Review: X-Men: Apocalypse

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Fox’s cinematic universe with the X-Men is funny compared with what MCU and DC are doing, Fox is not pumping out as many superhero films as the other two companies and the films’ tone seems to be in-between the darkness of DC and the light-heartedness of Marvel.  Michael Fassbender’s Magneto has the background of his parents being taken away from him at the time of the Halocaust, and yet still have jokes throughout. This equilibria has worked so far, with both X-Men: “Days of Future Past” and “X-Men: First Class” being two of the best superhero films to date. Two year ago (When X-Men: Days of Future Past was released) not as many people were as tired of the superhero genre as they are today.

X-Men: Apocalypse is about the X-Men teaming up in 1983 to fight Apocalypse, whose plan is to kill all humans and let only the strongest mutants survive to build a new age with him, so the X-Men fight against him for obvious reasons. The film is directed by Bryan Singer, returning after having done 3 other X-Men films (considered the best 3 by some) and features the notable returns of Professor X (James McAvoy), Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) as well as Magneto and Quicksilver as

aforesaid. However the film introduces new cast members as well, both heroes and villains, the most notable ones being Oscar Isaac as the big bad Apocalypse, Sophie Turner as a younger Jean Grey and Tye Sheriadan as a younger Cyclops.

Most of the performances were very good, with Fassbender giving the standout performance as Magneto. He plays the character in such a way that you almost sympathise with him and understand what he is doing, not just in this film but every other X-Men film he is in a well, however the script limits him as one of Apocalypse’s dreaded four horsemen, and as such he plays second fiddle to Isaac’s Apocalypse. Sadly Apocalypse is inconsistent, his only motivation is to destroy, and Isaac’s acting ranges from menacing to pantomime, even looking as over-the-top as a pantomime villain. Sophie Turner was also notably disappointing and never truly believable. I do not watch Game of Thrones but I have a friend who tells me she is really good in the show as a regular cast member, and I am disappointed to say that I saw no real hint of that here.

However I am willing to give Sophie Turner the benefit of the doubt, not to save my friendship however, but instead due to the fact that other cast member seem to lack believability with their lines, suggesting the script is at fault here instead of the actors. The dialogue seems frequently wonky in the film, and the script itself is rather messy, with the first half being mainly character developments and the second half being non-stop action. There were a few story lines that were not as developed as perhaps they should have been, which is a shame as these plotlines could have promoted the film from super-melodrama to a film as good as its two predecessors.

However if you wanted a film all about characters, sorry you are reading the wrong review, this film is not for you, those who have not clicked away are all dribbling with excitement to hear how good the action is, and it is really good. It contains what is easily the best action scene in any superhero film this year, maybe even the best in many years. It involves Quicksilver, once again, running around and saving others, as is easily as good as the Pentagon scene in X-Men Days of Future Past, if not better. The other major action scenes are also very well done, with them all being tightly directed in such a way that means you still feel the overwhelming stakes that the film is presenting. The film also has a very nice surprise of an action scene (If you did not watch the third trailer for this film) with the action being so good overall that it causes me to, in some places, forgive the writing.

X-Men: Apocalypse is weird when comparing it to other superhero films of this year, especially Captain America: Civil War. While it may not be as consistent as Civil War, its highs are higher than any part of civil war, however the writing and some performances hold it back as super-melodrama, instead of putting it on the level of its predecessors. Superhero films need to rapidly increase in quality so that the genre does not become as stale within the next few years as I think it may become, and therefore I sadly think that besides one or two scene, X-Men: Apocalypse will be fairly forgettable for most who go and see it.