X-Men: Apocalypse Movie Review (Spoiler Free)
The X-Men return to the silver screen and this time Charles and his students are facing their strongest opponent yet, and possibly the end of the world as we know it.
Director: Bryan Singer
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Lucas Hill, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ben Hardy, Alexandra Shipp, Olivia Munn, Josh Helman, Lucas Till & Hugh Jackman.
Run Time: 144 min.
US Release: 27 May 2016
UK Release: 20 April 2016
German Release: 19 April 2016
Hello and welcome to my review of Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Apocalypse, the sequel to X-Men: Days of Future Past and the first movie in a new timeline of FOX’s X-Men franchise. With 2014’s Days of Future Past, X-men veteran Singer rebooted the complete series and erased the previous continuity of films, including the monstrosity that is X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the weak X-Men: The Last Stand. Apocalypse takes place in the year 1983 and stars James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as the younger versions of Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr. Sadly, I found this movie to be much weaker than Days of Future Past, First Class, X-Men and X-Men 2 but it was still fun to watch!
The plot revolves around the first mutant of Earth, En Sabah Nur a.k.a Apocalypse (Isaac), who is ruling ancient Egypt with an iron fist and plans to shape the rest of the world in his image. Apocalypse himself transfers his consciousness into other strong mutants and thus takes over their powers, accumulating a vast array of abilities. In 1983 Moira MacTaggert (Byrne) is investigating an Egyptian cult, who worship Apocalypse and wake him up from his millennia-old sleep. En Sabah Nur immediately gets to work and recruits Ororo Munroe (Shipp), Psylocke (Munn), Angel/Archangel (Hardy) and Erik Lehnsherr a.k.a Magneto.
Meanwhile, Mystique (Lawrence) is advancing in her own mission, to save mutants from the abuse of humans and helps Kurt Wagner (Smit-McPhee) - alias Nightcrawler, to escape a cage fight he was forced into. She takes him to Xavier’s school, where she reunites with Charles, Hank McCoy/Beast (Hoult) and Alex Summers/Havok (Till), who were showing Summer’s younger brother Scott, a.k.a. Cyclops around the school until Jean Grey (Turner), a student at Xavier’s school, attained a dark apocalyptic vision.
It seems that this is the year for big superhero flicks that include an absurd amount of characters, we had Batman v Superman early in March and Captain America: Civil War later in April; both being big adaptations of graphic novels. X-Men: Apocalypse is no different and includes a vast array of important characters from Marvel’s X-Men universe, proving once again that Bryan Singer is able to handle big team-ups and give most characters depth and a good background story. The action parts are entertaining and I also find the scenes that take place inside people's minds, to be very intriguing and strong story arcs.
Now, like I said before, I am a little bit disappointed by this film because it has some big issues and one of them is the very uneven and sometimes excruciating slow pacing! I don’t mean the first 20 minutes of the movie, which are used pro-actively to introduce new characters, with the directorial team doing a fantastic job at that! Throughout the movie, however, I experienced some scenes that are paced slower than others, and these nearly bring the movie to a halt! Finally, there is the somewhat silly and clichéd plan of world domination from Apocalypse but I’ll get to that later.
X-Men: Apocalypse makes use of a vast pool of important characters, such as Nightcrawler, Psylocke, Storm and others, but since the list is too long I can only concentrate on those that were most important to the plot, otherwise this review would never end! Just as with Captain America: Civil War, I will keep my analysis of the cast and characters short. That said, I was somewhat disappointed by the limited background and screen time given to Storm - played by Alexandra Shipp, and Psylocke - played by Olivia Munn.
James McAvoy as Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto are once again fantastic! These two actors know how to play off each other, throwing the ball back and forth. The feud between the two is still interesting and I was really invested in the story and friendship of both characters. The interactions between Charles and Erik would not be as interesting, though, if it wouldn’t be for Raven Darkhölm - a.k.a Mystique, who is played once again by Jennifer Lawrence. She keeps bringing these two mutants back together but compared to the previous blockbusters, Mystique to has a much smaller role in this one, nevertheless, Lawrence gives a tremendous rendition.
Oscar Isaac displays En Sabah Nur/Apocalypse, but I ain’t really impressed by this film’s villain. Isaac is a fantastic actor, he was great in A Most Violent Year, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the mind-blowing in Ex Machina. Sadly, his portrayal of Apocalypse does not feel scary or menacing enough, and his character is not properly used. All he does in the movie is to wake up in a new millennia after falling asleep and recruiting his four horsemen, using big speeches and letting them do all the work. His big plan to dominate the world consists of transferring his mind, once again, into other mutants. That is cheap writing and an even worse depiction on screen.
Sophie Turner plays Jean Grey and she is surprisingly good; I wasn’t sure about her casting at first but she proved me wrong and washed away all my doubts. Her portrayal of Jean is quite accurate, as she displays her insecurities and fears that come with her powers. Tye Sheridan is awesome as Scott Summers and this movie redeems the nearly criminally underdeveloped back-story of Scott from the previous instalments. For everyone who complaint about Cyclops in previous X-Men films before, Apocalypse fleshes him out perfectly this time!
Verdict: In a nutshell, I would say that X-Men: Apocalypse is a fun superhero flick, but comparing it to the previous X-Men movies it is simply OK. The plot takes in a lot of characters and manages to juggle them quite well most of the time, but there are definitely some shortcomings to their stories, mainly with the characters of Storm, Psylocke and Angel. Other than that the rest of the characters shine in this instalment, especially those of Jean Grey, Scott Summers and Nightcrawler, who are given rich background narratives. The plot itself is all right, I like how it brings back Moira MacTaggert and the overall idea of Apocalypse is interesting but the character’s potential is sadly wasted. That said, the action sequences look fantastic, even if some story aspects drag out a little bit too long. I will give X-Men: Apocalypse a 7 out of 10!
Thank you very much for reading my review and apologies for the late posting, I hope you enjoyed it! Let me know what you thought of the film, by leaving a reply in the comment section below.