(Warning: Spoilers for X-Men: Apocalypse below)
For many comic book movie fans, X-Men: Apocalypse is the most under-appreciated superhero movie of the year, even getting less fanfare than DC's arguably lacking entries in their cinematic universe. Sure, maybe expectations were way too high for the Days of Future Past follow up, but that shouldn't detract from the fact that is a very solid movie, with fun characters and great action.
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Being overshadowed right after the release of Captain America: Civil War left this movie to be under-seen, but now that it's on Blu-ray, it will give X-Men fans a chance to discover or rediscover what they've been missing out on. Here are five things that the film nailed:
1. It Gives Clever New Twists On Familiar Origins
One thing that X-Men: Days of Future Past did was create a brand new timeline, meaning that Kinberg and company could take liberties with how attributes of these famous characters came to be. It changed everything from how Storm's hair turned white to how Kurt Wagner was introduced to the team. One of the most unexpected, but welcome modifications was the origin of Professor X's hair loss. It was very clever of Singer to come up with a way to link Xavier's baldness to the film's antagonist, Apocalypse. Another aspect that the filmmaking team radically reworked was the inclusion of Wolverine. Logan's escape from the Weapon X facility is very different from that of X-Men: Origins and X2, seamlessly integrating the plot point to the team's new adventure.
2. It Has A Big Heart
I seriously can't be the only one who almost cried during when Magneto's family died. That scene definitely stands alongside Civil War's airport scene as one of the standout film moments of the year. This movie has a solid emotional heart, and it shows the audience that through its fully-developed protagonists and their character moments. Magneto's forest scene so powerful on multiple levels, and Fassbender no doubt makes his case as the definitive iteration of the character. In addition to that, Apocalypse calls back to First Class in very effective ways, showing the audience how attached we have become to these individuals. The use of First Class footage during Moira's revelation was a particularly moving way to bring the trilogy to a full circle.
3. Everything With Quicksilver
Thank God Quicksilver had a bigger supporting role in X-Men: Apocalypse than its predecessor. His 10-minute spotlight in Days of Future Past was not enough for the speedster. If there is one thing that Fox is far better at than Marvel, it is its use of Peter/Pietro Maximoff. Fox knows exactly how to include him, and how much he should be in the movie. Having American Horror Story's Evan Peters quipping and running around hero-style is a pure delight to watch. Not only was his scene in this film bigger than the previous one, it's even better than the first:
Seeing his father-son relationship progress in future installments will only make the character more interesting, giving more layers to the hero that we already love so much.
4. It Has The Franchise's Best Team Dynamic
The X-Men franchise has always been centered around Hugh Jackman's badass and charismatic Wolverine, with Deadpool and First Class being some of the notable exceptions. Included in that list is Apocalypse, which evens out the characters more than any other film in the franchise so far. It is so great to see multiple developed characters that the audience is actually invested in, become part of a working team that actually compliments one another.
Watching the film, it is clear the band of heroes do have chemistry and a sense of camaraderie behind them. It is also welcoming to see another film in which none of its characters really outshine one another, being more like pieces of a puzzle, rather than having a certain Australian show up and become the stand out of the group again.
5. James McAvoy & Michael Fassbender
Without James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, the First Class trilogy honestly may have not lasted three installments. These two powerhouse performers are what drove the rebirth of this franchise. Their friendship may just be the most genuine relationship of any comic book adaptation. Once again they bring their A-game to the superhero genre, again convincing the audience to look past the fact that they're enhanced mutants by showing that they too are human.
These two actors have put the most heartfelt emotion into the portrayals of their characters, more than any other MCU or DCEU films this decade. More importantly, their relationship in Apocalypse builds up these individuals even more that the first two installments, constantly driving deeper into the minds of the geniuses. Fox knows how to build them in the right way, just like what they have done with everything else on this list.
What else do you think X-Men: Apocalypse got right?