X-Men: Apocalypse, directed by Bryan Singer, is a film that tonal wise is a complete disaster. But perhaps its greatest failing, is the fact that, in the end, it’s a boring film. Early on I was completely disinterested in the plot of X-Men Apocalypse, and unfortunately that was a boredom that never went away. So let’s get this review underway and see where this film goes wrong.
The story in the film sees ‘Apocalypse’, played by Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Ex_Machina, Inside Llewyn Davis) wake up from his slumber. Apocalypse (who sees himself as a God) seeks to rid the world of humans – who he believes to be inferior – from existence. Utilising already established mutants (Mystique, Beast, Quicksilver) , and of course new ones (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler) the superhero force seeks to stop Apocalypse from completing his goal, while at the same time discovering the abilities that lay within them.
The first thing that will become apparent to you while watching X-Men: Apocalypse is how tonally the film is close to being a complete disaster. This is a film that seems unsure of how it wants to tackle the various elements in its story and its characters. The prime example of this happens during the second act of the film, and don’t worry, no spoilers. There is a segment in the film where the main characters are introduced to the frightening power of ‘Apocalypse’; it’s a pretty intense set of events that leave them jarred. But then it is followed up by a somewhat light hearted scene (I say somewhat because it is happening during a catastrophic explosion) and once that event comes to an end it then pivots back over to a super serious tone where characters are hurt and pretty sad. This is something that happens often in the film, it jumps from a light hearted romp, to a serious, dark, violent film. It escalates to ridiculous levels sometimes, and I more than once found myself completely perplexed as to what kind of film I was supposed to be watching.
It also doesn’t help that the film is dealing with a character who wants to wipe out humanity and build a new world with only mutants. When it came time for the world ending events and people getting seriously messed up, I had no real feeling of investment in any of it. The film barely explores the magnitude of the situation. This should feel like something huge, the world is ending. Instead it just felt like an insignificant set of events, which were void of any weight or emotion.
So while you have the tonal issues in the film you also have a mismanagement of time and development. The film arbitrarily focuses on multiple things and none of them ever feel adequately fleshed out – the films main antagonist being one of many examples. ‘Apocalypse’ spends a fair amount of time recruiting mutants for his cause and then even more time standing around spouting his world ending rhetoric. I got really tedious, really fast. I also must add that ‘Apocalypse’ looks really dumb. The costume that Oscar Isaac wears is distractingly bad looking and worst of all, it hinders him from delivering any sort of meaningful or imposing performance. Isaac is an extremely talented actor and he is completely let down by the costume and what he is given to work with in terms of the script.
In fact pretty much everyone is let down by the script. I mean this is a film that is sorely lacking both Xavier – played by James McAvoy – and Magneto – played by Michael Fassbender. Magneto for example has a really emotional story in the film, but it turns out that it is only a cheap plot device to make him a bad guy again and it never really goes beyond that. Xavier is also used as a plot device and the strength of his character is pushed to the side for it. It has always been a joy to see the two characters/actors interact with one another, as both the characters and the actors are some of the strongest in the films. Instead X-Men: Apocalypse is more interested in pushing new characters on us. Now I would have been fine with this if it wasn’t for the fact that they are boringly handled. The film is more interested in making silly nods to either the comics or other films, rather than try to build these new characters up. It is a complete mismanagement of great talent and great characters.
I can’t even say that the film is nice to look at because it isn’t. The film is completely stagnant in its presentation – not even another Quicksilver scene is enough to spark the flame of excitement in me. And for this being a big-budget superhero film, the CGI is awful. You’ll notice it and it will not be pleasant to look at.
So much of X-Men: Apocalypse feels wrong. It doesn’t know what type of film it wants to be, it doesn’t know how to properly handle its now bulging cast of characters and it can’t even construct an interesting or unique story. After the surprise success of ‘Deadpool’ and the very enjoyable ‘Captain America: Civil War’ I feel more than ever that X-Men may have had its day. These films feel outdated and extremely unoriginal in their approach. The trailers sparked no interest from me and when I sat down in the cinema to watch this film, I very soon realised that I was not only going to be bored, but that I just didn’t have the same excitement that I use to have for the X-Men franchise. It also doesn’t help that at this point the X-Men films continuity is so confusingly broken that it constantly feels like playing catch-up when watching one.
And there you have it, another dud of a superhero film. X-Men: Apocalypse offers nothing new or exciting and at this point feels like an old friend who you kind of don’t get along with anymore. Your friendship was built on a very specific set of circumstances and since then you’ve grown up and moved on. X-Men had its day and now there are a new class of films to enjoy, films that do it a lot better now.
So no, I won’t be recommending X-Men: Apocalypse. I can’t think of any reason to suggest this film. It fails at everything it tries to do and rehashes a lot of what once made it an exciting franchise to watch. Sayonara X-Men.
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