X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

A Little Background: I waited way too long to write this up and now it’s been over two weeks since opening night. My apologies, hopefully it’s still fresh enough in my mind. Wolverine and Deadpool spin-offs aside, this was the sixth entry to the long running X-Men film franchise. Apocalypse marks the fourth X-Men film that Bryan Singer has directed, and the third of the “prequels.” I’ll admit, I am a sucker for these movies, to the point that it supersedes my deep hatred for Marvel cinema. So I may be a bit biased, but I will try to be consistent as well

The Film: With Apocalypse, the X-Men prequels continue to take on a past decade. First Class took place in 1962, Days of Future Past continued in 1973, and Apocalypse springs forward to 1983. I could raise a few continuity and consistency issues with this film, but in Days of Future Past, Singer took the Abrams/Star Trek route by establishing an alternate universe. I guess this takes him off the hook, and I guess I can’t blame him. I’m sure his main motivating factor was to erase Brett Ratner’s ridiculous abomination, X-Men: The Last Stand. These are the types of things that can make franchise movies so hard to critique as just one film. For instance, one of the more negative aspects of Apocalypse is the circular character development of Magneto. It seems that every movie he starts in the same place, goes through the same conflict, and ends with same type of redemption. On its own however, it’s a great character study, it just loses some impact after a few times. And the truth is, Michael Fassbender is damn good at it. Fassbender and James McAvoy have brought incredible charisma and humanity to the younger versions of mutant legends Magneto and Professor X. And in Apocalypse, the acting chops of these two carry much of the film. The storytelling of this movie plays a little bit like a five part miniseries. There are numerous subplots and character introductions, with a unified growing sense of a epic standoff coming in the end. Some of the newer characters fall flat on their face, Olivia Munn and Sophie Turner seem terribly miscast. Tye Sheridan’s one-dimensional acting seems to actually work for Cyclops. Oscar Isaac seems wasted on cerebral yet corny villain. And Evan Peters’ Quicksilver continues to be one of the best new characters introduced in the prequels. I would rank Apocalypse somewhere in the middle of the franchise lineup, not great, but certainly better than others.

Three Favorite Things: any dialogue-driven scene with Fassbender or McAvoy, the reappearance of Nightcrawler, and a spectacular opening credits scene

 

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