X-Men: Apocalypse is the third film in this new trilogy of X-Men films, the eight film overall, (ninth if you count Deadpool) and the final film in the franchise to be directed by Bryan Singer. (X-Men, X2, and X-Men: Days of Future Past) This movie follows the mutant, Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) who wakes up in 1983 after thousands of years of sleep. He has gathered four followers, including Magneto, to help with the destruction of the world in order to build a better one. So it’s up to the X-Men to band together, stop Apocalypse and save the world.
The X-Men film series has been an interesting series to say the least. They hit a major roadblock with X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but I feel like they managed to find their footing again with the reboot/prequel series. X-Men: First Class was a fantastic re-introduction to the world of the X-Men, and X-Men: Days of Future Past not only corrected the wrongs caused by The Last Stand and Origins, but it also became my absolute favorite X-Men movie. So how do you top X-Men: Days of Future Past? Sadly you don’t, because even though X-Men: Apocalypse is not a down right bad movie, it doesn’t live up to the bar set by the first two movies in this trilogy. Out of all of the X-Men movies, this one is one of the more generic and standard of the franchise. Nothing about it really stands out and one of the reasons is because the plot is the standard “villain wants to destroy the world, heroes must stop him”. Now a standard plot like that is not necessarily a bad thing. I have nothing against a generic plot like this, if I actually cared about what was going on.
One of the big reasons for my lack of caring surrounds the villain, Apocalypse. He just reminded me of Ronan from Guardians of the Galaxy; a power-hungry being who wants to rebuild the world by destroying everything. I also thought Oscar Isaac’s performance was pretty underwhelming and since he is one of my favorite actors working today, I was rather disappointed. I feel like this has to do with the fact that the character wasn’t written very well and Oscar Isaac seemed to be restricted by all of the makeup he had to wear. I haven't read the comics so I'm only looking at Apocalypse from a cinematic sense, and I thought with what they had, there was a lot of wasted potential.
Speaking of wasted potential, I felt like the movie completely wasted the characters of Psylocke and Jubilee. Olivia Munn as proven herself to be a good actress and she looks like Psylocke from the comics, but she’s only there to act as one of the followers for Apocalypse. She ultimately doesn’t have a lot to do and there were points where I forget she was in the movie. Jubilee get’s it even worse because she doesn’t do anything other than be a background character for fans to recognize. So if you were looking forward to these two characters being on the big screen, you’re probably going to be mad. However the one character that I feel did not need to be in the movie at all was Moria MacTaggert, played again by Rose Byrne. Her only reason for being in the movie is to bounce exposition about the backstory of Apocalypse to Charles Xavier. After that she just tags along with the team and really offers nothing of value.
So I’ve listed a lot of the things I didn’t like about the movie, but there is actually quite a lot that I do like. The actors still do a good to great job, especially Michael Fassbender as Magneto. There is a subplot at the beginning with Magneto as he tries to have a simple life after the events of Days of Future Past, and it’s incredibly well done. To avoid spoilers I won’t say what happens, but that whole sequence with Magneto was the most emotional part of the movie and Fassbender pulls it off flawlessly.
I also like the actors who play the younger mutants. My favorite new actor of the group is Sophie Turner as a young Jean Grey who basically goes through the same character arc as in X2 where she tries to adjust to her powers. In a situation where they repeat a story arc from a previous movie, I thought it made more sense to have Jean struggle with her powers at a young age than as a woman in her late 30s. Plus since Days of Future Past altered history, anything could happen and they don’t exactly have to come around full circle to the first movie. I also appreciate how QuickSilver is more of a character and not just a plot device like he in the previous film. While I didn’t think his big action scene in the movie was as amazing as the one from the last movie, it’s still very impressive. I prefer the Days of Future Past scene because it came as a surprise, especially since I didn’t think Quicksilver was going to be any good.
So to wrap things up, X-Men: Apocalypse is a fairly enjoyable movie with a lot of good elements to it. However there are also a lot of missed opportunities and it can be a bit boring at times. It’s a major disappointment when compared to the films it had to follow, but I feel like it has enough going for it that it’s at least worth seeing if you’re a fan. I can’t see anyone thinking it’s worse than X-Men: The Last Stand or X-Men Origins: Wolverine. As far as I’m concerned you can’t get any lower than those two movies.
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