Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult
Apocalypse, an ancient mutant with godlike powers, returns from the world’s longest nap and decides to remake the world powering up a team of mutants, including Magneto, to help in his schemes. Meanwhile, Professor Xavier works to assemble a new team of X-Men in an attempt to prevent the big blue baddie from destroying Earth.
This film brings to a close the second X-Men trilogy, while also working to set up a whole new trilogy by introducing the young versions of classic mutant characters. It feels like the movie is trying to do too much, bringing an end to the stories of the remaining First Class characters while setting up new ones.
The trilogy has been too loose for many of the story pay offs to feel deserved. In particular, Mystique’s story seems to undo much of her development from the previous films, finding her afraid to show her real form once again. Thus her story here feels like a retread of First Class with her embracing her mutant status once again.James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender feel completely comfortable in their roles at this point, but don’t get much of a chance to bring anything new to their characters. McAvoy’s Xavier feels synced up with the character’s place in the original X-Men film, remaining static in that position. Magneto at least has an interesting arc; however it doesn’t build much on the arc previously built up for Fassbender’s character and therefore feels unearned.
X-men: Apocalypse is overstuffed with characters and, as a result, many are shortchanged, in particular Apocalypse’s Horsemen who are lucky to receive a few lines. This is very disappointing for Alexandra Shipp’s Storm, who from her few appearances seems to be a much more faithful adaption of the character. Olivia Munn’s Psylocke and Ben Hardy’s Angel hardly get to make an impression either.
The new X-Men fare slightly better, with Sophie Turner standing out in particular, creating a very realistic Jean Grey who is afraid of what she can do. Tye Sheridan and Kodi Smit-McPhee work well as Cyclops and Nightcrawler respectively; Smit-McPhee plays a shy and awkward Kurt who is fun to watch, whilst Sheridan does a good job of capturing some of the jerkier sides to Cyclops, a character who is still far from the leader he will become.Apocalypse himself ends up being a fairly lame villain and, despite his plans to destroy the world, the stakes feel incredibly low. For a supposedly all-powerful mutant he relies entirely on others, at no point feeling like a threat by himself. Oscar Isaac sounds bored by the role, breathing no life to the character and ending up feeling like a run of the mill villain.
For a superhero movie, Apocalypse is lacking in exciting set pieces. Quicksilver receives another slow-mo sequence that tries to outdo the one from Days of Future Past. However, it ends up falling flat, feeling like a cheap attempt to recapture the magic of the original. The big fight scene is quite bland, the mutant vs mutant violence struggling to thrill. The final moments do contain a very cool moment that should make any X-Men fan squeal but it isn’t enough to fully redeem the fight.
As a whole, X-men: Apocalypse works better to set up future films than really contribute much on its own. Fans are left waiting for the inevitable sequel to really see what the new characters can do. The stage is all set for a new series of X-Men films, one which will hopefully be more consistent than what the films have offered so far.