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X-Men: Apocalypse: It’s the end of the world as we know it, and it’s more of the same

May 11, 2016

Apocalypse movie poster

The biggest problem with X-Men: Apocalypse is that it repeats the sins of its predecessors. For every positive, there is a negative, and it creates two totally different tones that never gel. After the fantastic Days of Future Past this film is a massive letdown because it seemed like director Bryan Singer had the X-Men world figured out. 

The film opens with an amazing set piece that is equal parts suspenseful, fun and violent. Set in ancient Egypt, Apocalypse (Oscar Issac) is looking to transfer his consciousness into a mutant to further his lifespan. However, a team of incredibly brave Egyptians try to rid themselves of the God-like tyrant via crushing him underneath his pyramid. Their plan works and it is awesome! The scene is very exciting and I wanted a movie about the guys who wanted to kill Apocalypse (we don’t get that movie).

After the exciting intro the movie fast forwards to the 1980s and picks up with Apocalypse being awoken by a cult (who we don’t hear of again). From there, he starts collecting four mutant “horsemen” so he can end the world in a very boring fashion. The problem is you don’t care about any of it because the characters have their personalities sucked out of them. Apocalypse is the stock blue alien who has zero personality, while his horsemen Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Storm (Alexandra Shipp) and Angel (Ben Hardy) stand around doing nothing. The standing around reminded me a lot of Jean Grey’s standing around in X-Men: The Last Stand. I hated watching some very good actors doing nothing. I’m pretty certain Olivia Munn would’ve been better off taking the “girlfriend” role in Deadpool because she does nothing but glower in this film.

While Apocalypse and his horsemen are standing around  we are reintroduced to Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Moira Mactaggert (Rose Byrne), Quicksilver (Evan Peters) and  Alex Summers/Havok (Lucas Till). All of these characters find themselves reunited because of the new threat, and I enjoyed all of them. I loved that Xavier was finally able to have some fun before he had to deal with the life-sucking Apocalypse. I was really hoping that instead of battling the villain they went to a restaurant and hung out.

We are also introduced to Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Scott Summers/Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and Jubilee (Lana Condor). I really liked this group, and their best moments involved them going to Return of the Jedi and making a not so subtle dig at X-Men: The Last Stand. I also appreciated seeing how these iconic characters learned on the job as their first big battle pushed them to their limits.

X-Men Apocalypse

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So, there are 16 characters running around and nine are brand new to the story. Thus, there is not enough time to build any characters or relationships. There are some very fun moments but they are drowned out by the bad guys. Once again, Quicksilver has a brilliant set-piece to use his powers, and I loved Kodi Smit-McPhee’s take on Nightcrawler. I kept hoping we would get some great character moments like in X2 (think Nightcrawler and Mystique), but that never happens.

I was really surprised that director Bryan Singer repeated the past sins of X-Men: The Last Stand (wastes its villains) and  X-Men Origins: Wolverine (lame CGI ending). I like him a lot as a director, but I felt like he didn’t know how to blend the two very different aspects. I hope the next X-Men movie learns from this mess and rights its course.

X-Men Apocalypse is a crowded mess that should’ve focused more on the characters and less on an underwritten villain.

What did you think about the movie?

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