Director: Bryan Singer
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Oscar Isaac, Rose Byrne, Evan Peters, Sophie Turner
This review is spoiler free, and contains details on no more than is seen in the trailers.
The world’s first mutant, Apocalypse (Isaac), recruits his Four Hourseman and wreaks havoc across the world with plans for ultimate extinction. The X-Men have disbanded, but must unite again to face this new threat.
This is our third big superhero movie in as many months, with Batman vs Superman in March, Civil War in April, and now we’re in May, and the Apocalypse is here! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling slightly fatigued, although I probably haven’t helped myself by watching all of the above for a combined ten times in the last three months! That being said, I was still excited to see the latest in the X-Men franchise, as the last two in particular have been very strong.
I’ll start off by saying that I don’t think this film is as good as First Class or Days of Future Past, but neither does it deserve the initial critical panning it seems to have received. It has some flaws which will get to, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and visually it might be one of the most impressive X-Men movies yet.
This is in large part due to the introduction of Apocalypse, one of the most famous and well loved X-Men villains. I had been concerned beforehand about how Apocalypse looked, but in action, I thought he looked much better than anticipated. It is still a little “rubber suit-y” for my liking, and I feel like some of Oscar Isaac’s acting was lost in the aesthetics, but it is a very difficult character to get right; I think even if they had gone for mo-cap or CGI, that probably would’ve pleased people even less.
This film also introduces us to the younger versions of some of the X-Men favourites including, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, and Jean Grey. Kodi Smit-McPhee who plays Nightcrawler was particularly excellent, and got a lot of the films big laughs. I wasn’t sold on Sansa Sta…sorry, Sophie Turner as Jean Grey initially, but without spoiling anything, I was by the end! There’s a lot of characters here, but it has that advantage of us already being familiar with them having seen most of them in previous films. The new cast do a good enough job, but I’ll be eager to see more of them in the next instalment.
Evan Peters continues to be excellent as Quicksilver, and if you thought his scene in Days of Future Past was great, you haven’t seen anything yet! Easily one of the funniest bits in the film, which I won’t spoil, but you’ll know it when you see it!
The trailer teased the appearance of a certain Mr Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, and I will say that a “tease” is about the right word to describe how much he is in this film. Perhaps controversially though, I think an X-Men film can work without him, and his appearance was fun, but at the same time I wouldn’t have missed him if he wasn’t in it at all. Credit goes to the new cast for this, particularly James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, and Michael Fassbender as Professor X, Mystique and Magneto respectively, who are now more than capable of carrying a film without Wolverine playing a major role.
As seems to be the case with most superhero blockbusters, X-Men: Apocalypse suffers with a heavy runtime, at just over 2 hours and 24 minutes. Whilst it doesn’t drag as much as BvS, it lacks the constant drive which made Civil War seem like an absolute breeze. The build up is very slow, and the first hour does feel like a slog. The payoff is totally worth it, and there’s enough spectacular effects to keep it from being boring, but initially it didn’t grab me.
Plot wise it was quite thin, and with a weighty run time, this was more noticeable. The Four Horseman however, were developed really well and each had their own motivations for revenge which were explained well enough to make sense. However when you have to see a similar set of events four times over, it again makes it drag. Coupled with the establishment of some of the new X-Men, the first hour does feel like a really long ice-breaker session, in which each new person tells us a little bit about themselves and why they’re here.
I saw this movie and you should too. I loved First Class, I really liked Days of Future Past, and I just liked Apocalypse. It wasn’t mind-blowing, or as good as it could’ve been, but at the same time, it wasn’t awful, and it is a great continuation of the work Bryan Singer did in the previous film. There’s some parts of it which are incredibly watchable, but others which felt like a chore. Unlike Civil War, I’m not chomping at the bit to see it again immediately, but it does still warrant a repeat watch, and I’ll be keen to see it again in a few weeks time. Definitely worth a watch, and I’m excited to see where the films can go from here!
Agree with everything I’ve said, or am I a terribly misguided idiot who has got it all wrong? Please let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to share as well.
If you liked this review you might also like…
BvS vs Civil War: When Heroes Collide
Captain America: Civil War Review
Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice Review
While I’m looking forward to seeing this, I loved DoFP, I’m never as excited for an Xmen film as I am for an MCU film. I can’t put my finger on why though. It feels like the universe is a bit of a mess, maybe? Does that come across in the film?
How’s Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique? I find her characterisation really annoying in these new Xmen films – they seem reluctant to make her the baddie she is in the comics, perhaps because of the actress playing her?
I’m exactly the same. I love xmen but MCU is where my heart lies! The timeline is pretty confusing but the latest films have been strong. And yep no change for mystique in this film really, although I like J-Law a lot.
I’m not a massive fan of First Class, I didn’t like any of the young Xmen really even though I loved McAvoy and Fassbender. Really liked DoFP.
One thing that does concern me is that none of the cast from First Class have aged in 20 years from the ’60s to Apocalypse in the ’80s? It’s a weird oversight. Lets just add a decade and hope nobody asks any questions. The next one is set in the ’90s, so how will that work? McAvoy, Fassbender and Lawrence will have aged 6 or 7 years over a film series that spans 30 years, if they appear. Just seems that the guys at Fox don’t think things through as much as Kevin Feige and that shows in their films.
I have nothing personally against Lawrence, she’s a great actress. I just feel they’re sacrificing the character so they can have L-Law in the film, if that makes sense? How much of the time is she, for want of a better phrase, in her mutant form? It was probably just for marketing reasons but after the trailer I was worried that there was too much of Mystique looking like Lawrence rather than Mystique. Is that the case?
LikeLiked by 1 person
Yeeeeah, they’ve kind of neglected to explain the age thing, McAvoy has been aged slightly, but they might need to improve on that for the next film!
She’s not in mutant form a lot, and I’d say there’s probably more of her in her human form. Shame 😦
LikeLiked by 1 person