never thought I’d say it, but I wanted to see more Jubilee in the movie. Her costume was perfect.

And honestly, why is this movie so damn long?

Because it’s got like a dozen different subplots, that’s why. That’s the problem with an X-men movie: you have to introduce a dozen different characters. The Avengers have the advantage of a bunch of spotlight movies beforehand, but you can’t do that with the X-men. Who wants to see a Cyclops solo flick?

And what’s the point of having all these characters when they don’t do anything? The Four Horseman are so lame. They are literally Apocalypse’s posse. They do nothing but hang around eat his snacks and drink all his beer. They should be a wrecking crew. Or you know, a force of nature. Just incredibly underwhelming. I did enjoy Angel listening to Metallica (Four Horsemen, of course) even if it was a bit too obvious.

Hey, they’re henchmen. What do you expect? I’m just mildly amused by the fact they gave Angel claw-wing thingies to make him more X-TREEM and therefore horseman-worthy. Like, Apocalypse is going down his list of henchmen: “Okay, I need the girl who can control the weather, a sexy ninja with lightsaber hands, a proven supervillain with magnet powers … and, uh, this kid with wings and a bad haircut.”

And why the hell wasn’t he blue? Did Fox think there were too many blue characters? Let’s see Mystique, Beast, Nightcrawler, Apocalypse. And when they got to Archangel it was just like “Screw it, put some blue eyeliner on him.”

Honestly too many blue characters is a legit excuse.

Haha, fair enough. Anything else moviewise you want to mention?

Apocalypse in the movie was too short. Oscar Isaacs looked like more like a fancy cosplayer than an actual supervillain whenever he stood next to anyone. In the cartoon, Apocalypse towers over everyone else.

Friend of mine put it nicely that Apocalypse felt more like the first episode in a trilogy, rather than the ninth in a series. Which makes sense, as they’re finally getting back to the ‘core’ X-men cast after killing off most everyone from First Class.

Well said, anonymous friend. Now let’s discuss the beer I picked out. Apocalypse IPA is from 10 Barrel Brewing out of Bend, Oregon.

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It’s kind of aptly named, in a bad way.

Bend is one of those little slices of heaven in the Northwest. Lots of outdoorsy type shit and breweries as far as the eye can see. Up in the green wilderness they like their IPAs the same way the like their forests, evergreen. Hops that have a piney, resinous taste to them.

Apocalypse IPA pretty much tastes like … well, a generic IPA. Very piney, with a weird and gnarly aftertaste. It’s the kind of IPA people think of when they say “I don’t like IPAs.”

There’s almost always a time and place for every beer. I love IPAs, but I need them to be balanced. I don’t want dry mouth from drinking beer. If I’m only drinking one beer, this might be okay but not in the summer. I need something that can stand up to whether I’m eating or just drinking. The only reason 10 Barrel is available near us is because they were bought by A-B InBev in late 2014. The insane growth of craft beer has made Bud and Bud Light stagnant. Millennials are barely buying macro so if you can’t beat ‘em, buy ‘em.

Honestly, the first one wasn’t so bad– it went well with the curry wings I happened to be munching on at the time. But by the time I finished those, and tried to have a second beer? Then it just got brutal.

In terms of parting shots, If Fox wants to keep riding the Mutant train it’s going to need a blood transfusion. I’ll admit, Bryan Singer has done a lot for the franchise but it’s time to move on.

Oh, and there is a post-credits scene, but it’s honestly not impressive enough to warrant sticking around for if you’re in a hurry. Just another example of Fox not being able to play Marvel’s game as well as Marvel does.

I like that we called it before it happened, but the scene was so vague we were still left wondering “The hell was that?”

We’re nerds, but neither one of us knows who the hell Nathaniel Essex is off the top of our heads, which is probably a good thing.

But at least we figured it out eventually.

Shit, I thought you just looked it up on Wikipedia.

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