I’m not going to pull any punches in this review for X-Men: Apocalypse, but I will be fair. You’ve probably read the long-winded analyses and think pieces about Bryan Singer’s latest X-Men movie offering, so I’ll skip that part because it’s been done and I found the film to be pretty much the same old thing. There were some really standout parts but overall X-Men Apocalypse was just okay.
Apocalypse picks up about a decade or so after the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past and everyone’s doing their own thing. Professor X (James McAvoy) opened his school and haven for young mutants, Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is off rescuing mutants solo because she “works alone”, Magneto (Michael Fassbender) is living a happy, average country life with his wife and daughter in Poland where he works in a factory, Quicksilver (Evan Peters) is still living in his mama’s basement, and Beast (Nicholas Hoult) is still the Prof’s ride or die companion. Everyone’s all over the place and have lost contact (except for Professor X, obvs) until a powerful force unites them, while bringing in some new faces like Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), and Angel (Ben Hardy). This is no force to be trifled with because he’s a mega-super-mutant named Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac). He may be the daddy of all freaking mutants; like the OG mutant.
Anyway, he wakes up from hundreds upon hundreds upon thousands of years and he’s pissed. He gets a quick crash course on humanity and world history over the centuries and he’s (rightfully) livid and quite disappointed in us. Basically, to Apocalypse, we suck and he needs to do something about that. He meets up with Storm, Psylocke, Angel, and Magneto and they become the Mod Squad of mutants. Apocalypse’s goal is to destroy humanity as we know it and rebuild it with him to lead us. First, he just needs to find some more mutants. Where else do they go? To Professor X’s school, of course! It’s a buffet of freaking mutants.
While the world is on the brink of an apocalypse, Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) shows up to Professor X’s school and starts to learn ways to leverage his mutant power. Meanwhile, Mystique and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) journey to Professor X who has scooped up Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) in an effort to figure out what the hell is really going on. Apparently, Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) is picking up Apocalypse’s harsh vibes and Jean’s crazy dreams seem to be connected to a seismic event Moira might know about. The seismic event was Apocalypse waking up and making a grand entrance like the diva that he is.
Everyone fights, and much like the first X-Men movies from the early 2000s, the young X-Men must take matters into their own hands and save the world. It’s a bit of deja-vu if you’ve seen all of the X-Men films by Singer to date. I won’t spoil it for you, but then again, Singer pretty much did with Days of Future Past. I mean, we know who makes it just based on what Wolverine sees at the end of that movie. If the mutant wasn’t at the end of Days of Future Past, chances are they didn’t make it… At least on the good guys’ side.
You know, for a film that wanted us to hate Apocalypse, I found myself identifying with his indignation and indictment of the world today. I mean, in his history crash course, he saw all of the wars we’ve waged, the ways humans have brutalized each other, and what we’ve done to the planet. That would piss me off too. There was also a strong Judeo-Christian theme what with Apocalypse needing “four horsemen” to do his bidding. Well, if you know your religions or the Bible, you’ll know only the Judeo-Christian God has four horsemen of the apocalypse. If you were raised in one of those hellfire and brimstone Christian denominations, you’d think Apocalypse was doing God’s work… Until he decided to be such a brat about it.
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Quicksilver also had probably some of, if not the best scenes in X-Men: Apocalypse. If you thought his scene in Days of Future Past was on point, you’re going to lose it when you see him do the damn thing in Apocalypse. I know Aaron Taylor-Johnson had to have been biting his fists when he saw how kickass (get it?) Quicksilver is when he activates.
I was disappointed in a few things, like Mystique’s final battle with Apocalypse–she deserved so much better–and Psylocke hardly made an impression, as did Angel. X-Men: Apocalypse did have the ladies bringing the heat (some more than others) in a major way. When Jean Grey comes through to do her thing, it is an awesome thing to behold. The cinematography for that scene was excellent as well. I would have liked to have seen Storm showcase her powers more, and Jubilee (Lana Condor) was woefully underutilized. Hell, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) saw more action than Jubilee in his cameo.
Overall, X-Men: Apocalypse wasn’t a bad film, it was actually way better than some would you lead you to believe. It just didn’t bring anything new and refreshing to the table. Do with that information what you will. If you don’t get around to seeing it in theaters don’t kick yourself in the ass. Wait for it on DVD.