Marvel’s new Captain America series is getting press for one huge reveal, but we’ll get to that in a second. For those who haven’t been paying attention, Steve Rogers has spent the last several months rapidly aged to a senior citizen with the Falcon taking over the role of Captain America. With Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 Steve is back in action along with the Falcon (still also Captain America, but not in this comic), and a team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents including Agent 13, Jack Flag, Free Spirit, and Rick Jones.
With Burton taking a backseat as producer this time around, James Bobin (The Muppets, The Muppets Most Wanted) steps into the director’s chair. Burton’s fingerprints are all over the film so we can’t really call it Bobin’s movie, but there are some humorous touches that could come from the director.
Set several years after the first film, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is now a ship’s captain who is pulled back into Wonderland by either A) a friend in need or B) her inability to deal with the stress losing her ship to her ex-fiance. You can decide for yourself whether you believe Alice is an adventurer or a troubled young woman with mental problems she deals with through detailed hallucinations.
X-Men: Apocalypse is a bloated film that wants more than anything to be epic in scale. Stuck with a ponderous first 45 minutes resetting up the world of the X-Men one decade after the events of X-Men: First Class (where apparently only some of our characters have actually aged) the movie has to spend far too much time catching us up on current events. With the script hamstrung by the need to properly introduce not only the movie’s villain Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), which means flashbacks to ancient Egypt, but also several new characters who will make up both Apocalypse’s Four Horseman (Olivia Munn, Ben Hardy, Alexandra Shipp) and the new version of the X-Men (Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Lana Condor) it takes quite some time before director Bryan Singer‘s movie gets on track.
With the resurrection of Apocalypse, who begins recruiting new mutants for his army, the movie begins in earnest with Mystique‘s (Jennifer Lawrence) return to the mansion and Professor X‘s (James McAvoy) abduction. After an appearance by Stryker (Josh Helman), used only to shoehorn in a cameo of Singer’s favorite mutant, Mystique will gather a few mutants together to reform the X-Men.
Based on the lives of English gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray (both played here by Tom Hardy), director Brian Helgeland’s film is as unengaging a crime drama as I can remember. I gave the film multiple chances but other than offer Hardy the chance to play dual roles the movie has nothing going for it. In terms of nuts and bolts, Legend is competently made but lacks the heart to make us care about either of the Kray brothers or those whose lives were effected by their choices.
Helgeland wastes a solid supporting cast (Emily Browning, David Thewlis, Christopher Eccleston, and Chazz Palminteri) on a story that doesn’t have much to say about gangsters we haven’t seen before. Legend isn’t an awful film, just a lifeless one (which in someways is actually worse than a truly awful film which can, on occasion, be entertaining for all the wrong reasons).