“X-Men: Apocalypse” Review (Spoilers): Act Three, With a Hint of Fresh Air

I must admit that I was not as excited to see “X-Men: Apocalypse” as much as “Captain America: Civil War”, but I found myself, during the film, realizing that I was more of an X-Men fan than I thought I was.

Looking back at my childhood, I suddenly remembered how much my siblings and I looked forward to watching “X-Men: Evolution” on Cartoon Network every time it came on, and how I vaguely remember “X-Men: The Animated Series”. (Strangely enough, most of what I do remember from “X-Men: The Animated Series” are Rogue and Jubilee).

X-men OG

Panel from “Trapped: One X-Man”, X-Men No. 5, reprint of X-Men No. 5, 1964

Interestingly enough, this also means that my very first comic book influences were Batman (I saw some of the old Batman films), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and X-Men.

Going back to the film at hand, I have to admit that my sister and I were a little bit noisy in the movie house, as the film gave us enough Easter eggs and fan- service to make us giddy with delight. However, just as a disclaimer, I do not know much about Apocalypse and I haven’t read “Age of Apocalypse”, which means that I am not and cannot judge this film based on that particular comic book story arc.

When it came to the plot and the character development in the film, there were some points that I was happy about, and there were some points that I got a little bit disappointed in.

The film’s opening and title sequence, however were great, and that title sequence just took my breath away.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, in every X-Men film, have proven to be the core of these films, and continue to do so; and I loved the introduction of the younger yet classic X-Men characters such as Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Jubilee (Lana Condor), Scott Summers or Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Storm or Ororo Munroe (Alexandra Shipp) and Nightcrawler or Wagner (Kodi Smit-McPhee).

Generally speaking, I had fun watching this film, but at the same time, I felt that there was still more to be desired from the story and the characters.

If I would have to rank the three latest X-Men films, I’d rank this one in third place, with “Days of Future Past” coming in at first, and “First Class” in second.

Now, with my general impressions out of the way, let us now dive into spoiler territory, so please be warned!

WARNING: SPOILERS FOR “X-MEN: APOCALYPSE” UP AHEAD!

I think that I will never stop talking about how that opening sequence and that title sequence was breathtaking. I loved how they introduced Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), and how the title sequence was a time travelling roller coaster leading up to the ‘80s, the time period that the film was set in.

From there, I liked the first part of the film, in which they showed the new characters, all the way to the recruitment of Apocalypse’s four Horsemen. However, I did not like the explanation of how and why Moira McTaggert (Rose Byrne) woke Apocalypse up from his slumber, and in general, I felt that Byrne was not really utilized that well in the film. It was not really explained why she was looking for Apocalypse, and for the last parts of the film, she really was not given much to do. (Also, I think any girl worth her salt would have gotten mad if their telepathic lover erased everything about themselves from her mind.) However, I do love how Professor X was stumbling all over himself when he met her at her office at Langley, like a little schoolboy excited to see his crush. It added some much needed levity to a film full of doom and gloom.

I also really liked Lucas Till’s Havoc in the film, and I am honestly holding out hope that he might still be alive, as we never saw his body after the blast.

With regards to the younger characters, the casting director should get major props as the casting for Nightcrawler, Jubilee, Storm, Cyclops and Jean Grey were spot on, and I feel that the X-Men films are finally going to do these characters justice.

Speaking of Jean Grey, I also liked how they are beginning to plant the seeds for a possible “Dark Phoenix” saga, that will most probably (I hope), be better than what was done in “X-Men: The Last Stand”.

My only gripe about the younger characters is that I really wanted to see that deleted mall scene, and I really wanted to see more Jubilee.

Erik’s story in this film was heartbreaking, and I really hoped that Quicksilver (Evan Peters), who is such a fan favorite now, just told Erik that he was his son, which would have given him more motivation to finally return on the X-Men’s side. Aside from this, by the end of the film, his parentage has now become the worst kept secret among the characters.

Magneto Quicksilver Scarlet Witch

Panel from “Trapped: One X-Man”, X-Men No. 5, reprint of X-Men No. 5, 1964

His shift from being hopeful about having a normal life to getting his heart wrenched out, to being fully resigned to being a villain, was masterfully done. Fassbender, aside from McAvoy, are the powerhouses in the film, when it comes to acting.

I liked Storm’s origin story here, although I wished that she had more to do. However, she did get more screen time compared to Ben Hardy’s Angel/Archangel and Olivia Munn’s Psylocke, who were both very much underutilized.

The entire third act, actually, for me, was a little bit uneven, and the denouement and resolution were very anti-climactic. I think this had to do with the fact that Erik was just lamely floating around and looked like he was just juggling a lot of metal and dirt, and his turn back to the X-Men’s side wasn’t as dramatic or as spectacular as I hoped it would be.

In a fight between two powerful mutants, you would have expected there to be more tension, and bigger fight sequences, yet the fight sequences in the final battle against Apocalypse wasn’t as big. However, I did like how Apocalypse and Professor X were mentally fighting with each other, and I got chills when Jean Grey let her inhibitions go and unleashed a foretaste of the magnitude of her capabilities as the Phoenix.

However, it ended up seeming like the entire film was just a set-up to the “Dark Phoenix” saga.

Isaac as Apocalypse, though, is intimidating and menacing, and I loved how it seemed as if he was just rolling his eyes casually whenever anyone would try to defy him.

The Wolverine cameo was one of the best parts of the film, as we got Logan (Hugh Jackman) in Weapon X form- wild, unbridled and animal-like. I also like how his interaction with Jean Grey and Scott helped set-up things to come, for the “Wolverine” franchise, and for the “X-Men” films as a whole.

Another big gripe that I had with this film was Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique. Don’t get me wrong, I think that she is a very talented actress, but I never quite understood why Mystique was being placed in the forefront as she has always been a secondary character, and a villain.

Plus, it was no secret that Lawrence has been wanting out of the franchise for quite some time, and for me, it showed in her performance. It was uninspiring, and I know that she can do better that what she did in the film.

I got really excited about the post-credits scene, as it teased the coming of X-23, and Mister Sinister.

In the end though, the film gave X-Men fans and casual fans their money’s worth.

 

 

 

 

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