Yep another comic movie we’re certainly not short of them this year. Good news for comic fans like me, bad for people getting bored of Superhero movies. I love the X-men movies with the exception of X-men Origins Wolverine they really are not only great representations of the comic it’s based on but are movies that really entertain audiences as evident by the fact that this is the 8th movie in the series if you include The Wolverine movies. My personal belief is the best movies are X-men 1 and 2 as well as First Class and I did enjoy 2014’s Days of Future Passed which benefited greatly from the return of director Bryan Singer, director of the first 2 movies who returns to direct this movie. The significance of Days of Future Past is that it acted to reboot the series and would lead to the possibility of several future movies whilst erasing all the movies with the possible exception of the first.
Ever since the first movie the one question I was asking was: “when will we be getting a movie with Apocalypse” (my first exposure to the character being the animated series). This is the biggest badass villain in the X-Men cannon, the guy that was built up to in all the animated series and when it was announced the next movie would have him in it I was hyped. But could this movie live up to its hype that’s what I attempted to find out.
This film takes place in 1983, Charles Xavier (played by James McAvoy) is still running his school for the gifted, recruiting new students like Scott Summers AKA Cyclops (played by Tye Sheridan), Kurt Wagner AKA Nightcrawler (played by Kodi Smit-McPhee) and Jean Grey (played by Sophie Turner). However Raven AKA Mystique has returned to the school to inform Xaiver that an mutant from ancient eygpt named Apocalypse (played by Oscar Isaac) has returned and is planning to purge the world of all humans and weak mutants. And to top it off he’s recruited 4 horsemen to back him up including Erik Lehnsherr AKA Magneto (played by Michael Fassbender) following a personal tragedy. Can these new X-men defeat what is one of their toughest opponents to date?
There are some very enjoyable moments in this movie but unfortunately it’s not a total success. The film has some great set up and the first portion really succeeds however it struggles to get the balancing act completely and as a result several aspects of the film feel underdeveloped. Since the ending of Day’s Of Future Past’s ending caused the series to reboot the film has to juggle a lot of plot lines to re set up the series, several characters have plot lines going on from the previous 2 movies, several characters from the previous continuity have to be reintroduced with all new character arcs most of which feel like retreads from the previous continuity and we have to establish several factors of the plot that happen between movies since there’s been a 10 year time gap since Days Of Future Passed. While this film isn’t as confused and complicated as Batman V Superman but a lot of the sub plots feel a bit underutilized or even unnecessary. Now the other movies did have slight issues with juggling all their plots but I felt like this movie didn’t quiet manage it completely.
It’s not as if the film didn’t have enough time to give a full and tightknit plot, the films 2 and half hours long and in that time it feels like it’s tried too much and hasn’t had as much focus. The biggest example of this is a portion in the middle of the film where a few of the X-men are captured by Cornel Stryker taken to the Weapon X Facility (the massive military base from the second movie) and Cyclops, Jean Grey and Nightcrawler have to bust them out. This sequence goes on for a long time, contributes little to the plot and really only exists to set up the next Wolverine movie. There’s a reason I chose to show the final trailer in my review last week that’s why. This scene would have been much more forgivable if Wolverine had been a genuine surprise but since he had been given away in the last trailer the whole segment feel padding and advertising for a sequel that was already guaranteed. This whole sequence could have been cut, yeah Wolverine is cool like always and I love Hugh Jackman in the role but the time could have been used for actual character development that felt missing or rushed.
I did find it weird as well that there had been a 10 year gap between movies yet it felt like the characters hadn’t aged at all this time. I know it’s nitpick but it is a bit distracting
Also the plot feels very simlar to Avengers Age Of Ultron towards the film’s climax (which was pretty good by the way). It’s not a deal breaker but it was noticeable and slightly distracting.
In fact a lot of characters feel underdeveloped, this includes Havoc (who’s out of the movie really quickly and he was pretty underwhelming while he was on screen), Jubilee, Psylocke and especially fan favorites Storm and Angel the latter of which has been turned into a complete villain which will probably piss off a lot of fans.
I really didn’t like any of the romance sub plots because they really felt tacked on and weren’t interesting. Not helped by the fact that Scott and Jean don’t have much chemistry in this film.
