When entering the movie theatre to see X-Men Apocalypse I was evaluating how bad it could possibly be. After seeing the reviews reach a lower score on Metacritic than X-Men The Last Stand, I really didn’t know how this was going to go. Alas, after the 2h 27m runtime I left the theatre having seen a film that was better than I could have ever hoped for. Sure the movie had its issues from time to time, yet that didn’t stop me from having just as much fun with this movie as I had watching Civil War only a few weeks back.
This, in my opinion, comes mostly down to Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse. Not just because it’s Oscar Isaac, but because it’s been such a long time since we’ve had a really good villain for superheroes to fight. This is especially prevalent after Batman vs Superman and Civil War, not to mention the lack of major villain in Days Of Future Past. Apocalypse has a purpose and a motive that makes some of the more ridiculous moments in the movie justifiable. Couple that with his intimidating demeanour and deep rattling voice and you have a really compelling evil for the heroes to fight.
With this new entry we also are introduced to a variety of new faces as well as many old. Being the last in Bryan Singer’s prequels trilogy, it does feel odd to introduce key characters this late which begins to make the movie feel bloated with heroes. However, this isn’t something that massively bothered me. I know these characters, they were performed well and it was a lot of fun to finally have, pretty much, a full X-Men roaster towards the end of the movie. With that being said, the addition of Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Jean Grey, Storm, Psylocke the movie feels almost like a beginning rather than an ending.
Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy return in stellar form as Magneto and Charles Xavier, however Jennifer Lawrence really looks like she wished she’s never signed up for it all in the first place as Mystique; which is not helped by her lacklustre screen time. The old and the new meld together well, yet giving a sense of distance brought upon by their age. The heroes we know from the last movies are more experienced and rugged now, with the ones that looked up to Xavier, now being looked up to by others. Of course Evan Peters returns with another scene that tries to dazzle more than his showstopper in Days Of Future Past, but ultimately it never reaches the height of the original. This time being set to ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of These)’ by Eurythmics, it fails to capture the delicacy and profoundness of the scene set to Jim Croce’s ‘Time In A Bottle’.
Despite early pacing issues, the movie flows incredibly well even though it is juggling as many characters as it is. Unlike The Hobbit, all of the characters feel distinct enough that it never feels like a mass mesh of people in pyjamas hitting each other in the face. Despite this, some of the characters that were set up, particularly Storm, felt like they could have used a bit more screen time than they received. This only further adds to the idea that this movie feels more like a beginning than an end.
As far as destruction scenes go, this one really takes the prize. Overshadowing both Man Of Steel and Batman vs Superman, yet it never feels ridiculous. Not one bit. Maybe it’s because Apocalypse has an incredibly clear motive, one that is both understandable and slightly sympathetic. Even though throughout the final act there are obnoxious levels destruction all over the screen, you still get the sense that these characters are causing it and you are not just watching masses of flashing lights and explosions.
Some of the movies best moments come from the character drama in its much quieter moments. Many of them involving Magneto and one involving an old friend, that, if it wasn’t spoiled in the most recent trailer, would have been an amazing surprise.
I had an incredible amount of fun watching X-Men Apocalypse. Maybe more than I should have had, but a hell of a lot of fun none then less. Obviously there are issues, glaring ones at that, but as an overall package this was the fitting end to a brilliant trilogy.