Movie franchises are getting increasingly convoluted these days, and the X-Men series is no exception. So, to recap: X-Men: Apocalypse is the ninth film in the X-Men series (counting the Wolverine and Deadpool solo features), the seventh film to have the word “X-Men” in the title, the fourth film in the series to be directed by Bryan Singer (who got the whole thing started sixteen years ago), and the third film to feature the younger cast that was first introduced five years ago in X-Men: First Class.
The Harrison Ford nostalgia tour isn’t over yet.
Today it was announced that Ford — who returned to the Star Wars franchise in last year’s The Force Awakens and will soon start shooting the sequel to 1982’s Blade Runner — will return as Indiana Jones in a film set to be released in 2019, thirty-eight years after Ford first played the character in 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark.1
Further to my post marking the 40th anniversary of The Exorcist, I thought it might be fun to look at one other way in which the Exorcist movies parallel the Star Wars franchise: namely, both series feature an actor who plays considerably older than his real age, and then, in at least one of the sequels or prequels, the actor plays more-or-less his real age in scenes set years or even decades earlier.
The special effects in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith are magnificent, even if there are far too many of them and they never provoke quite the same sense of awe that, say, Peter Jackson was able to summon for The Lord of the Rings.
And it is gratifying to see that Ewan McGregor and especially Hayden Christensen, as the Jedi Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker respectively, have turned in better, more interesting performances in this film than they did in its predecessors. This is no small point, since it is in this film that Anakin turns against Obi-Wan and becomes the evil Darth Vader.
The main characters are a little older and wiser than they were before, the action scenes are bigger and splashier than ever, and we see mercifully little of Jar Jar Binks, so it goes without saying that Attack of the Clones, the latest chapter in the Star Wars saga, is better than its convoluted, infantile predecessor, The Phantom Menace. But not by much.
In When Harry Met Sally, Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan famously argued over whether men and women could be friends without one of them wanting to have sex with the other. When I first saw the film 11 years ago, I found it funny, entertaining and a good conversation piece, but I couldn’t help thinking that Crystal and Ryan — neither of whom seemed to have any family beyond their fellow single New Yorkers — had overlooked something. I could certainly think of a few women in my own life for whom this was a non-issue, and one of them was sitting right next to me in the theatre. I refer, of course, to my sister.