X-Men: Apocalypse SPOILER-FREE Review
We are now four films deep into our legendary year for comic book movies. We had Deadpool which was awesome, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice which was decent, Captain America: Civil War which was awesome, and now we have X-Men: Apocalypse. After Bryan Singer returned to the series with the kickass X-Men: Days of Future Past, everyone was excited to see his next outing into the mutant franchise. Could this film be as good, if not better than Days of Future Past? It had a lot going for it. It was introducing fan-favorite villain Apocalypse, as well as giving us younger, new versions of the original cast. This movie was promised to have the new trilogy of X-Men films come full-circle, and set us up for the bright future of the franchise. While X-Men: Apocalypse is a good film, it doesn't live up to the expectations put on it, and does not compare to the excellence of its two predecessors.
When the world's first mutant, the self-claiming god Apocalypse, reawakens, the X-Men must unite in order to stop him from cleansing the earth of all non-mutants.
This definitely has the same aesthetic feel of the other X-Men films. This doesn't suffer from the same kind of drastic tonal changes that Batman v. Superman did. It consistently feels the same throughout, which is definitely a positive. At least up until the third act. A lot of what I liked about this film was its set-up. In the beginning, we see the origin of Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), and this was a really cool scene. The original X-Men characters, Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) are all well developed and set up in the beginning. For the first half of this film, director Bryan Singer puts in place a lot of elements that are really cool. It's clearly building to something; the problem is that what it builds up to is underwhelming and overly disappointing.
The development of Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) was one of the best elements of the film. He has the most clear character arc and development in Apocalypse. In the beginning of the movie, something very gut-wrenching and terrible happens to him, and it just reaffirms this cycle of tragedy that has plagued his life. But probably my favorite scene with Magneto involved him returning to a place from his childhood, and seeing the raw emotion and anger in Fassbender's acting. I think this is the clearest indication of Apocalypse as a puppet-master, and he is something I'll get into later. My other favorite part of this film involves a character shown in the last trailer, so I think he's fair game for this review. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is in this film, and I think his scene is the best part of the movie. It's brutal and bloody, and it just wets your appetite for his final, R-rated solo film coming out next year.
While I liked the set-up and the future possibilities of the new old X-Men, I don't think they were used properly in the film. They are just kind of there. Sheridan was fine as Cyclops, but Smit-McPhee really stole the show as Nightcrawler. I think he was my favorite of the three. While I think Turner as Jean Grey could work in a future movie, I don't think she did a good job in this movie. All of her lines were flat, and she just gave us nothing acting-wise. It was a very bland performance. I hear she's excellent on Game of Thrones, so I'm hoping she turns it on for the next movie, because I think it could work. It just didn't for this film. All the other returning actors really solid. Nicholas Hoult was good as Beast, Evan Peters has another stand-out scene as Quicksilver and knocked it out of the park, James McAvoy was yet again fantastic as Professor X and Jennifer Lawrence was okay as Mystique. She was just kind of there. She didn't add much, in regards to acting, to the film.
Let's talk about Apocalypse. There was a lot of controversy surrounding the character's looks, but I thought, in the context of the film, he looked fine. I had no problems there. He just didn't do much. He kind of just walked around, gathering his four horsemen, but they really served no purpose. The only one that was actually needed was Magneto, and that was just to progress his own personal story. Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Storm (Alexandra Shipp) and Angel (Ben Hardy) were all wasted in this film, and served no purpose other than for the climatic battle. And even then they didn't do much. It's sad to say, but X-Men: The Last Stand did a better job at portraying Angel, and that is really hard to say. Apocalypse's motivation was there, but just not very fleshed out. In Egypt, he was a god because he was a mutant, and now he wakes up to a world where humans are in control and his people are being persecuted. I picked this up, but it wasn't overly fleshed out and developed. We needed a few more scenes of Apocalypse, delving into his ideology and explaining why he is doing what it is he is doing.
The final act of this film is where it really begins to unravel. The first two thirds are decent; they don't have the strong momentum and power as the other films, but they work fine on their own. But this final act is when the movie explodes into a sh*t-storm of CGI. This action isn't even that cool to watch, because there's no emotional anchor. It's just a bunch of stuff happening on screen. Really, Apocalypse became too big of a movie. The X-Men films have always felt smaller, with the focus being this civil rights battle between humans and mutants, and that struggle has always been the root of the series. But that struggle went on the back burner in favor of this CGI action, which was just unnecessary. Yes, there needed to be a big climatic battle between the X-Men and Apocalypse, but it should have had a lot more emotional weight and power than this one had. It just happened, and I didn't care for it.
X-Men: Apocalypse is definitely the weakest of the new trilogy. It does a lot of good things, such as give us a lot of really good set-up, but then drops the ball when it comes to the pay-off. Apocalypse has a great origin story, but the character himself is underwhelming. The movie's strength is the further development of Magneto, and his continued relationship with Professor X. There is also a great scene featuring Wolverine, which may be my favorite part of the film. Quicksilver also has another great scene, in the vein of his scene from X-Men: Days of Future Past. While the introduction and set-up of the new old X-Men is really good, they don't do a lot in the film. There are many great performances, but others drop the ball. And the film concludes with a giant CGI battle that holds no weight or power, because it so far drifted from what makes the X-Men movies so great. In the end, X-Men: Apocalypse is still a good movie, but it's not nearly as good as the previous films.
What do you think? Have you seen X-Men: Apocalypse? Did you like the film? Leave your (spoiler-free) thoughts in the comments section below.
Written by: Nate
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