X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) Review

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Following the events of Days of Future Past, Charles Xavier believes there’s been a change in the relationship between human and mutants. However, others still remain skeptic. When Charles’ school up and running and new students with great potential come to play, a new danger arises. An ancient being known to be the first mutant returns after being buried and will do whatever it takes to take back the power of the mutants and control everything and everyone. It’s now up the X-Men old and new to stop him.

X-Men: Days of Future Past was an excellent film and hands-down my favorite of the series. That being said, I felt it was going to be a tough act to follow. Nonetheless, I tried to be optimistic for this film as a big fan of the series, even The Last Stand. It seemed like a nice treat to see Cyclops, Jean Grey (Phoenix), and Storm come into the picture and see them grow to their potentials. Sadly, there wasn’t enough focus on them as I would have liked. Like I suspected, Apocalypse wasn’t able to live up to the previous film’s standards, but I didn’t expect it to fall flat the way it did. The overall plot line involving Apocalypse is extremely “been there, done that” as far as his motives and the character himself. On top of that, he was just a weak villain in general compared to villains in the previous entries. The trailers gave off the sense that this was going to be an extremely action-packed film. Instead it was more like Age of Ultron and the recent Fantastic Four. It was completely slow, cheap gags and one-liners, and just in general no substance to the story and in some cases, the characters. All of our original characters including Raven/Mystique, Erik/Magneto, and Charles/Professor X all seem to find themselves in the same situations they have before and extremely one-dimensional. Seriously, can we just finally learn that nothing good comes from Magneto leaving the group? He always ends up evil. Professor X tries to be the ever optimist but submits to larger power, and Mystique just bums around trying to be independent and acts like she doesn’t need her fellow X-Men. If it wasn’t for our new characters, and the return of Quicksilver, the film would be twice as bad. But on the downside, there isn’t as much focus on the new characters as there should have been and having them really develop. Instead we get stuck with our original characters and they’re basic problems. In terms of action, there is really nothing special here that we haven’t seen before, the mayhem Apocalypse emits is kinda pitiful and nowhere near as bad as they could have taken it. Even when the battle between the X-Men and Apocalypse comes forth (during the last 45 minutes), it does finally become interesting, but also pretty anti-climactic.

It’s sad to say, but the performances by James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence as our main leads are hardcore lacking. Not necessarily bad, but you can really tell that they are growing tired (whether it’s the roles or just the films in general, I don’t know), all three are extremely talented so it’s easy to tell that something feels off in their performances when they’re on-screen. Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse also doesn’t really give it his all, if he was supposed to come off as villainous, it doesn’t work. His role as the villain in Sucker Punch was more intimidating. The real impressions left here are the performances by Sophie Turner (Sansa from Game of Thrones) as Jean, and Tye Sheridan as Scott/Cyclops. They bring quite a lot to their roles that really reflect those of their adult counterparts in the original films. But the difference here is seeing their adjustment to their abilities and the wars they find themselves facing, and these really nail showing these emotions. Unfortunately, as stated above, the two don’t get the much time to shine as they should and develop them even more. Even the pair’s relationship seemed really rushed (again, thanks to the horrible writing). Evan Peters is also worth mentioning in that he returns another fun performance after his appearance is Days of Future Past, he’s even given more development than the aforementioned two. Alexandra Shipp is another new member as Storm who gets even less time to shine. Most of the time she’s just there in background with very little dialogue and only a couple of instances where she uses her powers.

X-Men: Apocalypse is easily the most disappointing entry in the series. I don’t want to call it bad, but so much opportunity was missed here. And a lot of it is thanks to the tired material, lack of characters arcs and development, and some pretty weak dialogue. The newcomers save it with all of the powers they can, but unfortunately the rest of the cast and characters’ powers are too weak. Just like the script.

2.5/5

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