I kinda feel sorry for X-Men: Apocalypse. This movie has to come out just a few weeks after the critically acclaimed blockbuster, Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War. Everyone, including us, have showered the film with nothing but praise for good reason. But now, X-Men: Apocalypse has to come out and try to wow us after we’ve all been wowed out by Civil War. I’m not saying that’s impossible. I’m just saying that Civil War is a tough act to follow!
So, does X-Men: Apocalypse manage to still entertain the audience even after Marvel’s earlier film set the bar so high? Let’s go find out!
If you’re worried you’re going to find out about the plot or details of the film, fret not! As mentioned in the title, this will be a SPOILER FREE review for X-Men: Apocalypse!
The basic story of X-Men: Apocalypse goes like this: In ancient Egypt, the mutant Apocalypse is about to transfer his body into someone that can heal instantaneously when rebels attack. He is then entombed for centuries and awakens in the year 1983, ten years after the White House incident of Days of Future Past. He then pursues his quest to annihilate the world, killing off the weaker people so that the stronger ones can take over. It is up to the X-Men to foil his plans.
Okay, that outline detailed above is a very simplistic summary of the overall story of X-Men: Apocalypse. There’s actually a lot of things going on as the film has to reintroduce old characters as well as shine the spotlight on the new blood of X-Men. That’s actually a huge problem as the first half of the film feels the need to tell you all of this information. There’s Magneto and what he’s been doing since Days of Future Past. There’s also Mystique’s new found fight against mutant oppression and Apocalypse’s search for his new Horsemen. They also have to show you Xavier and his newly established School for Gifted Youngsters as well as the new students Cyclops, Jean Grey and the other new cast members.
It’s pretty jarring as you jump from scene to scene between all the characters and points of view, making the first half of X-Men: Apocalypse a rather muddled mess. However, everything does tie together but the journey to get there was a tough slog to get through. With that being said, things do get better when all of these storylines and plot points converge during the second half of the film. That’s when the action picks up and we finally see what all those disjointed scenes have been building up towards.
Another problem with having all these characters in one film is that they’re not on-screen for so long. Everyone does get to do something but, as soon as that happens, it’s like they fade into the background. The ones that do get the most screen time are, of course, James McAvoy’s Charles Xavier/Professor X and Michael Fassbender’s Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto. These two manage to hold your attention as they pull off some great performances, which is why I do wish they had more screen time together like they did in the earlier X-Men films.
Oscar Isaac does a pretty good job as “the first mutant” Apocalypse. Even if he is covered head to toe in prosthetic skin and effects, his charisma somehow manages to seep through all of those layers of blue makeup. Jennifer Lawrence’s Raven Darkholme/Mystique is… there. Honestly, she doesn’t do a whole lot. The same can be said for Nicolas Hoult’s Hank McCoy/Beast. It’s like they had to be there since they were in the previous films but, if you really look at the overall story and where their arcs go, you could write them off.
I do have to comment on the villain’s costumes of X-Men: Apocalypse because they look really good. I had my worries regarding Apocalypse since there were some screen captures that made him look a lot like Ivan Ooze from Power Rangers. Thankfully, he looked much better on screen. I really liked Storm’s pseudo-mohawk look from the comics and I’m glad they went with that in X-Men: Apocalypse. However, the best costume has to be Psylocke’s as it successfully straddles the line of comic book aesthetic and real world functionality. Also, I’m glad they got Olivia Munn to play Psylocke since… wow! She looks fine! And since Psylocke is extremely hot in the comics, I have to say Olivia Munn was the perfect casting choice… even if she doesn’t really do much like practically the rest of the cast.
If you’re coming into X-Men: Apocalypse for action, you may leave disappointed. X-Men: Apocalypse doesn’t really that many of them. Like I mentioned at the start, the first half of the movie is dedicated to developing the characters and telling their stories. As such, there’s not much focus on action here. In retrospect, they may still be satisfied as the last half is just bursting in the seams with adrenaline pumping action.
It only has one extended action scene and that’s in the climax. However, this action scene does save the movie as it finally decides to stop trying to tell its overly complex and muddled web of stories. It finally does try to be a superhero movie with bombastic fights and excellent choreographed battles and special effects galore. Remember Quicksilver’s movie stealing sequence in X-Men: Days of Future Past? Well, he has a couple of those scenes here and they’re fantastic! Just as good as the commercial the cast did promoting broadband internet!
You can summarize X-Men: Apocalypse by saying it’s actually two movies combined. One movie tries to be intellectual and tell a tale of different people and their stories intertwine and connect later on. The second film is an action packed thrill ride with pretty entertaining fight scenes. The former isn’t that good while the latter is pretty awesome. Put them together and you get a decent experience that’s pretty entertaining if you’re willing to sit through the boring film first. It’s not as good as Civil War by a long shot, but X-Men: Apocalypse is still an enjoyable experience overall.
Have you seen X-Men: Apocalypse? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!