If there’s anything Director Bryan Singer has done FOR ME in his run with the X-Men, it’s the cycle which begins with watching the trailer then the doubt and uncertainty of whether the new X-Men movie will flop like X-Men 3 and finally watching the movie and having a good time. And I definitely had a good time. Somewhat.
X-Men: Apocalypse is the last part of the X-Men trilogy which began from X-Men: First Class to X-Men: Days of Future Past. Both of those movies delivered something new & fresh to the table, exceeded my expectations, and earned my respect for FOX studios to keep making X-Men movies. So it goes without saying that I thought Apocalypse would do the same…which it did; 1/3 of it. While I did enjoy the movie, and while it is definitely worth the ticket, there were some things that I felt to be lacking.
Apocalypse had a terrific cast, and the newbies to the X-Men franchise such as Sophie Turner (Jean Grey), Tye Sheridan (Scott Summers), Alexandra Shipp (Psylocke), Oscar Isaac (Apocalypse), etc. performed really well. In fact, there was no performance that I didn’t like! Tye Sheridan, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Oscar Isaac’s performances were my favorites. And kudos to the costume department! I used to mock Apocalypse’s outfit but when I realized the Egyptian influences, I understood and quietly agreed. Even the daily clothing of the mutant newbies were spot on to their personalities.The only issue (which is minor) is Psylock’s costume. It’s accurate to the comics, sure, but I hope they’ll change it to look something similar to her new design in the comics because that outfit looks uncomfortable. Her arms and thighs look like they’re wrapped in purple rings.
The movie focuses more on the storytelling and less on the action, taking its time to develop and generate fuel for the fire. When Apocalypse, the world’s first mutant, resurfaces to the world only to want it ruled over by him, Xavier and Mystique gather the X-Men to save the very world that opposes them. Despite the cliche villain-wants-to-take-over-the-world plot, it’s Oscar Isaac’s performance that makes him a villain worth talking about. Apocalypse is very much a reversed Messiah, gathering followers not for restoration, but its opposite. He speaks in tales, messages with subtle meaning, and prophecies, and ultimately acts like God. It was this challenge for the X-Men to fight a foe who was seemingly unstoppable in every way imaginable that made this movie into a gripping and entertaining flick.
The first and second act, which was more or less the build up to the big fight, were what I felt were the best parts of the film. Each of the main characters were given enough time in the limelight to develop their reasons as to whether they joined Apocalypse or fought against him. Magneto, Mystique’s and Quicksilver’s subplots were what I thought to have been the most emotionally charged subplots in this film. The film was going well despite some cliche moments, and it kept on going on until it completely dropped the ball in the third act.
Everything seemed to lose its way into the third act. The climatic fight wasn’t as supercharged as I thought it would be. All the tension that was built was lost, and the fight was resolved ala deus ex machina. I ended up confused and discontented by the time all was over. X-Men: Apocalypse however, somewhat redeemed itself for its ending.
In the end, X-Men: Apocalypse met my expectations, but it did not bring anything new. It had the same formula as Days of Future Past and the third act is still making me cringe. The film mostly had strong parts even if it kept flipping to predictable. Nevertheless, I am officially more excited for the next X-Men installment than how I was for Apocalypse. If anything, X-Men: Apocalypse isn’t the end. The film subtly hints on the franchise’s future and reminisces about the past oh so many times, and even with the amount of subplots it had, it didn’t lose its focus (at least until the third act).
Overall, X-Men: Apocalypse is a decent film brought by strong performances and a mediocre plot.