starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac
screenplay by Simon Kinberg
directed by Bryan Singer
by Walter Chaw I know the sample size is small, but Bryan Singer's X-Men prequel trilogy (we'll call it his, since he produced Matthew Vaughn's X-Men: First Class), culminating now in X-Men: Apocalypse, is the far superior prequel trilogy. If you were so inclined, you could find in them--and in all of Singer's work (just like Victor Salva's across the genre divide)--assimilation melodramas: tales of the struggle with being born different, complete with abilities and...urges. There's explanation there of why Singer's films are always about alienation, best when dealing with teens, and critical of the laws and systems that would condemn things that are natural as criminal. Matt Zoller Seitz recently wrote about the problem with believing that Woody Allen is likely a child abuser/pedophile and still watching, still sometimes enjoying, his movies. I was taken with how the stain of that knowledge on the viewer never really goes away. When I watch Singer's work, which I tend to like a lot, never more than ten minutes go by without me wondering whether what people have said about him being a serial abuser and statutory rapist is true. If it is, it complicates this reading of his films. He's a little like Elia Kazan in that respect; I wonder if their message is meant as apologia--if it's repugnant in its human fascination.