Movie Review: X-Men – Apocalypse

X-men: The Apocalypse is backed by good performances, but it’s sporadically entertaining and wholly pointless because of its inconsistent story, inconsequential chaos and one dimensional villain.

Since the dawn of civilization, he was worshiped as a god. Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant from Marvel’s X-Men universe, amassed the powers of many other mutants, becoming immortal and invincible. Upon awakening after thousands of years, he is disillusioned with the world as he finds it and recruits a team of powerful mutants, including a disheartened Magneto (Michael Fassbender), to cleanse mankind and create a new world order, over which he will reign.

In the latest trend of pitting superheroes against each other, X-men delivers its own brand of ensemble action set in the 80’s.

The story teases of a proper doom and gloom with a new villain. His new powers look interesting in the beginning. If you’ve watched the 90’s cartoons or read the comic books, his inclusion in the franchise is a good idea.

There are interesting visuals here, thanks to the production design, detailed – some comic book inspired – costumes, and nostalgic music cues. In one scene, Quicksilver saves students in a slow motion explosion of Xavier School to the tune of Sweet Dreams (are Made of This) by Eurythmics, a new spin on “Time in a Bottle” in days of Future Past.

Whatever new idea that this new installment has stops there. As the movie progresses, it becomes more apparent that it just recycles winning elements from previous installments as it hops from one subplot to another.

X-men: Apocalypse enlists supervillain En Sabah Nur but he’s just a one-dimensional plot device to re-kindle the love-hate relationship of Erik and Charles. For all his bold proclamation of cleansing the world, the biggest damage that he could do is create a pyramid out of buildings.

Instead, he tells Magneto to fuck up the world’s electromagnetic field and do his work. Of course, this prompts Raven to step in and stop him. Elsewhere the other three supposed horsemen of the apocalypse is helping the supervillain who abandoned his initial goals for something else. The action provides some mindless entertainment, but nothing you haven’t seen before.

In the middle of all these inconsequential chaos are a new crop of actors. They are all reliable but it is evident that the movie struggles to put its many characters to good use.

In the end, the movie delivers more of the same and a botched attempt at an origins story.

There are potent elements here. Validating the fear of humanity against mutants while still addressing that they’re hatred isn’t unwarranted, is a good idea to explore. A showdown between a supervillain and a bunch of mutants can deliver inventive action. The stellar cast is more than capable of elevating their characters.

Unfortunately, these are all wasted as X-men tries to ride the doom and gloom bandwagon and doesn’t take it anywhere interesting, opting instead to rehash past glories.

There are four potent stories that Singer can cherry pick from – the rise of Mystique as a leader; the futile attempt of Erik at a peaceful existence; the beginnings of Charles as a mentor and founder of X-men. Instead he chooses the generic invasion by the latest member of Marvel’s Evil Blue Man Group (Thanos, Ronan, Electro, and the Frost Giants).

X-men: Apocalypse offers CGI action that wouldn’t have existed a decade ago but Jean was right, the third (since the soft reboot beginning with X-men: First Class) is always the worst.

My Rating: 4/10

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Diego says:

    Aha looks like you hated it more than me. Apocalypse just didn’t really do much and for someone trying to destroy the world, why wasn’t there more action?

    1. Arline says:

      Exactly! I have to admit though, I have expectations for Apocalypse because I was a fan of the 90’s cartoons. Then he’s just used for the Erik/Charles bromance complete with a flashback. Hmpf.

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