Monday, May 30, 2016

[Review] X-Men: Apocalypse

After the slick, balanced, and surprisingly emotional X-Men: Days of Future Past, Bryan Singer summons X-Men: Apocalypse, and it's a significant step back and a massive disappointment.

In an opening sequence that comes dangerously close to looking like something from Gods of Egypt, we witness the most powerful mutant in the world En Sabah Nur aka Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac, behind 15 pounds of prosthetics) getting resurrected. Meanwhile, Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is out recruiting fellow mutants. Newcomers Cyclops (Tye Sheridan, Mud) and Phoenix (Sophie Turner, "Game of Thrones") join the squad. (Pardon me if I don't name everyone.)

It's amazing how sloggy of a start this thing gets off to. It's not just the slow pace, but more-so the uninteresting material that fills the story's first half. The plot lumbers between an ensemble of settings (reminiscent of Batman v Superman). James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender reprise their roles as Professor X and Magneto--But the former is just teaching at a school that is curiously boring for a place that is full of young super mutants, while the other is working away at a factory in Germany. Jennifer Lawrence kind of just floats, appearing to be bored out of her mind. And the one-dimensional villain Apocalypse stalls for a while (there's seriously a scene of him watching TV).

The film doesn't really set into motion until after the one-hour mark (yikes). And that also happens to be when the resoundingly cool Days of Future Past standout Quicksilver (Evan Peters) gets in on the action. His highlight reel of a montage is backed by "Sweet Dreams" and awesomely shows the surrounding world slow down as he rapidly darts around saving the school of mutants from a major explosion. It's also the first time the film doesn't feel so dull and uninspired.

Of course everything builds to a huge battle, but it's not as earth-shattering as you'd expect it to be. The sequence of melee falls victim to the "bunch of stuff just flying around" debacle. For an end of the world scenario (and a movie that actually has "Apocalypse" in the title), the stakes feel mighty low. There's no major sense of thrill or peril. The central conflicts are a slice of what they once were, and any attachment to the characters gets lost in the overcrowded mess. Even though each mutant possesses their own unique power, they all seem to share the same monotone soullessness (aside from Quicksilver). The trite dialogue they're forced to deliver doesn't help matters either.

X-Men: Apocalypse is a tale of two halves, and both of them flounder.

Oh, if only Quicksilver's screen time wasn't so fleeting...

( 5/10 )

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  1. I agree with the film having "no major sense of thrill or peril". And I think Quicksilver deserves his own spin-off film.

    1. I second that Sting. They really need to let someone else make these films. Ah Quicksilver I don't know this character. That saving the school sequence felt way out of place. Like they changed directors during filming lol.

  2. I rarely call for reboots but in the case of the X-Men franchise I would love one. Just get some actors and actresses in their early 20's that I have never heard of and give them a whack at this with absolutely no one from any of the previous films in it.