In Egypt, the ancient mutant En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaacs) awakens and enacts his plan to create a world where only the strongest survive. The X-Men must once again ban together to save the world.
Of all Fox’s Marvel superhero properties past and present, the X-Men franchise has been their most consistent and their longest running as a result. Now nine movies in if you include Deadpool and the two Wolverine films, the X-Men franchise shows no sign of letting up. Some would argue that X-Men: Days of Future Past was the best in the series yet. Can X-Men: Apocalypse keep the train running? Yes. Yes it can.
First, I like to mention that in terms of the franchise’s timeline, this was the perfect time to do the Apocalypse story. In the comics, the Age of Apocalypse event occurred after a character named Legion goes back in time and changes the past. This caused Apocalypse to show himself earlier than he originally did. What happened in Days of Future Past? Time travel and history changing. Whether or not this was intentional or Fox simply felt it was time to introduce one of the X-Men’s biggest villains, it worked out well for comic book nerds such as myself.
One of the highlights of Days of Future Past was Quicksilver’s super-speed scene. Naturally, he got a similar scene in this film, and it is just as great. This film has him running through the school, saving the students from an explosion while listening to Eurythmic’s “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).” Quicksilver also has a much bigger role this time around, which is fantastic since he was very underutilized in the last film.
Like all of the X-Men films not named after Wolverine or Deadpool, Apocalypse introduces several new characters, or at least new versions of them. The First Class trilogy is inching closer to where the original X-Men film kicked off, so we are meeting younger versions of many of those characters. Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Storm all get younger selves, as well as a younger Nightcrawler. I especially liked seeing Nightcrawler again since he is my favorite X-Man. In a film with many subplots, it seemed like theirs received a significant portion. Hopefully the next one will be more tightly focused and look at this new team and their dynamic as they grow together.
These new actors do pretty well, especially the new X-Men. Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, and Kodi Smit-McPhee bring these characters to life. Turner gets one of the best line of the films, saying third installments are always the worst. The new mutants who serve as three of Apocalypse’s four horseman don’t fare so well. Ben Hardy, Alexandra Shipp, and Olivia Munn’s characters pretty much just get names and that is about as far as their development goes go. With so many introductions, some development was bound to be pushed to the side and in this case it fell on the new villains. It’s too bad that most of the young actors weren’t given much room to show what they could do.
Something that bothered my probably more than it should have was the physical appearance of the characters who have been around since First Class. Apocalypse takes place roughly twenty years after First Class and characters like Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), and Magneto (Michael Fassbender), looks exactly the same. In First Class, they are roughly in their early twenties, that would make Beast and Mystique forty-ish, and Xavier and Magneto even older, in Apocalypse and yet they look exactly the same. I know it shouldn’t be that big of a deal but it did take me out of the film a little bit.
X-Men: Apocalypse contains many different plots throughout the film. This is mostly due to the large roster. As a result, the first half feels like it drags on because of all the character introductions. Once all the players are on the board, it moves along more evenly.
Oscar Isaac is a pretty well rounded actor but he felt stuck in the confines of the role of Apocalypse. Like most of the actors of the other new mutants introduced, he wasn’t given the room he needed. It reminded me of Eddie Redmayne in Jupiter Ascending. Both are great actors who just had the unfortunate luck of being trapped in a one-dimensional character. Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t seem as emotionally invested in Mystique like she was in First Class or even Days of Future Past. I’m not sure if she is getting tired of the role or if she was having an off movie or what but she felt off this time.
I thought X-Men: Apocalypse was GOOD :-). The more I was writing this review, the more I realize I had less positives to say than I originally realized. However, you can call me a sucker for explosions and summer blockbusters because I still had a good time watching this film. This isn’t on the same level as First Class or X2, but it still offers a fun ride for you to sit back, relax and munch on some popcorn.
