It Chapter Two (2019)

It Chapter Two
Director: Andy Muschietti
Writer: Gary Dauberman
Sequel to: It
Based on: Stephen King’s novel It
Cast: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, Andy Bean, Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden LieberherJeremy Ray TaylorSophia LillisFinn WolfhardChosen JacobsJack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Xavier Dolan, Stephen King
Seen on: 9.9.2019

Content Note: fat hate, homomisia

Plot:
It has been 27 years since the Losers Club – Bill (Jaden Lieberher/James McAvoy), Richie (Finn Wolfhard/Bill Hader), Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer/James Ransone), Stanley (Wyatt Oleff/Andy Bean), Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor/Jay Ryan), Beverly (Sophia Lillis/Jessica Chastain) and Mike (Chosen Jacobs/Isaiah Mustafa) defeated Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård). It’s an episode they have all relegated to the realm of childish fantasy. Now all of them but Mike have left town, living their adult lives elswhere. Until they all receive a call from Mike, asking them to come back – because so has Pennywise.

It Chapter 2 is alright. The horror parts were a little disappointing, and the film was about an hour too long, but I did enjoy the character dynamics, albeit more in theory than in practice.

The film poster showing Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) from the eyes up, with most of the image just white from his giant forehead.
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Dark Phoenix (2019)


Dark Phoenix
Director: Simon Kinberg
Writer: Simon Kinberg
Based on: The Marvel Comics series
Sequel to: X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Evan Peters, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jessica Chastain, Scott Shepherd, Ato Essandoh, Brian d’Arcy James
Seen on: 13.6.2019

Plot:
It’s 1992 and mutants and humans have found a way to coexist peacefully. Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) still runs his school where he trains and educates young mutants. One of his teachers is Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) who has been at the academy since she was a child herself. She is also one of the X-Men. While on a mission, Jean gets exposed to an ancient, alien power, though, and it changes her – giving her much more power but also less control.

Dark Phoenix was preceded by a wave of bad reviews and I’m sorry to say that they were all right. It really is an abysmal film.

The film poster showing the main characters in X-suits and power stances.
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Glass (2019)

Glass
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
Sequel to: Unbreakable, Split
Cast: James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Anya Taylor-Joy, Sarah Paulson, Spencer Treat Clark, Charlayne Woodard, Luke Kirby, Adam David Thompson, M. Night Shyamalan
Seen on: 24.1.2019
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Content Note: ableism/saneism

Plot:
After abducting several girls, Kevin Crumb (James McAvoy) is on the run, but security guard slash vigilante David Dunn (Bruce Willis) is on his tail. When David catches up with Kevin, they are both apprehended by the police. They are both brought to an institution where Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), who was caught by Dunn 20 years earlier, is also housed. All three of them are attended by psychiatrist Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) who tries to show them that they aren’t actually superpowered, but psychotic. But there is also something else going on, something that could threaten everything.

I didn’t expect much of Glass but it managed to not even fulfill those meager expectations. It’s a nonsensical, ableist mess that’s not even fun.

The film poster showing Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), Kevin Crumb (James McAvoy) and David Dunn (Bruce Willis). They are sitting next to each other, but their reflections on the floor are standing tall, looking like villains.
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Deadpool 2 (2018)

Deadpool 2
Director: David Leitch
Writer: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Ryan Reynolds
Based on: Rob Liefeld and writer Fabian Nicieza‘s comic character
Sequel to: Deadpool
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, Karan Soni, Eddie Marsan, Stefan Kapicic, Brianna Hildebrand, Shioli Kutsuna, T.J. Miller, Leslie Uggams, Lewis Tan, Bill Skarsgård, Terry Crews, Brad Pitt, Alan Tudyk, Matt Damon, Nicholas Hoult, James McAvoy, Evan Peters, Tye Sheridan, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alexandra Shipp
Seen on: 8.6.2018

Plot:
After his girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) is killed, Wade Wilson aka Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) unravels. His life is literally shot to pieces and it’s Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) who puts him back together again. Reluctantly, Wade agrees to kind of join the X-Men and tries to help with an out of control mutant, Russell Collins aka Firefist (Julian Dennison). But Russell doesn’t really want help and things are more complicated than they look anyway when Cable (Josh Brolin) turns up and claims to be from the future and that he needs to stop Firefist to avert catastrophe.

I enjoyed the first Deadpool movie, but I wasn’t completely enthusiastic about it, so my expectations for this one were rather mild and while Deadpool 2 doesn’t surpass them, it does stay on the same level as the first one: Fun in many ways but some things don’t work that well for me.

Film poster for Deadpool, showing him in the famous pose from Flashdance, only instead of water falling on him, it's bullets.
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Atomic Blonde (2017)

Atomic Blonde
Director: David Leitch
Writer: Kurt Johnstad
Based on: Antony Johnston and Sam Hart’s graphic novel The Coldest City
Cast: Charlize TheronJames McAvoyEddie MarsanJohn GoodmanToby JonesJames FaulknerRoland MøllerSofia BoutellaBill SkarsgårdSam HargraveJóhannes Haukur JóhannessonTil SchweigerBarbara Sukowa
Seen on: 4.9.2017
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Plot:
Lorraine (Charlize Theron) is a secret agent for MI6 who is sent to Cold War Berlin after the death of a colleague. She’s supposed to recover a list of MI6 agents that went missing. But the situation in Berlin is unclear, starting with the questionable trustworthiness of her contact David (James McAvoy). As Elaine tries to navigate the intricacies of a city at a (political) boiling point, things get more complicated with every step.

