Movie #138 2021: X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

What’s that? I got through all of the X-Men ensemble movies? Eureka! Alas, Apocalypse seems to be the most hated of all of the franchise according to most people. But could it really be that bad? Ehhhh… Let’s see.

X-Men: Apocalypse bases its story on the rise of the world’s first mutant: a villainous baddie who wants to take over the world named – you guessed it – Apocalypse. Played by Oscar Isaac, Apocalypse was forged in Ancient Egypt by mystical power, and he has come back to slay. Literally. He manages to get some mutants on board with his plan, and they join forces with him to fulfil his hellish scheme. Meanwhile, the X-Men (including Magneto) team up to try and stop Apocalypse and take him down before he destroys the world as we know it.

The Empty Astonishments of “X-Men: Apocalypse” | The New Yorker

So the plot is pretty standard. Bad guy wants to destroy Earth, X-Men fight him. You know the drill. However, I am glad to report that there are some good things about this movie, contrary to popular belief.

Right off the bat, the production values in X-Men: Apocalypse appear immediately greater than most of the franchise’s earlier films. Intricate sets and outstanding make up paired with lighting, sound, action… it gets off to a good start! Is it continuously a feast for the eyes? No. But you can tell a lot of work was put into the visuals here, and for the most part, it pays off.

X-Men: Apocalypse': EW review | EW.com

The downfall of this film doesn’t come with Sophie Turner as Jean Grey (who actually gives a rather good performance if you ask me), nor does it come with the fact that it’s not entertaining (because it mostly is!), but rather its failure lies with the average nature of the narrative. It seems as though Apocalypse – who is pointlessly and wastefully played by Oscar Isaac – was an attempt at a Thanos level supervillain, and it never really reaches the same heights as Josh Brolin‘s misunderstood but overwhelmingly evil bad guy. And setting an apocalypse in the past? Well we know they’ll avoid that because… well, we’re still here. Thankfully, the journey to saving the world is at least mildly interesting. 

Perhaps comic book purists are the ones who are most disappointed with this movie, but luckily(?) I’m not one of them. The stand out sequence undoubtedly belongs to the Quicksilver slow motion scene – pure blockbuster fun amidst a pretty dark, depressing storyline. Of course, that’s no surprise, as Evan Peters has regularly been the highlight of the X-Men films thus far.

Other than that, it’s just way too fucking long-winded. We all know that the X-Men are sad because life is hard for mutants; did we really need yet another movie to tell us that? Why do the X-Men never have any fun? Would it kill the writers to throw a few jokes in there? I have so many questions. At least The Avengers have a laugh when they’re painfully dying, am I right?

On the whole, I probably didn’t hate this as much as most, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Days of Future Past. The plot is messy and overlong, but the CGI and visuals are generally impressive and it’s still an entertaining watch despite its flaws.

Average, yet not a complete waste of time.

X-Men: Apocalypse is available to stream on Disney+ in the UK.

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