X-men: Apocalypse is the latest film in the X-men franchise, featuring the younger cast from X-men: First Class. The film pits the X-men against the most dangerous villain to date: the ancient mutant Apocalypse, who sees himself as a God and seeks to purge Humanity and leave only the strongest mutants alive as his followers. The film also gives us younger versions of character’s we’ve seen before, such as Storm, Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Nightcrawler, and introduces several new characters as well. The film stars Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Oscar Isaac and much more, and is directed once again by Bryan Singer.
This film is a classic example of how these big franchise films seem to feel like they need to be bigger and more threatening than the previous films. There is more action, more characters, and much more at stake than I feel we’ve seen so far. This can sometimes be a problem as films like this can lose the personal feeling and just become an overloading dump of CGI and action and no real heart behind it, but Singer does a good job of blending the big action with smaller emotional moments. That being said there is a lot going on in this film so at times it did feel quite messy and over stuffed, especially in the open act of the film which was basically just an exposition dump to set up the characters which was a bit slow and uninteresting. When it gets past this though I did find the film quite enjoyable and gripping; by around the halfway point I found I was invested in what was going on. The action was well shot and exciting, and while quite over the top at times it was certainly entertaining. The comedy landed very well a lot of the time, especially from Quicksilver (Evan Peters) who, much like in Days of Future Past, had a scene that stole the whole film and was somehow even better than his scene from that film. So while there is a lot going on I personally enjoyed it once it got past the initial set up.
To me, the best thing about these films is the characters, and most of the cast was great. Fassbender and McAvoy are once again brilliant as Magneto and Charles Xavier. The relationship is very complex, but their brilliant chemistry makes it incredibly deep and interesting to watch. Both of them show great dramatic chops that give this film the personal feeling I mentioned earlier. Another two stand outs where Evan Peters, who is witty and hilarious and has so much energy, and the relative new comer Kodi Smit-McPhee, who play’s Nightcrawler. Smit-McPhee is very sweet and brings a cute innocence and charm to the role that was very funny. Sophie Turner (Jean Grey) and Tye Sheridan (Cyclops/Scott Summers) were also very good.
The film is not without its issues though. One of which was with Jennifer Lawrence, who to me seemed to be acting exactly the same as she did in the Hunger Games, and while that might be largely because Mystique has been written in a similar way to Katniss, she still came across as being a bit bored at times. I also found Apocalypse to be a rather underwhelming character. All he was, was the big bad villain that’s going to destroy the world just because he wants to. He wasn’t gripping or interesting as a villain because there was no redeeming feature or understandable reason for him to be a villain, and so Oscar Isaac was a bit wasted in the role, as there was nothing original to his performance. Also, while the CGI was mostly up to standard, there were a few effects that looked a little off in the big destruction scenes. Finally, while I personally enjoyed seeing a lot of the plot points in this film because I love the X-men and have been waiting to see them done well on film, I feel like some things might be lost on you if you’re not as familiar with the X-men.
So while the film isn’t anywhere near perfect I personally found it to be a very enjoyable addition the X-men franchise and I’m excited to see where the new characters will go from here.
P.S. I loved how they did the new characters, especially Psylocke and Nightcrawler, who I love in the comics. I feel like out of the recent super hero films, this is better than Batman V Superman but not as good as Civil War or Deadpool. There is also a little Wolverine moment in this film that is more violent than we’ve seen before, which I believe was to set up that Wolverine 3 is going to have an older rating.