Also check out my reviews for X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Cast & Crew
Bryan Singer – Director / Story
Simon Kinberg – Screenplay / Story
Michael Dougherty – Story
Dan Harris – Story
John Ottman – Composer
James McAvoy – Professor Charles Xavier
Michael Fassbender – Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto
Jennifer Lawrence – Raven / Mystique
Micholas Hoult – Hank McCoy / Beast
Sophie Turner – Jean Grey
Tye Sheridan – Scott Summers / Cyclopes
Kodi Smit-McPhee – Kurt Wagner / Nightcrawler
Evan Peters – Peter Maximoff / Quicksilver
Lucas Till – Alex Summers / Havok
Oscar Isaac – En Sabah Nur / Apocalypse
Ben Hardy – Angel
Alexandra Shipp – Ororo Munroe / Storm
Olivia Munn – Psylocke
Rose Byrne – Moira Mactaggert
Lana Condor – Jubilee
Josh Helman – Col. William Styker
I really didn’t like this movie. To me it was such a letdown from Days of Future Past. It was so fragmented and none of the characters got enough screen time. And then Magneto is let off the hook after he killed millions of people and really how many last minute heart changes can we have with that character? I left extremely frustrated by the movie.
To me it reminded me of a Transformers movie. A lot of big noise with big baddies fighting the innocent and blowing up stuff. I don’t like Transformers and I don’t like this.
I agree. In DoFP, even though they had a lot of characters, it used Wolverine to keep the focus somewhere. In Apocalypse, there is no central character so there isn’t any focus. I was thinking that about Magneto as well. He seems to start each movie in the same spot, seemingly ignoring where he ended in the previous film. I liked the first three Transformers, especially the first one, but the fourth was just bad.
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That’s right! It’s just the same story over and over again so there is no tension because I was sure he’d have the change of heart. Interesting about Transformers. 2 is my least favorite because I found the humor to be so off putting but my favorite is by far the 80s cartoon. You seen that?
I have. It… hasn’t aged very well. Still a bunch of corny fun, though. The fourth is my least favorite, then two, then three, and then one is my favorite. Did you see the title for five was just announced?
Oh really? I reviewed it not to long ago and found it held up well. It’s a scifi movie with a lot of gravitas. Anyway I did see the new title. I hope they used that writers meeting to make some changes but pessimistic. I’ve only liked the first of Bays films
Oh, I was thinking you meant the series itself. I haven’t seen the cartoon movie in a long time.
Oh yeah the series is probably more dated. I reviewed it on my channel. I’d love your thoughts. There are some spoilers though
I’ll check it out. Thanks for sharing!
I was bored more often than I should’ve by Apocalypse. I’m glad you mentioned the fact that so much time has passed between films and the actors haven’t aged enough because I was worried that I was the only one that cared. For me, MacAvoy and Fassbender continued to do great work but the movie was so all over the place. A very disappointing follow-up to the spectacular DOFP.
Having Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse was a great choice but he wasn’t given any opportunity to do anything with the part. So really, anyone could have been Apocalypse and it wouldn’t have any impact on the character. Well I’m glad I’m not the only one bother by their lack of aging, too. Like I said in the review, I thought I had more positives to say when I left the theater than I actually did when writing. It was a disappointing follow up but I still had myself a good time. But it definitely is in the bottom half of the X-Men films for sure.
I really enjoyed this, even if I didn’t absolutely love it. Then again, I am a self-confessed sucker for any X-Men movies! Great write up!
I feel the same way, Zoe! It wasn’t perfect but I still had a good time watching it. And I’m a sucker for large action pieces so I guess be both have our faults. 😛 Thanks!
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I’m so glad someone else feels the same way I did..especially about the characters.. there were times I got a little lost in dealing who was in present day & who wasn’t.. and that’s coming from an X-Men fan who shouldn’t really be experiencing that! 😀 it’s still definitely an entertaining enough watch tho! Cheers..
I know what you mean! Their appearances didn’t match their ages and it was just weird. The film had its problems but it was still fun to watch which is all I really ask for out of a movie. 🙂
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Great review! I enjoyed this movie; it wasn’t as good as I was hoping it would be, but it was better than some of the critical reviews had led me to believe. There were some nice character moments, and I was glad to see Quicksilver had an expanded role this time. His rescue sequence at Xavier’s school was definitely my favorite scene.
Thanks! I agree. Quicksilver was one of the best parts of DoFP so it was cool to see him do more here. I only wish they would have used him more in the final fight.
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