By Michael Kaye
X-Men: Apocalypse (Review)
I've made it clear so many times before that I do not believe in the false narrative that is "superhero fatigue." That being said, 2016 is a critical year for the genre, as we've now seen 4 comic book movies over the past 5 months. Fox had a great headstart with the surprise hit that was Deadpool, so far the highest grossing film in the X-Men universe. Next came Batman V Superman, one of the most polarizing films of the year, and possibly of all time, causing a massive shift in power over at WB. Following that was Civil War, so far the highest grossing film of the year. And here we are tonight with the latest installment of Bryan Singer's X-Men trilogy with X-Men: Apocalypse.
Here's the story. Since the dawn of civilization, he was worshipped as a god. Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant, amassed the powers of many other mutants, becoming immortal and invincible. Upon awakening after thousands of years, he is disillusioned with the world as he finds it and recruits a team of powerful mutants, including a disheartened Magneto, to cleanse mankind and create a new world order, over which he will reign. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Raven with the help of Professor X must lead a team of young X-Men to stop their greatest nemesis and save mankind from complete destruction.
I had a really great time with this movie, as I have with all of the comic book movies that have come out so far this year. In terms of the X-Men franchise, or at least this new trilogy that began with First Class, I'd say it's the weakest of the three, but still a satisfying theatrical experience. Here are my positives and negatives.
*Possible spoilers ahead*
First off, the best thing about all of these movies has been the cast. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are probably the best actors portraying these characters, even surpassing the legendary Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, which is not an easy feat to do. No matter how far they've been torn apart, at the end of the day they still remain good friends. Speaking of friends, we got a whole lot of newbies coming to play. Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, Ty Sheridan as Cyclops, Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler and Alexandra Shipp are fantastic in their roles! I can't wait to see where these characters end up in the future. And finally, Oscar Isaac is a very menacing presence as the titular villain.
The story, while not perfect, was a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy that began with First Class. I like how Rose Byrne got to reprise her role as Agent Moira Mactaggert, and the fact that she lent a great deal of help in discovering Apocalypse and his four horsemen. Simon Kinberg returns to write the screenplay, with the help of X2 writers Dan Harris and Michael Dougherty as creative consultants. Extensive research on ancient Egypt went into this film, to give it a more authentic feel, which really helped with establishing the tone.
Bryan Singer continues to grow as an action director. Much like Christopher Nolan, action was never really his strong suit, as he was more focused on story and character development. But here, we get all that, but we also have some FANTASTIC action scenes. I don't wanna give away any specifics, but if you've seen the trailers, you know the two people who absolutely steal the show, one of them will be playing the character for the final time next year.
The music, as always in a Bryan Singer film, is awesome. John Ottman composes his biggest, most epic score to date, which is fitting, given the threat of biblical proportions. And as a Metallica fan, I cracked the biggest smile when they started playing "Four Horsemen!" I mean, if you're going to set your movie about Apocalypse in the 80's and you DIDN'T use that song, it would have been a major missed opportunity.
As far as negatives go, I don't have anything major, just a few nitpicks that bugged the hell out of me.
First one is extremely minor, and that was the "mall scene" that was cut from the film. I'm a little disappointed that we didn't have a scene with the newbies hanging out together at the mall, something that would have provided a great deal of levity to a rather heavy film. But if Singer felt like it would have detracted too much from the story, then I don't mind too much if it needed to be removed.
The other complaint I have is the size of Apocalypse. His look was fine, I had no problems with that. But in a perfect world, I'd have preferred if Oscar Isaac used performance capture to play the character, that way he can have a more larger than life presence. Other than that, I still think Isaac crushed it in the role.
One more thing before I wrap things up: don't you dare leave until after the credits, especially if there's a certain Sinister character you'd like to see somewhere down the road...
X-Men: Apocalypse is nowhere near the disaster critics are making it out to be. Just because it falls short of the masterpiece that was its predecessors, does not make it a terrible movie. I don't blame you if you personally disagree, everyone is free to voice their own opinion. For me, I thought the good most definitely outweighed the bad, and I look forward to the future of the X-Men franchise with this new cast.
Now it's your turn! What did you think of X-Men: Apocalypse? Is it as bad as the critics say it is, or do you think it deserves more credit? Also, what are your favorite films of the franchise? Drop your thoughts in the comments below, and join me next time on my trip with Alice Through the Looking Glass.