X-Men: Apocalypse is the latest instalment in the ever-growing Fox and Marvel franchise following the misadventures of the beloved X Men. But does the latest movie rise to the cream of the crop, or, as Jean Grey, played by Sophie Turner, neatly mentions, ‘the third one’s always the worst’? Just to note, this is the spoiler-free review of the movie.
Well, for starters, it’s not the best, that’s for sure. The major story arc is generic at best, with a baffling blue CGI-enhanced Oscar Isaac playing the powerful yet confusing big villain, with odd motives. You’re not really a god if you’re not ruling over anyone (because you may have accidentally killed them all.) The Four Horsemen’s backstories are briefly touched upon but not fully explained-Psylocke is tempted into becoming a Horseman by Apocalypse because…fun? And why is Angel, although admittedly strong, being chosen by Apocalypse, who wants ‘only the strong’? I know he is recruited in the cartoons and the comics, but the reasons here are hardly justifiable for an otherwise not particularly strong mutant.
Some, although not all, of the good guy team also gets the bad treatment here-most of Jubilee’s hinted scenes at the mall and at the mansion are simply not there, being reduced to a mere few minutes at best of screen time, which is quite disappointing for a character which has been ecstatically waited for to appear properly in the X-Movies for quite a while aka since 2000’s X-Men. Jennifer Lawrence is probably trying her best to do a good job, but you simply can’t tell due to Mystique’s stockiness. She’s unemotional and apparently unable to produce jokes, smiles, or even inflexion on her words, sounding like a robot without the fear programmed into her. She is also hardly ever actually Mystique, preferring to stay out of the three-hour latex suits. Her lines as well, are all animated, unreal, horribly predictable and so corny you kind of just want to laugh at them even if everyone’s pummelling each other in a big fight scene.
What I’m trying to say is that it doesn’t pull off the whole ensemble thing. There are way too many new characters-introducing the new cast, finalising the old and dotting a few extras here and there for laughs, as well as hinting future sequels and spinoffs-with a bit too many side storylines which leaves you in the cosy X-Mansion to the scorching hot Egyptian sands, before reverting to East Berlin and then Poland. Unlike Captain America: Civil War, which masters the juggling of the ever-increasing cast (which, eventually, may cause problems in terms of running time, worryingly), it overwhelms this film, unfortunately. This is a first, even with Last Stand, where the X-Men seems to struggle with the number of characters it has to hold.
Not to say that there weren’t any stunning performances. Both James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender deliver beautifully in some truly touching moments, truly showing off their acting finesse, and Nightcrawler is finally done well as a character, instead of the poor tormented soul we saw back in X-2. Both Cyclops and Jean Grey pave the way for future films, hinting at a possible Dark Phoenix saga (most likely in space, so get ready for some Shi’ar magic), although some scenes are a bit cheesy and laughable. Quicksilver, as usual, does not fail to deliver, with a longer scene than that incredible kitchen one in Days of Future Past (in my opinion, the best out of the six films to date), if it does seem a little strained by trying to reach above the bar set by DoFP but still providing a bubble of lightness to an otherwise depressingly melancholy script.
In the end however, although the film manages to build pretty decently, it all comes down to that disappointing generic end-battle, with so many been-there-done-that’s you’ll be wondering if you’ve already watched this film before. It’s very cheesy, it’s very generic, and it’s extremely heavy on CGI. And it doesn’t quite pull it off either. The ending of the film hints what’s to come, although I don’t really think Professor X would approve of the speech Raven gives.
With too many different locations, storylines and dismal writing to cram into this already stuffed film, Singer suffers for his action and CGI-magic by losing out on the strongest thing, the binding force that made me love the X-Men so dearly in just a couple of months, and that’s character development. A movie with no heart at the centre of it just doesn’t aspire to the stars. X-Men: Apocalypse certainly isn’t the worst superhero movie this year, but it’s most definitely not the best. (Music is still great though.)
News and Announcements
- Watched X Men Apocalypse yesterday, there were a lot of feels 😦 Sorry for the lack of posts apart from the two on comics last month, I’ve been busy prepping for exams and X Men Apocalypse was my reward. So here you go. I’ll write a spoiler version of the movie as soon as possible.