X-Men: Apocalypse feels like a placeholder that was made because Fox had a firm release date and the actual good script wasn’t going to be ready in time.
Some Spoilers Present:
At one point in the film, a few of the X-Men walk out of a screening of “return of the Jedi” and quip that the third installment is always the weakest. One might assume that Director Bryan Singer was throwing shade at “X-Men: The Last Stand”, directed by Brett Ratner, but I believe he was giving us a spoiler for what we could expect with “X-Men: Apocalypse”. This being the third installment of the soft-rebooted series that began with “X-Men: First Class”.
X-Men: Apocalypse feels like a placeholder that was made because Fox had a firm release date and the actual good script wasn’t going to be ready in time. This would explain why the movie doesn’t want to change the status of any of the main characters (with the exception of Professor X (James McAvoy) who is bald by the end of the film.) Mr. Singer, despite showing us his capacity to make an excellent film in “The Usual Suspects” and even within the X-Men franchise with “X2” and “Days of Future Past”, settles on a subpar script which follows a tired formula, has a forgettable villain, and completely wastes a stellar cast.
The film centers on an ancient (possibly the first) mutant Apocalypse (Oscar Isaacs in an awful bit of makeup) who is awakened after being trapped for centuries beneath a crumbled Egyptian pyramid. His first order of business upon breathing the fresh air is to assemble four “horsemen”, Storm (Alexandra Shipp) Psylocke (Olivia Munn) Angel (Ben Hardy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender), and destroy the world (because it needs a good cleansing once in a while, right?) It is up to Charles Xavier and his mutants to stop the destruction, as always.
The film takes place 10 years after the events of “X-Men: Days of Future Past” which in turn took place 10 years after the events of “X-Men: First Class”. I presume that the ONLY reason for these jumps in time is to allow the filmmakers to have fun changing the wardrobes and soundtracks for each installment to correspond to the rapidly changing trends of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. This inexplicable decision now asks us to suspend disbelief and accept that actors in their 20’s are playing characters in their 40’s and that in the past decade, no one (with the exception of Magneto) has made any changes at all. Professor X and his X-Men are still hanging out at the school for young mutants, Quicksilver (Evan Peters) is literally in the exact same place we left him in “Days of Future Past”, and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), although becoming an out and proud mutant in the last installment, still feels the need to disguise herself to make the humans comfortable. I suspect this reversion is due to Miss Lawrence’s disdain for the blue body makeup.
Newcomers Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) join our heroes after some brief introductions, and are soon set upon by Apocalypse. In the aftermath of this first encounter, we are treated to a contrived plot device involving Colonel Stryker (Josh Helman) that was seemingly included for the sole purpose of squeezing in a Wolverine cameo. A cameo, which makes no sense if you remember where Wolverine was left at the end of “DOFP”. The X-men regroup and take on Apocalypse in the final battle that is bland and forgettable, filled with mindless action and sloppy/overused sand/particle visual effects.
If there is anything good to be said about this film, it is that the Quicksilver scene is thrilling and the cast that has been assembled has proven (in other film) that they are capable of greatness in the right hands. Lets hope the hands change on the X-Men films before the next one.
X-Men: Apocalypse is rated PG-13
Runtime: 144 minutes
Images via 20th Century Fox