‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ and ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’

By on May 25, 2016

Early summer smackdown

Not many people nerd-out on movies like I do, so you’ll have to pardon me and my talk about box office numbers for a minute. There is an epic showdown brewing, which will all come to a head on Friday. But first, let’s get angry.

Over the weekend Sony Pictures Animation released “Angry Birds.” No Hitchcockian device here, “Angry Birds” is based on the ultra-popular video game, which pits catapulting birds vs. well-defended pigs of green. Take it or leave it, the kid friendly flick brings an entourage of comedians to voice the characters. Jason Sudeikis (“We’re the Millers”) leads a Saturday Night Live alum heavy cast as Red. He’s joined by Josh Gad (who voiced Olaf in “Frozen”), Danny McBride (“Pineapple Express”), Maya Rudolph (“Bridesmaids”), Bill Hader (“Inside Out”), Peter Dinklage (“The Station Agent”), Sean Penn, Keegan-Michael Key (“Keanu”), and Kate McKinnon (SNL). The price tag to make “Angry Birds” is estimated at $73 million, which makes its $39 million opening this past weekend a bit scary for Sony. “Angry Birds” opened at number one at the box office-despite the poor monetary showing — but it will not stay there long. This weekend it’s Johnny Depp vs. the Marvel Universe, Walt Disney vs. 20th Century Fox.

Johnny Depp is back as The Mad Hatter in “Alice Through The Looking Glass.” Is his quirky sex appeal enough to propel the film to #1 in the box office?

Johnny Depp is back as The Mad Hatter in “Alice Through The Looking Glass.” Is his quirky sex appeal enough to propel the
film to #1 in the box office?

Depp is back in all his quirky glory as the Mad Hatter in “Alice Through the Looking Glass.” In this second installment of the Alice in Wonderland franchise, Alice (Mia Wasikowska, “Crimson Peak”) returns to Wonderland and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter. Of course, no Depp film is complete without the appearance of Helena Bonham Carter — she is back demanding people’s heads as the Red Queen, Iracebeth.

Be leery about “Alice Through the Looking Glass.” The first film was directed by the genius Tim Burton, and although director James Bobin has some great credentials (“Muppets Most Wanted,” “Flight of the Conchords,” “Da Ali G Show”) he is definitely no Burton. I’m worried this film will fall short of expectations.

Part two of the Memorial Day weekend matchup features the next chapter in the long running X-Men storyline. “X-Men: Apocalypse” introduces Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac, “Ex Machina”), the all-powerful, first mutant who now returns from slumber with the intent of wiping out most of the human race. He will dominate the world with Magneto (Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”) by his side.

I’m a huge fan of the X-Men. I had a life-size standee of Wolverine when I was a kid. Now, I worry things are going too far when it comes to X-Men movies. Besides Fassbender, the only other star power in “X-Men: Apocalypse” is Jennifer Lawrence, who returns as Raven. Not all movies need big names attached to them, but it always helps … for sure, especially when we are thinking about box office revenue. Is the X-Men franchise big enough to stand on its own against Johnny Depp and a revamped children’s classic. I’m not sure.

The dark horse in the fight may simply come from the Marvel Universe … except a different movie. “Captain America: Civil War” hung onto second place over the weekend and has now grossed over $370 million. Hopefully you read the last edition of Reel Reviews and know I encouraged all to see “Captain America: Civil War” in all its “cinematic glory.” Entering its fourth weekend, this movie may just be the deciding factor, and rightly so, for the big Memorial Day weekend. Go team Cap!

Agree or disagree? Reel Reviews works like this: 1) Watch a movie; 2) Send suggestions, comments and criticism to Michael at SomeProMCU@gmail.com.

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