A wonderful mall montage that ended up on the cutting room floor.
Premiering early in the Summer 2016 blockbuster season, X-Men: Apocalypse was pretty generally regarded as underwhelming. In a season filled to the brim with comic-book genre films, it’s already difficult to stand out among them all and capture the hearts and minds of the genre’s fans. Superhero movies are supposed to be fun. They’re supposed to be a little bit silly but heartwarming. They’re meant to make us take for granted the relative safety we enjoy as compared to our fictional equivalents in these magical universes.
Everyone loves a good superhero movie. It’s something that has been simply true for decades, but it has never been more true than it is right now. The superhero genre has saturated the film space in a way that it has never done before. To compete with such a high number of genre-specific competition, the superhero film sometimes falls into the hole of taking itself too seriously. A too-serious superhero film is disconnected from the feel-good goofiness that we expect when we enter a theater.
X-Men: Apocalypse, the ninth and newest installment of X-Men franchise, already had the deck stacked against it. The heroes of the X-Men universe are already at risk of being too serious and too sad. The major themes pervasive throughout all of the X-Men series of prejudice and genocide are enough to place the whole thing teetering on the edge of grotesque despair. The fact that each and every character in the mutant dream team has some kind of baggage that they may be more damaged than even Christian Bale’s at times too-angsty Batman.
This is the context in which a recently-surfaced deleted scene from X-Men Apocalypse is relevant. The deleted scene was leaked online ahead of the film’s October 4th BluRay and DVD release. The deleted scene is filler. The plot stagnates with this scene. We don’t see the build-up toward the story’s climax presented anywhere in it, but that’s what makes it such fun.
It’s the 1980’s. Four of the teenaged mutants of the X-Men team, Jean Grey, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, and Jubilee, are in the mall, just as they would be they did not have their powers. The song “Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats plays in the background of the montage. There are bright colors. There are arcades. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi plays in the mall’s movie theatre. The kids see it and discuss it as they exit the theater.
Long time fans of the franchise would have been happy to see this mall montage, considering that it pays some amount of homage to Jubilee’s (Lana Condor) backstory, as she turned into a mall rat after the death of her parents. Perhaps the most touching parts of this sequence are the scenes in which Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) looks at the other patrons of the shopping mall around him and finds that they do not fear him. Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) compares Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) to Boy George in the mall’s record store.
The scene perhaps goes on a little longer than perhaps we’d like it to. It may perhaps be a sequence that young children or even teens who have grown up without the mall as a social staple in their lives to truly relate to. Most importantly, though, the scene gets back to the heart of the superhero movie. Superheroes are just like us, but better. Scenes like this are imperative for the long-term survival of the genre.
X-Men: Apocalypse will be released on DVD and BluRay on October 4th, 2016.
Related Topics: Comics