Unlike Civil War, the lead-up to X-Men Apocalypse in theaters felt a little hushed. I’ve seen the many posters at bus-stops but still, nothing could compare to the buzz and excitement that Civil War accumulated before its big opening.
The film takes place after the events in Days of Future Past. Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) continues to run his School for Gifted Youngsters, Erik/Magneto (Michael Fassbender) has gone into hiding and Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) has made it her mission to save mutants that were being treated wrongly. Everyone’s lives turn upside down when an ancient mutant, En Sabah Nur/Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), awakes from his deep slumber. Flanked by his 3 horsemen, Elizabeth Braddock/Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Ororo Munroe/Storm (Alexandra Shipp) and Warren Worthington/Angel (Ben Hardy), they recruit a angry-grieving Magneto to embark on a mission to re-shape the world where mutants reign supreme. As Professor Xavier gets kidnapped in the process, his students Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Scott Summers (Tye Sheridan) and Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) take it upon themselves to join the rescue mission, to save the Professor and defeat Apocalypse.
There are a lot of mixed reviews regarding this film in particular – since everyone is still riding on a high from Civil War. But for a Marvel movie produced by the (superhero fail) 20th Century Fox, I’d have to say that this was not bad. It’s not Civil War good but at least it’s not Fantastic Four bad.
I feel that the one big issue X-Men Apocalypse had was the introduction of the many mutants. On one hand, it was great to see many of the familiar mutants that I know and love but on the other, if I don’t know how to distinguish them, I wouldn’t know who in the world these people were!
I was disappointed at how iconic characters like Storm and Jubilee were not given a proper introduction (with name) and all we had to go on for recognition was their clothes or hairdo. As a huge fan of Jubilee (since the retro 90’s cartoon), I was outraged at the failure of exposure for her! In fact, I felt that a lot of the lines in the movie were said by characters we’ve already known from the previous installments; with the exception of Cyclops, Jean Grey and Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler.
It was surprising to me how big of a part Nightcrawler played in this movie. He’s one of my favorite X-Men but giving him more lines than other characters like any one of Apocalypse’s horsemen didn’t seem right. Not to mention, he appeared in more scenes than Quicksilver (Evan Peters) did! Did I also mention that Quicksilver didn’t appear until two-thirds of the movie? They didn’t even give him a change of tactics with his fighting. It was the same fast-slow beat down which was funny but also unbelievable, since it was Apocalypse whom he was doing that to.
In a lot of ways, I felt that these great characters were getting bumped from speaking to make way for witty lines delivered by the other ‘primary’ characters. Even Wolverine’s (yes, Hugh Jackman) pleasantly surprising cameo, was chalked up to a waste of mutant appearance.
Although I had been a little worried about
Sansa Stark Sophie Turner playing Jean Grey, I must say she did impress me. Her accent never faltered once and she definitely made Jean Grey a lot less annoying than her predecessor. Her moment with Wolverine was one of my most disliked scenes as it was bordering on creepy-pervy-eeks. But great job for an iconic X-Men role! As for Isaac’s take on Apocalypse, I had a damn hard time trying not to snigger at the lines he delivered. Most of which were supposed to be intimidating but I found them weirdly seductive. It could be the sultry tones of Oscar Isaac that made the lines weirdly suggestive or it could simply be that his character was meant to seduce mutants to the dark side (see what I did there?). But whatever it was, my mind was already pushed into the gutter as soon as he spoke.
If I had to choose the best superhero movie so far for 2016, X-Men Apocalypse wouldn’t come out on top. But, at least it was enjoyable and wasn’t made to kill a franchise. My best advice going in to watch this is to set your expectations as low as possible. In this way, if it turned out either good or bad, you wouldn’t be disappointed greatly.