X-Men Apocalypse Review

I am a huge fan of the X-Men franchise. There are only two films that I would consider to be “bad”, which is an amazing feat for a franchise with now 8 installments. I actually was not too excited for this film, mainly because the trailers never quite got me too excited. I even read many reviews that were not too favorable towards the film, but after seeing it myself I can say I was thoroughly entertained. It certainly has several shortcomings that ultimately hurt it, but there are plenty of great aspects to the film as well.
Everything They Built Will Fall
First thing’s first: Michael Fassbender. What a phenomenal actor, portraying such a compelling character. Magneto has, without a doubt, the best arc throughout the film. Magneto is already a fantastic character, but this film adds so many more layers to him. I will not spoil anything, but know that the scenes involving Magneto certainly deliver on multiple levels. Other than Magneto, no one else gets compelling material. Do not get me wrong, the rest of the cast does a fairly good job but their roles are certainly limited. Everyone had at least one moment to shine, but since there are many characters to juggle around, very few of them received proper screen time to be as memorable as Magneto was. However, of the rest of the cast I was most impressed with: Quicksilver, Cyclops, Jean Grey and Nightcrawler. In Days of Future Past we were introduced to Quicksilver and received his standout sequence in the prison. This film seeks to top that sequence, which in some ways it does and in other ways it does not. I’ll get into that later in the review, but overall I did enjoy the sequence. The new actors that portray Cyclops, Jean and Nightcrawler do a great job, but what stood out to me is that each of them were able to give their characters some complexion with very limited screen time. They are each broken in their own way and the young actors had no trouble portraying this. I look forward to seeing more of them in future installments. Before focusing on some of the more negative aspects of the film, I have some positives about Apocalypse. First of all, I think Oscar Issac does a good job portraying him with the material that he was given. This is a very one-dimensional villain, but through Issac’s acting, he is given a bit more complexion. There are scenes where he is truly menacing, and even has some quotable lines. However, in the end his motivations are extremely muddled and similar to villains of previous super hero flicks such as Ultron in Age of Ultron.
Let’s Go To War
Staying with Apocalypse, not only did I find his motivations to be muddled, but the film does not really explain how he became the way he is. There is a flashback to Ancient Egypt, but if anything it raises more questions than answers. Apocalypse’s physical appearance also left me underwhelmed. Oscar Issac is not a very intimidating actor and that really shows when Apocalypse is as short as most of the actors. As far as his 4 Horseman, the only one that stands out is Magneto. Storm, Psylocke and Angel are all there for fan service, but not much more. Unfortunately, James McAvoy was not given much to do as Professor X. He spends most of his time in the film being a damsel, but whenever he is on screen he does a great job. I hope he is given more to do in the upcoming film. Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique never quite worked for me and it still does not in this film. She was not bad by any means, but often times she did feel a bit disinterested. Finally, the biggest problems with the film are the writing and editing. The film simply has way too much going, which detracts from developing the characters and the plot. There are various subplots that could have been left out, but by leaving them in the plot becomes more convoluted. There are also various scenes that do not transition well either out of a continuity error, or a tonal inconsistency. For example, there is a fairly dark scene and then it quickly transitions to a more comedic and lighter scene. I do not know why the film did this (several times even) as it made much of what was going on screen feel insignificant. Finally, and this is a random annoyance, the film uses overhead shots whenever it wanted to establish a new setting. Well, maybe not every single time, but if you pay attention you will notice it.
Closing Remarks
Even though it may seem like I am bashing the film, I am not. I did have fun with it, but there are many flaws that truly annoyed me. It annoys me because there are so many great scenes that simply do not add up to a great film. The best way to put it is that this film left me underwhelmed. The potential was all there but it felt wasted, leaving it to be my least favorite superhero flick of the year. I hope in the next installment there is more of a focus on the characters and less of a focus on making a blockbuster spectacle.


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