Movie Review: X-Men: Apocalypse- Not Perfect, but Certainly Not the End of the World

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X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)- 20th Century Fox

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Superhero

Director: Bryan Singer

Starring: James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Oscar Issac

I’ve been excited for this film for a couple of years now. However, through the production and trailers, I had a lot of worries. Apocalypse reminded me and a lot of others of Ivan Ooze from the Power Rangers franchise (that isn’t a compliment). Also, I thought he was kind of small looking. Still, I went into this movie ignoring the mixed reviews (didn’t watch or read any of them). I came out quite pleased with my decision. X-Men: Apocalypse is a step down from X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), but it quite far from being a bad movie. If anything, it gave loyal X-Men (movies/shows) fans some much needed love.

The movie is about the first mutant known as Apocalypse, he has awoken and seeks to become a god to the people once more. The X-Men must find a means to stop him. (So simple, but it works.)

The film has a few issues. For one, much like nearly every major superhero film this year, this film moves all over the place. This movie has a lot of moving pieces, a lot of stories to combine together. It wouldn’t bother me as much if not for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Captain America: Civil War both doing the same thing. I understand that when you have a universe as complex as DC, Marvel, or X-Men, you want to use the awesome characters at your disposal. Still, the first half of this film is lots of build up. People biding their time, mutants being collected for various reasons. I wish there was more to it than set up. (Alright, there is more, but I can’t discuss because spoilers.)

The other major issue I had was tone. This movie goes from dark to humorous very quickly. A couple times I really was shaken. In one scene I’m getting the feeling of dread, of danger and ominous things to come, the next scene they are immediately trying to make me laugh.  I prefer a smooth transition from one scene to another. Each can have an emotion or information it is reaching for, but splice it together too fast and you lose some of the effect.

Also, I wish Jennifer Lawrence was more Mystique and less Jennifer Lawrence. (More Mystique and less Catniss). She isn’t a bad actress and she doesn’t necessarily play a bad Raven/Mystique, but just I felt someone was pushing the Jennifer Lawrence factor too heavily for my liking in this movie. Be proud to be a mutant!

Finally, I was not feeling Angel in this film.  I actually liked Angel a bit more in X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) (Not the face!)

What I Liked:

Without spoiling anything. I liked a lot of this movie. Yes, the first half of the film was a lot of build up. However, the events going on during this period weren’t badly made. It shined light on what has happened over the last ten years, added new interesting characters and storylines to the universe.

Again, as a fan of the franchise. I love seeing how characters evolved, what changes them, what motivates them. Unlocking their inner potential. How their various stories intersect in a variety of ways I can appreciate. As a fan of the franchise, I liked the tender moments where you see an event in a new way. These characters are complex and they have very interesting back stories. You feel for them, you root for them and Singer has done that as good as anyone has ever done.

Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse did a fine job. I still think Magneto is the far superior/more interesting villain. However, I loved seeing this unambiguous villain. He has a purpose, he has incredible powers, he is certainly menacing and Isaac’s performance is fairly memorable. The issues with his voice, his coloring, and his size weren’t so grand to me. I thought the voice was fine, the size was more realistic, and the coloring was improved in the course of the movie.

Quicksilver once again has a great scene.  Probably the best or second best scene in the movie. I will leave the rest to you to watch and enjoy.

The action in the last half of this movie is great. The last hour of this film is must watch (get your restroom break out of the way before the big showdown). As some of you know, I’ve been on the Tye Sheridan bandwagon since Mud (2012) and I think he was solid as a young Scott/Cyclops. A lot of these younger actors such as Alexandra Shipp as Ororo/Storm, Sophie Turner (Jean Grey), and Kodi Smit-McPhee as Kurt/Nightcrawler (did really well). The cast in this film was in large part awesome and I look forward to seeing more (there has to be more coming right?)

In the End:

This movie has some issues, especially in the first half. However, what it seems to deliver is a beautiful fan service film. Where a lot of the things you wanted to see for sometime finally happen. The more you know about X-Men, the more you are going to like this film. Keep in mind, there are those purists who won’t like how some things have been altered. I get that, but if you can look beyond these details to the actual movie.  It’s a good time.

Even though it is a love song to the fans, it can certainly be enjoyed by the casual viewer.  As long as you can understand that X-Men is a layered franchise. They cover a lot of social issues and this film is no exception. There is good character dynamics, some beautiful dialog between characters, several powerful emotional scenes, and lots of quality action. (Perhaps the most action packed X-Men film ever.)

This film is also fairly violent, so if you have a younger moviegoer. Be prepared to see some difficult scenes. It is by no means graphic violence, but hardcore PG-13 violence at times.

My Rating

I’ll Buy This- I have been an X-Men fan since the 1990s and this movie did a lot which I enjoyed. I loved the ending, it certainly went to some dark places. Gave me a little bit of everything I could have hoped for. Perfect it is not, but it is yet another quality addition to the franchise.

 

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