Kodi Smit-McPhee


X-Men Apocalypse

I grew up on the 90s X-Men the Animated Series. Regarded as one the greatest cartoons ever made. Maybe that’s just my opinion, but screw it; I’m choosing to believe everyone agrees with me. I’ve gone back to watch it, still love it. When the first film came out I was in the 8th grade. I spent the entire day at the theater. I saw it 3 times that day. X2, I saw a total of 5 times in the theater. These movies helped shape my childhood as they have for so many others. Weather it is a metaphor for race, or sexual orientation, or in my case just feeling like an outsider. They helped give you hope. The X-Men have always given me hope. So when I began to hear preliminary reviews of Apocalypse, I was worried. Luckily, there was no need to be.

X-Men Apocalypse follows the resurrection of En Sabah Nur. The film stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, and Olivia Munn. It is once again directed by Bryan Singer (X-Men, X2, Days of Future Past). In the movie Apocalypse (Isaac) an ancient mutant has awaken in the 1980s. Ten years since the events in 70’s in Days of Future past. Magneto (Fassbender) is in hiding, and Xavier (McAvoy) is running his school. When this Ancient Mutant recruits 4 powerful mutants to join his cause, The X-Men must come together and stop him by any means.

First off this cast is awesome. There was some worry on my part that the new cast would not live up to the original cast. Especially with Sophie Turner who plays Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones as Jean Grey. Even in the trailers all I heard was Sansa, a character I hate, whining and crying like she does on the show. In film however Sansa was nowhere to be seen and Jean Grey near flawless! Tye Sheridan gives us the Cyclops we have all been waiting for. Not that James Marsden was not great, but this go around we finally get the character right! Olivia Munn while not having a lot to do was functional in the role and I look forward to seeing more of her. As well James McAvoy has dialed into this character so well, that he is synonymous with Professor X as much as Patrick Stewart is.

A few casting issues did bother me though. The most of being the casting of Kodi Smit-McPhee. While it’s not entirely his fault, the character just didn’t work for me. He had big shoes to fill, and I don’t think he, or almost anyone, would have been up for the task. Alan Cummings was so incredible in the role that it makes it hard to see anyone else. And this just did not work for me. As well J Law has got to go. While she is great in the role, and she does not phone it in like I had heard she did, she has become, in her own mind, too big for the role. Mystique is blue. The fact that J Law won’t portray her as so in more of the film really distracts you from it. But it’s not just her. Nicholas Hoult does the same thing. Too much Hoult, not enough Beast.

Another shining star however is Evan Peters again as Quicksilver. We get another epic Quicksilver “bullet time” scene, and they dialed it up a few notches this go around. He adds much needed comedic moments all throughout the film. It is great to see him taking a bigger role in the film. As well Fassbender is a shining star, as always. There is a scene in the woods early on with Magneto that is just incredible and so well acted.

Apocalypse himself is a little bit of positive, mixed with a little bit of negative. Oscar Isaac is great in the role. His look is incredible. This makes me learn not to trust a first look photo from Entertainment ever again. The only issue with his look is the size. He is not that large in stature and it hurts his menacing appearance. Even with a dark and brooding voice, his size kind of hurt the character. As well his motivations and reasoning’s sometimes get lost in the shuffle of the film. It’s not quite clear why all his Horsemen follow him, or why his plan to do what he is doing. As well his powers are a bit inconsistent. He has some incredible violent powers, which he chooses not to use as he fights the X-Men… Kind of hurt the psychology. But over all a well portrayed villain.

This paragraph might contain minor spoilers for the film if you have not seen all the trailers. So skip over it and go to the next one if you have not seen the film, and don’t wish to know these spoilers. You have been warned! As we see in the commercial Wolverine is in the film, and he is freaking awesome. If we even get 1/3 of the Wolverine we see here in Hugh Jackman’s final outing as the character it will be nothing short of epic. Of all we have seen, this is the greatest portrayal of Weapon X. Part of my bonus score goes to this scene, a matter a fact .4 of it does. The post credit scene has a lot to do with Wolverine as well, possibly hinting at the villains of his next film. I rate this post credit on a Marvel, Avengers, and Thanos like level of post credits. Remember when Thanos first showed up and half the population was like “Who is that?” That’s how I felt watching this, excited but confused! A perfect Post Credit scene!

Ok fear not, the spoilers are over. After you watch the movie feel free to come back and re read that, only minor spoilers. So all in all X-Men Apocalypse is a damn fun film. Not as great as First Class, X2, or Days of Future Past, but definitely in the top 5. One that I will be going back to see again soon. I gave it a score of 3.4 with a Jeebus bonus of .5 for a spoiler reason that won’t be said right here, and for the Quicksilver scene. A film you all need to go enjoy and have fun at. But what say you Jackass Nation? Have you seen it yet? What did you think? What is your favorite X-Men Film? Sound off in the comments below. And in the next few days be watching my podcast channel for a Jackass Reviews episode of X-Men Apocalypse that will be very spoiler heavy! But until next time, it is, what it is!

The Jeebus Score explained

The Jeebus score is out of a possible 5 points with a .5 bonus. Films are giving a max of 1 point each for Entertainment Value, Story/Writing, Performance, Direction, and Production. There is also a possible bonus up to .5. Any film between 2.5 and 4 is considered a good film. 4-5 is a great film. Anything over 5 is an incredibly amazing film. To get a perfect score of 5.5 a film will pretty much have to be The Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather.

Apes on Horses!

APES ON HORSES! As the gentlemen over at Schmoes Know have affectionately named the newest installment in the long lived Planet of the Apes Franchise. The much anticipated sequel to 2011’s Planet of the Apes reboot, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. This film has been one of the top films I have been looking forward to this year. Rise was such a surprise and phenomenal film Dawn had a lot to live up too. Needless to say, not only doe Dawn live up to its predecessor, it may even surpass it.

For 10 years what has been known as the Simian Flu has plagued the world. The survivors that still do what they can to combat the virus, have come to a thin line of peace with the genetically evolved primates led by Caesar. Caesar who still has a soft spot for humans due to his upbringing. The peace as thought proves to be too fragile to keep and war breaks out to determine who will survive as Earths dominate species. Man, or Ape.

The film stars Andy Serkis in the role as Caesar, and as Serkis has become the king of motion capture in film, this is no exception. Alongside Serkis are Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, Judy Greer, and, Kodi Smit-McPhee. Dawn is written once again by Amanda Silver, Rick Jaffa, and joining them is Mark Bomback. This go around Matt Reeves takes up the director’s chair.

Everything about Dawn is incredible. The script is nearly perfect. Every time you think you know where the story is going, there is a turn you don’t see coming. It is almost predictable. Watching the film I saw where it was going and said to myself “ok here is the story, got it, pretty cool….. Oh wait no” and that happened numerous times! The Story is not complex, but it is deep. It shows what can be wrong with society, and how bad things can turn quickly.

The Apes have built up their community, and are living in their society and you sit there in awe of what the film makers were able to do. You believe in the trust and strength within the Ape community. And each Ape has their own personality, the actors behind the Motion Capture do a wonderful job.

Speaking of Mo-Cap. I find it would be incredibly disrespectful not to mention how Andy Serkis deserves a freaking Oscar nomination. He brings Caesar to life. You see Serkis behind the eyes of Caesar. You see him in his movements. This isn’t some CGI monkey. Caesar is Serkis. And he is just perfect in the role. You feel for him, you care about him. When he is off screen, you notice he is not there. Not that the film is lacking anything when he is gone, but at the same time, you wait and are ready for what Serkis brings to film.

As Rise was in fact James Franco’s movie, stolen by Serkis’ Caesar, Dawn is Caesar’s film, Stolen by Kebbell and his portrayal of Koba. You remember Koba, he was the bad mother F’er that showed up in Rise knowing the drill in labs. He is Caesar’s right hand Ape, yet is not afraid to tell Caesar when he is wrong. Even with all the power Caesar holds over the Apes, Koba will let him know what is up, but is quick to back down to place. And Kebbell is instrumental in bringing Koba to life. What Serkis has done to Caesar, Kebbell is doing with Koba.

When it all comes down, I ranked Dawn of the Planet of the Apes pretty high. I gave it a 5.6, with a full bonus of .5 for APES ON HORSES! That rounds the score out to 6.1, our second JEEBUS-TACULAR of the year!