X-Men: Apocalypse isn’t very… Apocalyptic.

To say that the eponymous villain has been heralded by hundreds of comic books and stories before the film – many with huge sprawling stories which include apocalyptic type events… there’s not much in this new iteration that really makes the audience stop and wonder how the heroes might save the world. It’s all quite predictable, with not much being left out of the trailer, we knew where the film was heading at all times. Oscar Isaac isn’t giving the performance of his life throughout this film at all, and whilst he still carries some weight behind his role – it won’t win him an oscar. Some of his motivations behind wanting to rebuild the world seem a little childish – essentially boiling down to the fact that humans have evolved and grown past worshipping him like they did 4000 years ago. And whilst this simple plot might be okay to put on Netflix in the background whilst you’re doing something better with your time, it’s not exactly compelling material.

There are a few plot elements that fall through the cracks, and only seem to serve the film stars that are playing them. Jennifer Lawrence gives an almost effortless performance as Mystique, but it’s only effortless in the fact that it doesn’t seem like her heart’s in it at all. She’s there, but it’s not as if she’s desperate at any point to rally the team around her. Her motivational speech “You’re not students, you’re X-Men” falls flat in front of the audience. Plus, has Bryan Singer forgotten about the fact that she’s meant to be a villain? It’s getting a little silly how they keep bringing her back.

Having said that, there are some moments in the film that are genuinely very well captured and have some real substance to them. The most notable of which, is the scene of another tragedy for Erik Lensherr/Magneto… the death of his wife and daughter. It’s not exactly unpredictable, but the way in which he breaks down immediately after is another example of Michael Fassbender acting his heart out. We do get some brilliant performances from newcomers Tye Sheridan and Sophie Turner. We see the beginning of Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Jean Grey’s relationship, and they play with an interesting dynamic as they both grapple with the crippling weight of their powers. Although we definitely get the feeling that the next film in the series could quite easily be centred around the Dark Phoenix Saga. It’s also quite fun in some places, even if they’re a little misplaced. We get to see an extended look at Quicksilver utilising his speedster powers to save everyone in the mansion – but we get the feeling that he’s a little too overpowered. It’s still a fun sequence nonetheless, building on the memorable scene from ‘Days of Future Past’.

Whilst the visuals and style of the film are most definitely impressive – it falls foul under the typical superhero movie trope in many ways. It takes the Batman V Superman route of destroying a city as its’ final act, as it’s heroes battle around the wreckage. Alot of the finale sequence is featured in the trailer, so much so that it would be quite easy to place the trailer footage in chronological order and be able to understand the plot of the film. Since there was only a couple of physical characters that actually helped take down Apocalypse that final team-up moment right at the films finish didn’t have the weight that it should’ve done.

Whilst it plays with a few interesting ideas and tees up other films in the franchise (Wolverine 3), it puts all it’s faith in the audience believing that Apocalypse can destroy the earth and rebuild it. When from the start of the film we just expect him to be defeated. X-Men: Apocalypse won’t exactly be your top film of the year and certainly has its problems – but it’s a fun superhero flick without taking itself too seriously.

 

5.8 X-Men: Average
  • No need for his Horsemen 6
  • Final act; CGI city destruction 4
  • Fassbender, Turner + McAvoy 8
  • Average Jennifer Lawrence 5
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