I can already tell that X-Men: Apocalypse is going to be somewhat unfairly judged. There are a few reasons this is the case, but before we get to that, let’s go over the film shall we?
X-Men: Apocalypse starts off in ancient Egypt, where the titular character (Oscar Issac) is in the process of transferring his consciousness to a new body that is capable of regeneration. Just as the process is being completed, he is entombed by rebels who want to be free of the mutant’s tyrannical rule.
Fast forward to 1983, and a series of scenes bring us up to speed as to what has happened between the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse. Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) has become a mutant folk hero, Magneto (Michael Fassbender) has gone into hiding, and Xavier (James McAvoy) is happily running his school.
We’re then introduced to new returning characters, with Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), and Cyclops (Tye Sheridan, who is actually given something to do this time around). Then Apocalypse is awoken, and a group of mutants must unite to battle this powerful being, who wants to cleanse the earth and start anew.
Let’s start off with the bad: X-Men: Apocalypse isn’t as good as Days of Future Past. To be fair, the previous film united two generations of casts into one film, beautifully creating a unique superhero film experience no other franchise could deliver, because none had been around as long.
Apocalypse, on the other hand, is more of a by-the-numbers superhero film, where the heroes have to defeat a super powerful being bent on world domination. The villain is fairly two-dimensional, and I don’t quite buy how he was able to convince Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Storm, Angel, and Magneto to join him.
However, the First Class cast is still wonderful, and story arcs that have been threading through the previous two films weave themselves nicely into X-Men: Apocalypse. Almost all the characters have arcs that flesh out their struggles, but without weighing the film down. Both McAvoy and Fassbender are once again exceptional as Xavier and Magneto ,proving worthy successors for Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen.
As I was watching this movie, I was struck with exactly what director Bryan Singer wanted to do with this film: He wanted to make his X-Men 3, and in order to do that, needed to wipe the slate clean with Days of Future Past. Which brings me to how many people might judge this film too harshly. Singer hasn’t delivered a film that transcends the genre of a superhero film, but he has delivered a damn fine X-Men film.
If this had come out in 2006 instead of Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand, it would have gotten rave reviews. However, in a world of Captain America: Civil War, far more groundbreaking ideas have been introduced into the lexicon of live-action comic book films. X-Men: Apocalypse doesn’t have the kind of gravitas or world building that Marvel has managed to do, despite being around for 16 years, but it’s still a fun time at the multiplex.
Here’s the trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse: