It was always going to be impossible not to compare Star Wars: The Last Jedi to the first Star Wars sequel, The Empire Strikes Back. Especially after the previous episode, The Force Awakens, got a lot of flack for being a spiritual remake of the first film (undeserved flack, in my opinion). Unfortunately for The Last Jedi, Empire is generally regarded as the best instalment in the saga, so expectations are high, and comparisons are dangerous…
So the sixth (or eight, or ninth, depending on how you count) X-men film comes around, and we all know how this goes, right? Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and his gang of mutant superheroes the X-men have to fight some scheme to kill all mutants, mostly manifested in a physical confrontation against Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and his “Brotherhood” of bad guys. Somewhere in between Jennifer Lawrence‘s Mystique also pops up.
Except it looks like this time director Bryan Singer has something different in mind. I guess he watched some different movies in the interim, for inspiration. X-men: Apocalypse feels much more like a disaster movie – a Michael Bay or Roland Emmerich-style world-scale drama which kicks off in Ancient Egypt, introducing the first mutant – Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac). Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) discovers and inadvertently awakens the incredibly powerful mutant when, as an indirect result of the time-travel meddling in Days of Future Past, she investigates cults that believe in mutant gods.
I don’t know if there’s ever been a movie with higher expectations than Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Okay, maybe The Phantom Menace, but that’s the black sheep of the family we don’t talk about. The pressure to get things right must have been extreme. I’m pretty surprised director JJ Abrams even survived the ordeal.