Bryan Singer’s X-men movies have been among my favorite in the land of comic book adaptations. In particular, First Class and Days of Future Past have been fantastic achievements and are highlights among all the comic book adaptations. So Apocalypse has a lot to live up to, what it does is give us just as many brilliant moments as half-hearted ones. I liked X-men Apocalypse but what it tries to do is mix the formulas of both First Class and DoFP into one movie that has many successful moments along with quite a few pitfalls. I was however pleased to see the movie and I might say I would watch it again.
What made First Class so damn good was that it focused on the relationship between Charles and Erik. Two individuals crossing one another and developing a very complex relationship full of empowerment, conflict, and understanding. That made First Class thrive and this element is touched on further in DoFP. In X-men Apocalypse, we see some dynamic between these two characters but not nearly enough. This trilogy was built on the foundation between Charles and Erik, where First Class was Erik’s journey, DoFP was Charles’ journey, this movie doesn’t really seem to be anyone’s journey, but it does focus more on Erik. Each scene with Magneto (Erik) is a powerhouse even with some uneven dialogue, Michael Fassbender as an actor overcomes weak dialogue and makes the strong moments shine even brighter.
Days of Future Past was focused on the fallout of Charles and Erik, focusing on Charles’ point of view. His journey to becoming Professor X is a riveting one that passes through despair, drug abuse, and failure. These strong themes as well as many other ruminate in each prior movie. In Apocalypse there is a sense of family and unity, there is a vie for hope, but it’s not as realized as it has been in past movies. I will contend that James McAvoy is a superb Charles and by the end of Apocalypse plays a Professor X with excellent potential.
The best bits of the movie are courtesy of Evan Peters’ Quicksilver. Quicksilver was also a big highlight in Days of Future Past and he has yet another scene stealing moment or two. You know who doesn’t? Jennifer Lawrence. Throughout this movie, Mystique is referenced as a hero and inspiration because she did so many phenomenal and heroic things in the other X-men movies. She gets only one scene to really do anything in Apocalypse and it’s wasted potential for a character with such a fascinating grey area. Other good performances include a superb Nightcrawler and a promising Jean Grey.
X-men Apocalypse is a long movie. Boasting at 2 hours and 23 minutes, it’s palpable how much gets accomplished and goes on, but perhaps too long. After oh so much destruction the CGI starts to look really shotty, some ships, cars, and buildings just look really mediocre and it’s not difficult to spot. There’s also an entire sequence that’s around 20 minutes that could have been taken out, but eventually you see its primary purpose is to tease future X-men movies.
Tonally, Apocalypse is all over the board. Humourous moments coming after intense emotional moments, One moment something big gets blown up, the next we’re in a containment facility. It doesn’t work too well sometimes and other times the translations are great. While it may sound like the movie has a ton of problems (which there are indeed many) I would absolutely contend that it’s outnumbered with much better scenes.
I loved Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse. Many other reviews complained of how he is meager-ly tied to the plot. He’s essentially an overpowering mutant with a god complex that acts the way a cruel god would act. I think it’s great because he’s a catalyst for his followers. The man has a plan, he is sticking to it and he’s more of a daunting opponent. His moments and the entire movie are carried by a fittingly grandiose soundtrack that I’ll be listening to for quite some time. Overall, X-men Apocalypse isn’t the X-men movie I was hoping for, but for what it is, I had a good time even if there are some noticeable hiccups. As an X-men fan I appreciated this way more than as a film fan.
+ Excellent opening and conclusion
+ Every Magneto Scene
+ Superb score
+ Good performances
– Shotty CGI
-Lack of Charles and Erik together
– Often inconsistent plot
? – Inclusion of two characters that is completely unnecessary