X-Men: Apocalypse Review

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It’s been more than a decade since X-Men hit theaters and became the catalyst for the golden age of comic book films. It’s only fitting that the X-Men franchise will be the first to show their heroes battle the strongest villain in the entire X-Men universe, Apocalypse. After all, he is equivalent to Thanos and Darkseid as far as the X-Men are concerned. But does the appearance of Apocalypse continue Fox’s recent trend of “x-ceptional” X-Men films?

Thankfully, yes. X-Men: Apocalypse is a loud and grandiose film filled with plenty of bits that’ll surely please long-time X-Men fans. While it’s not as ambitious as Days of Future Past, it certainly ranks high on the list of best X-Men films.

Following the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse follows the powerful mutant Apocalypse as he awakens after a centuries-old slumber in Ancient Egypt. After seeing what the world has become during his slumber, Apocalypse believes that mutants should rule the world with him ruling as their god-king. He recruits four mutants and enhances their mutant abilities to become his “Four Horsemen.” It falls upon the X-Men to rise up and stop their seemingly invincible nemesis from destroying mankind.

After wiping the slate clean with Days of Future Past, Bryan Singer and Simon Kinberg have learned what makes the Marvel Studios films so successful: A general understanding and respect towards the source material. Although this doesn’t really matter to regular moviegoers, there are millions of X-Men fans around the world that will appreciate all the attention to details and references to the comics. Singer also pushes the boundaries of the violence in Apocalypse too. The action sequences are hard-hitting and eye-popping to the point where you question how they got through that PG-13 rating.

With as many characters that Singer focuses on in Apocalypse, the plot is understandably very simple. There aren’t many moving pieces to the plot, which allows all of the characters to breathe when the film focuses on them. Unlike Days of Future Past, the film tries to give the entire ensemble their just due screen time.

However, as much as this is an ensemble film, Fassbender carries much of the story’s emotion. Fassbender has never been more compelling as Magneto. His story arc showed not only a gentler side of Magneto but also an emotional intensity not seen in the character since First Class. Evan Peters makes another electrifying return to the X-Men universe, but Peters has much more to do this time around than show himself in a simple – but awesome – cameo. Not only does he provide the comic relief but he also goes on a bit of an emotional journey as well. Oh, and yes, he does have a sequence that tops the jailbreak scene in Days of Future Past.

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James McAvoy goes full Professor X in Apocalypse and I’m not talking about the fact that he’s bald. McAvoy is able to channel the loving and caring mentor side of Charles that we’ve seen in both the comics and Patrick Stewart. It’s just too bad that his character doesn’t develop much in the film. Although Mystique is considered a hero to all mutants in the film, Jennifer Lawrence’s impact doesn’t register the same way. She has relatively little to do in the film except give one lackluster speech after another.

Tye Sheridan is also great as the young and inexperienced Cyclops. Given the emotional journey that he goes through, Sheridan is able to show a range of emotions from cockiness to frustration to sadness. Sophie Turner and Kodi Smit-McPhee, as Jean Grey and Nightcrawler respectively, are the other fresh additions to the cast. Turner channels her inner Sansa Stark by imbuing Jean Grey with vulnerability and confidence. Unfortunately, the chemistry isn’t there yet between her and Sheridan. Smit-McPhee embodies the childlike attributes of Nightcrawler perfectly.

The film’s focus on Apocalypse, Magneto, Professor X, Quicksilver, Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Nightcrawler leaves very little room for the rest of the ensemble, both new and old. Nicholas Hoult is fine again as Beast, even though he doesn’t have much to do in the film. Newcomers Alexandra Shipp, Olivia Munn, Ben Hardy, and Lana Condor are fine additions despite barely having a lasting presence in the film.

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Unfortunately, as powerful, charismatic, and badass as Apocalypse is, he’s a very one-dimensional villain. There isn’t much depth to the character other than being the world dominating evil force that he is. In addition, Apocalypse also follows some of the many generic villainous clichés that you see in Hollywood. Despite all that, Oscar Isaac is still scary as he has such a powerful presence on screen that you can’t help but be afraid of what he is capable of.

Overall, X-Men: Apocalypse is an absolute blast thanks to the witty, inventive, and perfectly paced direction by Bryan Singer. X-Men: Apocalypse does have its flaws, but the film does enough to overcome its imperfections and keep the fans satisfied. With this being the 8th film in the X-Men franchise, Apocalypse still shows that there’s a lot of treads on these tires.

Rating: 4/5
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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1293 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.

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