X-Men Apocalypse is the the third movie in a the the series, and much like the first trilogy, with that god awful movie Last Stand, Apocalypse is the worst of the three. Now before I get a torrent of hate for comparing this to X3, let me explain. Singer’s latest entry into the X-Men franchise is pretty good. It has its problems, which we will talk about below, but it is SIGNIFICANTLY better than Last Stand and there are a lot of positive moments we can take as we move forward with this universe.
First thing I have to mention is my dislike of Mystique. I like the comic book character, and I like Jennifer Lawrence as I believe she is a talented actress, but I have not liked how this trio of movies has pushed her into the spot light as a character who traditionally, coming from the comics, has been foe to Xaivers school for the gifted more often then not. In this film Lawrence either does not want to be there, especially in costume as I have heard it is a pain in the ass to get into, or they wrote her dialogue so poorly that nothing could help it as the wooden and sometimes lifeless projection of “character motivation” that I grew bored of her almost instantly.
While it’s understandable to see why she is in “human form” most of the time as she doesn’t want to be seen as a hero due to the events in Day’s of Future Past, her actions also lack any real urgency or impact. I found that she drifted into and out of each scene as every other character was more appealing in some way. The final battle of the movie further showcases her inability as a character to make real differences up until the point she becomes a damsel in distress at the hands of Apocalypse, but more on that later.
On the flip side, almost all of the remaining cast had stand out moments in both dialogue, visual aesthetics and displays of power. As we have come to expect, the relationship between Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr (or Max Eisenhardt from the comics) is on point. Both Michael Fassbender and James MacAvoy continue to be a solid foundation for this universe to rely on. It has been said by many others, but it is incredible that Fox found two pairs of actors to play these character so well. The bulk of our emotional growth comes from Magneto, who gets to push not only the agenda’s of Professor X in the beginning of the movie by “living among us” as Charles wants, but then the subsequent rage at the loss of his family due to his past and the eventual turn around at the end of the movie to see what his actions in siding with Apocalypse have wrought.
Another great addition to this movie are all of the new kids, both literally as “kids going to school at the X-mansion” and new actors stepping into the roles of Jean Grey, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Storm and Angel/Archangel, and Psylocke. While the weakest performances from the the last two on that list, as they had basically nothing of note to do, the others stand out as actors and actress’s to look forward to in the
X-Men cartoon X-Men in the 90’s movie coming out in a few years. The display of powers for Storm, Cyclops, and his sort lived brother Havoc (spoiler, it looks like he dies like a idiot due to over zealous chest-beam action) look fantastic, while Nightcrawler, Jean Grey and Psylocke have situational power uses which look cool, but didn’t get to see them enough. The standout powers for me however have to be Magneto’s as he literally rips the earth apart and causes some major damage every time he goes full bore.
While the first seventy five to eighty five percent of the movie was really enjoyable, it was the last fifteen to twenty percent that killed the momentum. Apocalypse as a character looked great, had cool visuals for his powers and a fun cadence to show his level of anger/zeal for the tasks he was doing, yet when it comes time to use “melt your skin cause I did that forty five minutes ago to a dude” again in the main fight as an attack, or at least a threat that the X-Men could dodge/defend against we get nothing. As his horsemen start getting picked off/leave he resorts to a flame shield (because reasons) and the climax of the movie turns into a episode of Captain Planet where the five kids are all blasting Captain Pollution with elemental damage. We also never really get to delve deeply into his back story and why things were the way they were. There was so much material to potentially let viewers in on and we left each scene with a constant “wait, why didn’t he just do ‘x’ or ‘y’ with his powers like he did before”. Incredibly frustrating.
On top of a disappointing final fight, I have to mention Psylocke as she cut a car in half, had a thirty second fight with Beast, then fell out of a plane only to use her psy-blade as a pickaxe and slow her decent down a wall, which by the way would have ripped her arm clean off. . . . just saying. Her character was so underused and frankly poorly managed that the only good thing to come from Olivia Munn was a movie credit for her, and a really well designed comic-to-screen costume for us.
While this seems like such a downer for the Apocalypse, I will add as a highlight for me the Wolverine cameo. I really enjoy his character and while the Weapon X suit was not realized to its fullest (like why the fuck could you see his face, it should have been a full visor. Really we all know its goddamn Hugh Jackman) he did get to murder a ton of dudes and that was okay for me. As stated above the ending was a downer but the movie was pretty enjoyable, and if you have not yet seen it, I do recommend going to watch it. It is a fun popcorn movie you can mostly turn your brain off for. Lets hope that the next movie is a bit closer to the comics and we see something like this.