However if there’s a lot this film does get right with its plot. For starters I did like a lot of the devious side of Apocalypse even though his motivations and actions are a bit all over the place and as usual the best part of the film was easily Magneto and his relationships with Charles and Mystique. I won’t go into too much detail with Magneto because I think his part in this film is best experienced for yourself. Plus it helps that McVoy, Lawrence and especially Fassbender are on their A game in these roles and are all fantastic. I also like Cyclops and Jean Grey they are really enjoyable characters. The writing also has some fun and good humour to break things up, not as much as the MCU movies but I appreciated it being there. There was also 2 characters I really liked, newcomer Nightcrawler and returning Quicksilver both of which were really fun
I also get a sense that Bryan Singer has taken full control of the franchise and you can really feel his love and passion for these characters and the stories and I think that shines through and overall I would have to say I was engaged with the plot however I had to acknowledge there was a lot of flaws that I couldn’t ignore.
As for the actors they’re a mixed bunch. I’ve already stated the best performances come from James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jenifer Lawrence but there are some other really good performances. Kodi Smit-McPhee is absolutely brilliant as Nightcrawler and I really loved Even Peters returning as Quicksilver. Nicholas Holt returned well as Beast and despite the fact he doesn’t any dialogue Hugh Jackman is still badass as Wolverine. I’m not too much of a fan of Rose Byrne in this role but her part isn’t written too well so I’m not entirely sure it’s her fault. I also really not getting behind Josh Helman as Stryker but it’s hard to compete with Brian Cox. Now when I heard Oscar Isaac was going to be playing Apocalypse I though it was fantastic casting and I like his performance in this film with most of my issues coming from the writing, he’s not the most developed villain. Newcomers Tye Sheridah, Sophie Turner and Alexandra Shipp all handle their parts well especially Sophie Turner who is very well cast as Jean Grey. Fans of Eastenders will recognise Ben Hardy playing Angel but if this was his way to get into Hollywood I don’t think it will work since he isn’t given much to do and leaves very little to actually do.
The action scenes are all really good and do a great job of implementing the various characters powers and personalities. Nothing quite on the level of the airport scene in Captain America Civil War but it’s still some good stuff especially the fights between Nightcrawler and Angel. Plus it helps that the effects are once again really good especially for the speed scenes with Quicksilver, which once again are the best part of the movie. Not all the effects are great but damn this can stand up to the MCU movies effects. I also liked a lot of the redigns including Apocalypse
I saw the Film in 3D. The 3D adds to some of the effects but for the most part I forgot I was watching a 3D movie and I could easily have seen this in 2D which is the version I’d recommend.
This is another example where writing a review makes my opinion sound harsher than it probably is. I enjoyed X-Men Apocalypse for the most part as an X-Men fan but I had to admit it was a flawed movie. It tries to balance a lot of plots and characters and I don’t think it handled it as well as Captain America Civil War. The performances are mostly good especially Fassbender and I liked the action scenes and I thought the plot was ok. However there are a few underdeveloped charters and plots and as a whole it feels a bit underwhelming at times. It’s ok but I wouldn’t mind if this is the final movie cause this franchise is kinda running dry now and there’s only so much more of the source material to work with. Though I would be willing to return for another sequel which is planned at this time.
Oh and they really push the 12A rating with some coarse languge and really brutal deaths.
As for other movies I saw this week, they were Our Kind of Traitor, Green Room and Mustang.
Our Kind of Traitor has a slow start but by the end it is a really engaging spy thriller aided by an excellent performance from Stellan Skarsgard though in comparing it to other John Le Carre adaptations I think I preferred Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
Green Room is a fantastically brutal thriller that harkens back to video nasties and exploitation films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It’s aided by really great gore effects, which have a reason to be there and are not a crutch for the film in the way many lesser horror films have used in the last few years and some really great performances especially from Patrick Stewart who expertly plays a devious leader of a Neo Nazi group.
Mustang is a Turkish film that was nominated for Best Film in a Foreign Language at this years Oscars and lost to the Son Of Saul which I reviewed last month. Personally I found this film to be better than Son Of Saul because it had more focused story, good characters, and plot I felt more connected to. Both films tackle a difficult subject but this one I felt handled it subject better. It’s very clear the director knows her subject and has carefully crafted her film to tell a very intense film about 5 girls trapped in there house by a patriarchy but also makes sure the entire film doesn’t feel like a punch to the face.
“What were your thoughts on X-Men Apocalypse or any of the other films I commented on?”
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Next time I Review the latest release from one of my favourite Sci-Fi franchises with Ghost In The Shell: The New Movie, which has just been released on DVD and Blu Ray and will be published on June 3rd
With all that being said thanks for reading my review I hope you enjoyed reading as I enjoyed writing it and I want Nightcrawlers powers!
Calvin – Nerd ConsultantShare This Post: