I was a bit worried going into X-Men: Apocalypse, it came at a time when we had already seen three comic book movies within a space of a few months, and they had already showcased the best and worst the genre can offer. Its trailer showed off a film that made it seem as if we were about to watch Jennifer Lawrence and the X-Men and the early reviews were very mixed. Don’t listen to the nay-sayers though, what I saw last night really surprised me and although it may not be perfect, I enjoyed the hell out of it. Read on to find out why.
Ten years after the events of Days of Future Past, a lot of the cast return but are in very different places from where we left them (you’ll have to suspend your disbelief at the fact none of the cast have aged since...). Mystique is on her own, rescuing mutants where she can, Magneto has settled in Poland with a new family and Professor X has got his school up and running with a set of new students, most notably Jean Grey, played by Sophie Turner, Cyclops played by Tye Sheridan and Nightcrawler played by Kodi Smit-Mcphee. All is well until an old and very powerful mutant, Apocalypse played by Oscar Issac, is awoken, who then goes and recruits his four horsemen in order to destroy the world (I think?).
I’ll start by saying that this isn’t your usual X-Men movie; the scale is unlike anything you have seen in this franchise before. Whereas other superhero films have decided to go for personal stakes this year, X-Men has gone the opposite way and I believe this is where some of the criticisms comes from; we’ve seen world ending stakes before in comic book movies however, I would argue that because we haven’t seen it on this scale in the X-Men franchise it instead felt like an exciting new way to take these characters and it also made for some incredible action sequences.
Apocalypse is a very menacing villain and he has quite a screen presence however some of the descriptions of his powers and plans are a bit vague; is he a mutant Wi-Fi booster? Body shifter? Mover of Elements? The power to make characters more comic book accurate? Does he want to destroy the world or control everyone? This is ultimately where the film suffers most. Whether you get his plan or not it really delivers on full blown spectacle and he is very menacing character.
Thankfully the film doesn’t add spectacle at the cost of character development. Some characters get more than others mind but this film really sets up its newest mutants nicely and gives them a chance to shine as they’re testing the limits of their powers in very troubling time. This isn’t Jennifer Lawrence and the X-Men, but instead it’s an ensemble film without the plot leaning heavily on one character as many X-Men films tend to do. This helps this film feel more like an X-Men comic book than previous instalments, it feels like a team film, a team with a crazy bunch of powers which all get their shot in the limelight. It’s as if the films are leaning closer and closer to their source material and although we’re not fully there yet it does make me very excited for what we’ll see next.
I feel like this film has come about at the wrong time, I wish they would’ve waited a couple of months before releasing as I believe most general audiences might need some time away from the superhero genre after Civil War only being released under a month ago. I wouldn’t have minded them waiting either, they could have spent more time perfecting some CGI shots as some look more at home in a video game then a big budget summer blockbuster, or maybe they could have given Olivia Munn more to do as Psylocke who looked very badass but didn’t really get the chance to show off those awesome sword skills the actress has been posting online. Or even Storm, this time played by Alexandra Shipp who gets a bit more to do but not enough in my opinion!
If you’re a superhero fan but weren’t planning on going to see X-Men: Apocalypse this weekend then don’t be a fool, you’re going to have a lot of fun and get a kick out of how the franchise is now edging closer to its source material. It’s not ground-breaking in terms of what we’ve already seen from the genre but it is a different step for the franchise and you finally get to see everyone’s powers in full epic scale mixed with some great emotional characters beats and a pretty wicked score throughout. It’s not the best superhero film this year but it’s not the worst either! I’m rating the latest X-Men instalment a 3.5/5.
What did you think? Was it a hit or a disappointment? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!