The following is my review of X-Men: Apocalypse. I will be doing my best throughout to offer a fair perspective for why I thought this movie was awesome; if you don’t want to have part, or all, of it ruined stop now.
Warning: Spoilers ahead
Xmen: Apocalypse is director Bryan Singer’s fourth outing in to the X-Men Universe, and with each successive movie that he helms, everything gets a little brighter. Singer directed the original X-Men and X-Men 2: X-men United. After the continuity was scrapped with X-Men First Class, he helmed the best movie in the X-Men universe: Days of Future Past. Building upon the success of First Class, Singer took this opportunity to masterfully establish an entirely new continuity; while correcting the most frustrating errors left in the wake of X-Men: The Last Stand.
X-Men Apocalypse throws us headlong in to a pre-established universe, but does it in a way that makes everything feel fresh. If you’ve been to a movie over the last sixteen years, then you know the names, “Jean Gray” and “Scott Summers.” If you’ve ever read a comic book then you know who Apocalypse is, and you can probably guess the general plot. Either way, there’s enough freshness within the story to keep you intrigued throughout.
Long time fans of the franchise will appreciate subtle references like, “The Blob,” familiar characters like Havok, Beast, and Mystique, and an amazing Wolverine cameo. People fresh to the universe will appreciate the non-presumptive nature of the film; the first 1:45 of the movie essentially explains who and what everything is.
Each central character got a section of film that briefly explained their backstory, and quickly established relationships between them that helped us feel connected to them. And this was done in a remarkably respectful fashion to the original cast. I’ll be the first to admit, a cast lacking the familiar faces of Sir Ian Mckellen, Sir Patrick Stewart, James Marsden, and Famke Jannsen left me skeptical. But stand out characters like Jean Grey, “Sophie Turner,” perfectly established themselves as separate entities from the original cast, while still respecting what came before. Michael Fassbender once again delivers a strong performance as Magneto, and Evan Peters’ Quicksilver is hands down the best part of the movie.
Despite being successfully character driven however, there was a fair amount of waste throughout. This appears most glaringly in the nearly complete absence of Jubilee from anything substantial, minimal use of characters like Storm, Psylocke, and Angel, and most upsetting of all, Apocalypse himself. They all have their parts to play in the climactic battle, but for the majority of the film they stand around ominously while the the all powerful god repeats Vader’s “you don’t know the power of the dark side,” and phases people in to the floor.
Admittedly the climactic battle was amazing. The psychic battle between Professor X and Apocalypse is perfect, and the Phoenix tease was both thrilling, terrifying, and a little surprising. But we only get there because Agent Taggert neglected to cover the one hole in the ground in all of Egypt that just so happened to contain the entombed body of the big bad. So there were some issues: all of our nukes were just launched in to space and it magically didn’t disrupt any of our communication systems.
This was an excellent foray in to this wholly new universe. Apocalypse’s potential wasn’t fully realized, Magneto did more damage than he did, but there are now many avenues down which these movies could go, and that’s an exciting thing.