This is the worst X-Men film ever made, and I say this with full knowledge of X-Men III and X-Men: Origins. The suits at 20th Century Fox came up with the most clichè-ridden Hindenburg of a plot, which is a shame because director Bryan Singer’s revamped trilogy was going somewhere.
Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and the rest of the X-Men are enjoying life as the school prospers and takes in new mutants in X-Men: Apocalypse, which is set 10 years after Days of Future Past. There are new faces, like Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) and Cyclops (Tye Sheridan).
The new blood is bland and unconvincing. Don’t be surprised when they conveniently learn how how to use their powers over the course of the movie. Magneto (Michael Fassbender) has overcome his hatred for humans, and he’s a steelworker in a quaint Polish town with a nice little family.
The first two films of the series were a success. Fans got a fresh look at the younger versions of Charles Xavier (McAvoy) and Magneto in X-Men: First Class (2011). Days of Future Past (2014) was a bizarre movie that thoroughly rewrote the events of the series, cleansing the disappointing events of X-Men III (2007).
It was creative to plant the X-Men in the past where they prevented the Cuban Missile Crisis and Magneto killed JFK. These films made me feel the bond connecting Xavier, Magneto and also Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), whose character was reduced to eye candy in the original trilogy. These might be prequels, but they’re nuanced enough to stand alone. So let’s screw it all up.
X-Men: Apocalypse is a departure from everything that made the first two films of the series work. Instead of fighting the government or each other, the mutants have to fight En Sabah Nur, also known as Apocalypse.
Nothing about this villain works. He embodies the ancient-evil-awakens cliche. As for the garish opening scene, I thought I accidentally walked into Gods of Egypt or The Scorpion King knockoff.
Apocalypse is an azure Jeffrey Tambor look-alike who speaks with a overdone rasp, straight out of Power Rangers. He’s apparently the first mutant ever. He rounds up all the troubled mutants, and makes them stronger. His goal is simple enough: kill all the humans.
Magneto returns to his dark side — like he does in every movie — when his new family gets shredded by arrows. Arguably the most complex villain in comic book history is reduced to a pawn.
Fans have seen Apocalypse before. X-Men has been a comic-book movie mainstay with eight films since 2000. This somewhat reliable series was culturally eclipsed by The Avengers, Spiderman and Justice League.
Superhero rotations are trendy at the moment: wrangling a diverse squad of superheroes to quarrel and later bond in the face of a common enemy. Not to mention the web of spinoffs either. The Avengers has largely pulled this off, X-Men has not (save for the two Wolverine films). If the characters are uninteresting bricks, it’s just a series of lifeless repetitive CGI action sequences.
It hurts to watch the rest of the award-laden cast (James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, and Michael Fassbender) suffer through this thing. As for the writing, viewers ought to know that screenwriters have not been kind to this series and X-Men: Apocalypse is no exception.
Most movie critics like drawing lines in the sand on the “superhero bubble” and “superhero fatigue.” They love screaming things like, “Superhero movies are KILLING film as we know it!” at the sky with a copy of The Seventh Seal in one hand and The 400 Blows in the other. Not quite.
For every The Dark Knight, there’s a Fantastic Four (take your pick). Sure there are some terrible, terrible superhero movies, but there are too many interesting characters in that superhero pool to work with.
Studios know that if a franchise fails, just wait three years, spice up the name, add new faces and choose new villains. The same goes for X-Men, but if the next iteration in anyway resembles X-Men: Apocalypse, you’d better pass.
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