X-Men Apocalypse - Review
X-Men Apocalypse makes many of the same crucial mistakes as its series ending counterpart, X-Men The Last Stand. While this certainly feels like old ground being covered, it still makes for a consistently entertaining and worthwhile superhero flick.
X-Men Apocalypse is the supposed end to the rebooted X-Men trilogy, following 2014's excellent X-Men Days of Future Past. The focus of this rebooted trilogy has always been on the relationship between Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender). Sadly, this relationship takes a backseat in Apocalypse, instead choosing to focus more on the new X-Men and the villain Apocalypse's domination. While this is entertaining, it feels a bit tired after having just seen Captain America: Civil War, which certainly left a good impression. The journey of Apocalypse from unknown villain to world conquering force of nature is jarringly quick, and often feels a bit silly. X-Men makes the same mistake as hundreds of films before it, in not establishing why we should be so afraid of this villain. Sure, if you've read the comics you know the whole story, but I found myself unimpressed by the god-like villain.
X-Men First Class and X-Men Days of Future Past had some of the greatest superhero performances ever. There is ample opportunity for that same greatness in Apocalypse, it just doesn't choose the right characters. For example, the titular villain Apocalypse never becomes much more than a destructive force, with his motive being a need for a "better world". Apocalypse takes up a lot screen time, so it makes sense that he should have been the most developed new character in the film, but it's the new X-Men like Jean Grey and Cyclops that receive the most attention. This makes X-Men Apocalypse feel more like grounds for new trilogy, rather than an end to the current one. The returning cast, including the always excellent Michael Fassbender, help bring back the charm and serious tone the series has adopted, but even James McAvoy feels a little cartoony, often uttering lines that just don't fit with the moment. Evan Peters is once again fantastic as Quicksilver, bringing back everything that made him the standout character of Days of Future Past. Jennifer Lawrence is also great as Mystique, but like many other characters, she feels sidelined to make room for Apocalypse.
The past X-Men movies have always been smart about the time period they choose to tell their story in, but Apocalypse's 80s setting feels barely present. Little to no pop culture is incorporated, as opposed to First Class which used its 60s setting to great advantage. There are plenty of great special effects in Apocalypse, especially in the Quicksilver scenes. Nightcrawler is also a marvel to watch, as his full body face paint and seamless teleportation power are used to their full extent. Wolverine also makes an awesome cameo, giving a little hint to what was to come in the future of the X-Men.
X-Men Apocalypse is far from the best X-Men movie, but it offers enough interesting new characters and relationships to keep me interested in the long running Marvel series.
Pros- New X-Men, Michael Fassbender, Quicksilver
Cons- Apocalypse underwhelms, several characters sidelined, time period not used effectively