X-MEN: APOCALYPSE Movie Review
Lpickell@wcgworld.comAfter X-Men: Days of Future Past turned out much better than I expected, imagine my disheartened surprise to learn that director Bryan Singer happened to land a hail mary pass, because X-Men: Apocalypse shows me that even though Singer is still suiting up to earn his paycheck – his heart is clearly no longer in the movie making game so to speak. What this dour installment lacks in character development, logic and a compelling narrative it makes up for in momentum and spectacle to an extent, but pushing two and a half hours and resting on a derivative and non-compelling climax – it all ends up collapsing under it’s own weight and delivering shallow fan service, ridiculously dire consequences and fatigue inducing disaster porn that would make Roland Emmerich blush and Michael Bay’s head spin. The Russo Brothers have recently proved with Civil War, that there’s a compelling way to make a superhero film with characters that are not window dressing but compelling with big dramatic stakes that don’t condescend the audience, but most importantly edited together to not make the audience feel like they’ve been sitting down for two and a half hours, not that Simon Kinberg’s screenplay did Singer many favors.
The easiest way to enjoy Apocalypse on it’s own terms is to forget trying to connect the dots with the previous installments, trust me you’ll save yourself quite a headache.
Ancient Egypt is where En Sabah Nur aka Apocalypse and his four disciples or horsemen rather are performing a ritual to transfer the god-like’s muntant conscience into a younger body. For the record, Oscar Isaac’s talents are completely wasted and buried under tons of makeup and prosthetics in this thankless role, just about anyone could have done the job. Flash-forward to 1983 and there’s a neat little underground cage fight sequence that introduces Angel (Ben Hardy) and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and I’ll admit that there’s some fun visual pinache that takes advantage of the time setting, however if you’re looking for any of the fun swashbuckling traits associated with Nightcrawler’s comic counterpart prepare to be disappointed, he mostly serves as a plot device to literally move characters from one place to another and severely lacks in the personality department. The lack in character traits can also apply to Angel as well, not to mention Scott Summers (Tye Sheridan), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) and just about all of the newcomers introduced – I was quite impressed with Alexandra Shipp who gives as much as possible to her role as Ororo Munroe, but the script unfortunately gives her barly anything to work with. The two actors that come out best are Michael Fassbender who gets some emotional scenes to work with and completely owns them and of course the scene-stealer from the previous X-Men outing Evan Peters as Quicksilver, who steals with almost identically the same scene with a different song, but it works, especially breaking up the dare I say serious tone.
On the surface, X-Men: Apocalypse is a treat to fans of the comic book series with everything from the fun but not so secret familiar cameo to Cyclops donning his 90’s Jim Lee inspired outfit, but in the end it’s all about the emperor wearing no clothes.
I enjoy references as much as the next guy, yet when they’re slapped onto something, half-hearted and shallow it feels cheap and false. On sheer action spectacle X-Men Apocalypse gets a decent amount of mileage before dropping dead in it’s tracks, but think too much about anything beyond that and you’ll reaise you’ve been fooled by a director who doesn’t care as much as you about what’s happening on screen.