review by Bobby Blakey
Bryan Singer set the tone for big budget super hero films with 2000s X-Men. After a few missteps in the franchise after his initial 2 films the series finally got back on track with X-Men First Class which offered up a younger cast and new direction for the series while staying within the continuity. Singer returned to the helm with X-Men Days of Future Past that not only delivered it basically reset the universe in a way that worked without ignoring the things that came before it. Now he is stepping behind into the director’s chair once again to bring one of the X-Universe’s biggest foes to the big screen with X-Men Apocalypse, but is it another great entry into the long running series or will it destroy the franchise once and for all?
X-Men Apocalypse follows the emergence of the world's first mutant, Apocalypse, the X-Men must unite to defeat his extinction level plan. Like most of these films they feature much of the same cast along with some new additions including James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Oscar Isaac, Rose Byrne, Ty Sheridan, Lucas Till, Evan Peters, Sophie Turner, Olivia Munn, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ben Hardy, and Alexandra Shipp. With the trailers for this entry fans were up in arms regarding the look of Apocalypse with most saying he looked more like Ivan Ooze from the Power Rangers film. While there are issues with his look her does not come off purple like in the original trailer and on some levels he works pretty well. The design of his armor actually fits with the story they are telling as opposed to his usual more futuristic design, but that will likely still not make most happy. Isaac does a decent job with the role, but overall the character just never gets all that evil enough, which is really an ongoing issue with all the X films. The rest of the cast all do a decent job bringing the younger versions of these characters to life with MCAvoy and Fassbender once again offering up some of the most powerful moments. Evan Peters return as Quicksilver once again offers up one of the most fun moments of the film much like his previous sequence.
The story for Apocalypse’s horsemen don’t really make as much sense as it should have, but getting these characters with a look that is closer to the comic look will no doubt have the hardcore fans giddy. Munn is perfectly cast here as Psylocke, but while she looks the part to perfection she is sorely underused. Alexandra Shipp steps into the role of Storm and finally gives us the best version of Storm to date in both visual and performance. The rest of the cast do fine with Lawrence spending more time in her normal form than the blue look of Mystique this time around. The majority of this film works fairly well if you can look past the things that don’t always match the comics, but there is a major issue with this franchise that is really starting to hurt it overall and never so much as here. The ongoing good guy, bad guy story arcs with Magneto is just old. Every film is the same in this regard and while it is still well handled and great to watch, there is so much more to explore with these other characters.
This will likely be hit and miss once again with fans, but where this film delivers a pretty fun time it just doesn’t have the clever punch the previous two films had. Their additions of bringing real life history into the fold with the unfolding saga of the mutants made for great storytelling, but here it ends up falling into the clichéd end of the world saga that has been done in these kinds of movies time and again. Fans will no doubt be split once again, but there are some great visuals and Easter egg like moments that they will eat up despite some of the issues. For those that saw the final trailer it featured a teaser of a popular mutant in the franchise and while it is brief it might be the coolest appearance yet and one that will likely please all those that have had some issues with the character in the past. Visually the film looks awesome with the various mutant abilities used to perfection, but there are a couple of moments where it just didn’t look right and the 3D offers up nothing to help it out.
In the end this is not a bad film and in fact it is still pretty great throughout most of it, with the end where it kind of falls apart. This franchise still hits some obvious pot holes as it travels along, but it is on the right path. One of the final shot of the team this time around is the most pleasing of the entire franchise as we finally get a hint of the X-Men we have been waiting for. It will be interesting to see where they are heading the next time around now that everything has changed and we can only hope that it is up. If you are one of those that are hesitant of what to expect, just go enjoy the film flaws and all for what it is. Be sure to stay after the credits for the expected scene, but if you really have to be reminded of that for a Marvel film then you might not be a fan anyway.