Review – X-Men: Apocalypse
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Produced by: Bryan Singer & Stan Lee
Written by: Bryan Singer & Simon Kinberg
Release Date: May 18th 2016
I remember when this movie first released and received very mixed reactions from both critics and fans. At the time, I fell on the more positive side of the fence and actually kind of enjoyed this movie for what it was when I saw it for the first time in the cinema.
It is amazing how things change…
I revisited X-Men: Apocalypse for review last night and found it very difficult to get through.
The year is 1983, 10 years after the last X-Men movie, Days Of Future Past; as in the kind of 10 years where no one ages a day. We know that it is 1983 because some of the young mutants go and see Return Of The Jedi in the cinema. The hairstyles and fashion statements are suitably 80’s, which is actually a very appropriate motif to choose as it adds a more comic book feel to the movie and forces it to stick to a brighter colour palette than some of the previous X men outings.
Another positive is the return of Quicksilver, who has another grandiose slow motion scene in the film, but unfortunately it is not as well choreographed as the one in DOFP and somewhat falls flat in comparison.
The design of Apocalypse in this movie is something that I just could not get behind. There were points where it took me out of the movie entirely and although Oscar Isaac is a great actor and he does his best with this portrayal of the ancient mutant even he can’t make this film palatable. The other major downside to his character is that he is significantly nerfed in terms of his powers here. He does feel mildly powerful at points, but never overwhelmingly so and when the final confrontation does take place, it feels like he is holding back. This could be explained in a contrived manner by saying that he doesn’t want to kill mutants, because they are all his children, but if the success of his plan depends on it then he shouldn’t even hesitate, he should just wipe all the X-Men out in an instant like we know that he can.
The tone is another issue I have with the movie, it is extremely inconsistent throughout and never reaches the level of threat or peril that it is aiming for. However, this isn’t the fault of the cast or the performances they give. MacAvoy and Fassbender stand out here as you would expect, their relationship also remains one of the most interesting parts of the plot. Isaacs’ performance is also suitably threatening and sinister, the only thing lacking in his character other than the odd design choice, is how short he is next to the other mutants. He doesn’t have to be huge like in the comics and cartoons, but making him a little bit more physically imposing with clever camera tricks would have went a long way in adding to the character.
Jennifer Lawrence is fine here as usual, even if it does seem like she doesn’t want to be there in certain scenes. Young Cyclops and Jean Grey are perfectly serviceable, although Sophie Turner’s American accent does come and go in certain scenes. Even Peters does his best as Quicksilver and the actress who plays Storm here is also pretty convincing, as is the young English actor who plays Angel. Nightcrawler is also a welcome addition to the roster as I feel that he has been criminally underused since the second X-Men movie and his power set is definitely one of the most interesting in all of the X-Men movies, also the actor playing him here does a good job throughout the film.
The special effects are noticeably shabby throughout the film, especially when you remember that this movie came out in the same year as Captain America: Civil War. This was also the last X-Men movie directed by Bryan Singer and knowing what we know now, good riddance. The direction in this movie certainly isn’t anything to write home about anyway and the cinematography is also pretty lazy and by-the-numbers.
Overall, upon re-watching X-Men: Apocalypse for review, it has not aged well at all. I don’t often say that about movies that are only five years old, but here we are. If you remember this one being okay back when you first saw it in the cinema, then please don’t do what I did and revisit it because you will only be disappointed.
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