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Review: X-Men Apocalypse

Written by tha - bang from the blog Movies and Things with Thabang on 20 May 2016
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Is Bryan Singer's follow up to the very successful X-Men: Days of Future Past able to dodge the third film curse or not? Let’s dig in...

(Double click the trailer for PCs)

2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past saw the X-Men bring the class of Patrick Stewart's older X-Men meets the class of James McAvoy's younger version of X-Men. Two distinct eras connected by Wolverine with two different casts, which ended on a somewhat happy ending that set the bar very high for the third movie in the first class trilogy.

Unfortunately the 3rd movie in the first class trilogy suffers from the third movie curse, just like Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi is not as nuanced and rewarding as The Empire Strikes Back (something the characters in this movie acknowledge). It's the same situation with The Godfather 3 which is not anything close to The Godfather 2.

Apocalypse does not begin to touch the levels of Future Past. In my not so humble book, X-Men: Apocalypse is the second worst X-Men movie ever, after X-Men: Last Stand of course, which is officially Bryan Singer's worst X-Men movie ever.

Why would I say such hurtful things I hear you say? The plot is tedious, it takes forever to get out of the exposition zone, there’s too much rehashing of certain plots that we’ve seen already and the film even rehashes character journeys (for those with character arcs).

Most of the new characters introduced are just there to add numbers. There’s no character arc or journey for Psylocke, Storm, Angel, Nightcrawler etc. - it's almost X-Men: Last Stand revisited.

Furthermore, the new actors are not really that captivating. Sophie Turner is still stuck in her Sansa Stark whiney mood, Tye Sheridan as Cyclops is infuriating and Olivia Munn, although she looks sexy in her outfit, has little to nothing to offer story wise, the film could have happened without her character and we would not have lost much.

Then there's Jennifer Lawrence who is clearly too big to spend too much time in the movie in the blue costume and still deals with the same old issues she did in the past X-Men movies.

It almost feels like Bryan Singer wanted to create X-Men: The Day After Tomorrow or Independence Day whereby a lot is invested in visual effects of destruction and stuff blowing up but little attention is paid to why is stuff blowing up and what's motivating people to want stuff to blow up and why we should really care about the people on screen or destruction.

We don't even get a true sense of the mechanization of how the destruction is taking place. Stuff just happens on screen and we are passively watching.
It’s a pity because Apocalypse, as a bad guy, he is at the level of Joker, Thanos and Loki when it comes to being an iconic comic book villain. But here in this movie, I ended up asking myself, why is he even in this movie!? because he really is so under used and does little.

Oscar Isaac, who is a great actor in his own right, is made to play Apocalypse as a diminutive demi-god wannabe who lacks presence and is not truly menacing at all hence his voice gets digitised at times to make him sound more menacing.

Apocalypse as a character is made to be a clichéd, one dimensional baddie with no nuance or complexity, not even an allure of some sort. Apocalypse is a total fail by Singer.

The script and story is totally undercooked - by the time the movie ended I was happy the torture was over. Even the post credit scene did nothing to pump my juices for future X-Men movies.

The only saving grace for this movie is Quicksilver; his humour and visual effects are always stunning but his story arc is also butchered towards the end. I hope this is the last X-Men movie we see at least by Singer, it's time for a change.

Not all comic book movies need to be funny or wall-to-wall action movies but X-Men has always been the smarter and more nuanced of the batch - it's hard to believe that X-Men Apocalypse was done by the same dude who gave us X-Men 2 and X-Men: Days of Future Past... maybe it's time to pass the baton and please recast Mystique too.
* Rubbish **Ja nee ***only if there’s nothing better on TV ****Now we cooking ***** Instant classic


23 May 2016 09:54

Hi Tha-Bang - while I agree with some of your criticism (Apocalypse is a bland villain; character arc retreads;marginalised characters) there were some character moments that were really epic and thrilling. I really liked the recast Nightcrawler, Jean Grey and Cyclops. I think Storm will have more develoment in the New Mutants movie - but yes I was disappointed that Ororo and Psylocke were underdeveloped. I could watch Michael Fassbender as Magneto endlessly. Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique is problematic but she's not going anywhere and as I think she's an amazing actress I've come to accept it.Same with Quicksilver (who was never really an X-man).The thing about the X-franchise now is that the path ahead is unpredictable which is part of the fun.

23 May 2016 12:32

The trend is toward social messages over action.
Yes .. Too much was squeezed into the storyline.
... If you read as many of the comic book series as I did growing up, the movie fell short of representing the nemesis of Apocalypse by attempting too hard to fit it into acceptable norms and correlating the factors to what the directors & screenwrites (who happen to be the same parties in this case), which is why the story fell on its own weight.
... truth ofeverything is ... that is not wat movies are about, and definitely NOT what comic books are about .. which is entertainment in some form or another ===> an escape from reality; a point critics are more progressively lost on.
For me, stories are about the message, not necessarily the characters (actors), or comparitives with the previous renditions of a franchise, if that was the case, we might as well stop going to movies, and keep watching the old renditions on the DvDs at home.
Look beneath the essects, actors, etc., and try read into the story; what is it attempting to communicate.
Apocalypse failed to be cohesive as a story , be its purpose the message, or the thrill of entertainment ... viz. the escape.

tha - bang
24 May 2016 18:59

Hi VusiK i hear what you saying about the message, xmen aways had something to say that goes beyond the story that speaks to real world context whether it be about racism, being gay or the use of strength over the weak but these messages are told through the characters take a look back at x2 or even first class , i think this one lacked substance.its even shown on poor character development

@wonderlad if this was any other comic book movie i would have forgiven the poor decision and be satisfied with fassbender and mcavoy's performance but weve seen all this before, theyve proved that they can deliver such depth before? i really was disappointed in the story and choices and i know we need to be excited for new mutants but it looks like xmen is going the star trek route which is a least for me

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