Atomic Blonde was a disappointment in pretty much every regard. It’s stupid and boring and I very much hated almost everything about it.

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Split (2016)

Split
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula, Brad William Henke, and in a cameo: Bruce Willis
Seen on: 11.2.2017

Plot:
Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), Claire (Haley Lu Richardson) and Marcia (Jessica Sula) are in highschool together. Casey is not exactly friends with Claira and Marcia, but one afternoon she catches a ride with Claire’s father. And it’s just on this afternoon that the three girls are abducted by a man (James McAvoy). Only that he doesn’t seem to be just one person – he can be very different indeed. And he is preparing for something. Something big. Something that is coming for them.

I hadn’t meant to watch Split with its treatment of mental illness of which I had heard only bad things beforehand. But when it became a social occasion to meet with a friends and celebrate a birthday, I ended up seeing it anyway. While competently made on a cinematic level, it turned out to be even worse than I thought regarding the mental health issue, so file this under “I watched it so you don’t have to.”

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X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

X-Men: Apocalypse
Director: Bryan Singer
Writer: Simon Kinberg
Based on: The Marvel Comics series
Sequel to: X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas HoultOscar IsaacRose ByrneEvan PetersSophie TurnerTye Sheridan, Lucas Till, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ben Hardy, Alexandra Shipp, Lana Condor, Olivia MunnZeljko Ivanek, Hugh Jackman, Stan Lee
Seen on: 25.5.2016

Plot:
Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is busy with running his school for mutants and finding misunderstood and mistreated mutants around the world with the help of Raven (Jennifer Lawrence). In the meantime, Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) has decided to disappear into a quiet and very normal life. But when an immortal, very dangerous and most powerful mutant, En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac), finds himself returned to consciousness after millennia of sleep, it becomes clear that they can only oppose him together.

So far, I really enjoyed this generation of X-Men movies and X-Men Apocalypse was a another thoroughly satisfying entry into the series. Especially after my rather lukewarm reaction to Captain America: Civil War, it was nice to get a superhero movie that manages to keep the quality of its predecessors, even if it doesn’t really add anything new to the story.

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Victor Frankenstein (2015)

Victor Frankenstein
Director: Paul McGuigan
Writer: Max Landis
Based on: Mary Shelley‘s novel
Cast: Daniel RadcliffeJames McAvoy, Jessica Brown Findlay, Bronson Webb, Daniel Mays, Andrew Scott, Freddie Fox, Charles Dance, Mark Gatiss
Part of: Fright Nights
Seen on: 12.5.2016

Plot:
Igor (Daniel Radcliffe) works in a circus as a clown. Due to his hump, he is decried as a freak and mistreated at every turn. People certainly aren’t seeing his medical talent, even though they are okay with him treating them. Things change drastically for Igor, when Victor Frankenstein (James McAvoy) turns up in his circus one night. Victor realizes how much of a diamond in the rough Igor is, helps him to flee, cures him of his hump and enlists him in his own experiments: Victor is set on freeing the world from death itself.

How many Frankenstein adaptations does the world need? No matter, there’s always one more. Victor Frankenstein isn’t a particularly good one at that, but I’m pretty damn sure it is the gayest one in existence. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen gay porn that wasn’t that homoerotically charged. And that did make it pretty fun to watch.

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The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them (2014)

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them
Director: Ned Benson
Writer: Ned Benson
Cast: James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Nina Arianda, Viola Davis, Bill Hader, Ciarán Hinds, Isabelle Huppert, William Hurt, Jess Weixler

Plot:
Conor (James McAvoy) and Eleanor (Jessica Chastain) used to be the perfect couple. But something happened and now they’re not. Eleanor is distant and doesn’t want any contact with Conor and Conor has trouble respecting that boundary. But Eleanor isn’t as done with Conor as it might seem at first and the question remains whether they can find back to each other or not.

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby was good but not as great as it could have been. I expected a little more from the concept – TDoER: Them is a cut based on two films, TDoER: Him, which tells events from his perspective, and TDoER: Her, which tells them from hers. But the splice generally feels a little uneven.

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X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

X-Men: Days of Future Past
Director: Bryan Singer
Writer: Simon Kinberg
Based on: The Marvel Comics series
Sequel to: X-Men: First Class
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas HoultHugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry, Shawn AshmoreEllen PagePeter DinklageOmar SyEvan Peters, Anna Paquin, Famke Janssen, James Marsden

Plot:
Scientist Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) created an adaptive superroboter to hunt and kill mutants that eradicated mutants almost entirely in just a few short years. The only way to stop their complete extinction is by stopping Trask building the robots in the first place. So Kitty Pride (Ellen Page) sends Logan (Hugh Jackman) back into the past to find Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) from stopping Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) to inadvertently set everything in motion. But neither Charles nor Erik are at a particularly good place in their lives and its up to Logan to make everything happen.

I really, really enjoyed X-Men: Days of Future Past (I even saw it twice in the cinema), even if I do have certain qualms about it. But the fun pretty much outweigs everything.

x-men_dofp[SPOILERS]

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