I finally got around to seeing X-Men : Apocalypse last night. My expectations were fairly low, though I knew Bryan Singer could do a good job with it. The last X-Men film, “Days Of Future Past”, was a nice edition to the film franchise, but the time travel mechanic left me confused and annoyed. I was glad that some of our core heroes were revived from a completely unnecessary death in “Last Stand”, but all necessary gravity earned from those deaths was drained out by employing the time travel mechanic in “Days of Future Past”. This to me renders any future deaths as pointless. I purposely stayed spoiler free with “Apocalypse”, as I wanted to go in to it fresh. I did see an overall rating from Rotten Tomatoes, and it did not seem encouraging. Luckily I was mostly pleased by X-Men Apocalypse, and certainly entertained.
minor spoilers ahead
What really impressed me more than anything with the film, was Brian Singer’s handling of the characters and their origins. I have no doubt that the screen writer and the production team had a hand in this, but I am going to give the director the credit. Think about the audience for this film. Most of the people watching X-Men: Apocalypse have seen other X-Men films, and possibly even the animated shows. But for the director to care so much for the hardcore fans who have read the comics from the 80’s and 90’s is incredible. I appreciated the Easter Eggs and “nods” given to us. This film was made with us in mind, and that floors me, as we represent such a small group of consumers, and we are much harder to please. From what I could tell, every origin shown of the various mutants covered in the film was done 100% correctly or close to it.
I have always been intrigued with Magneto as a villain. He is somewhat misunderstood. He is capable of great evil, but he can be reached, he can be reasoned with. While Ian McKellen has always done a great job with the character, he always made Magneto rather one-noted. I love the complexity and gravity that Michael Fassbender has given to Magneto. In “Apocalypse” he is one of the great highlights.
Much like Ian McKellon’s portrayal of Magneto, Patrick Stewart was the perfect choice for Professor X in the older films. The younger version of the professor played by James McAvoy is great as well. Professor X ends up being a crucial part to the story, and to the plans of Apocalypse. We also get to see how he gets his baldness, which is a fun addition to the film, as he now looks the part.
Now let me say that there really isn’t anything bad about the film, but there were things that could have been better.
In the comics Apocalypse was a ridiculously powerful mutant. He was huge and intimidating. There was a reason that the Apocalypse story line spanned many comic titles over a wide period of time. He was an epic villain, worthy of many crossovers. In this film, Apocalypse is every bit as powerful as the name suggests he should be. Where it falls short for me is visually and his voice. The character should be huge. He was large, but certainly did not tower over the other characters by much. The bigger problem for me though was that his voice was all wrong. Apocalypse when he was not employing his mutant power to speak, sounded like the Godfather. It just was not the right sound for the character.
under utilization of some characters
We got a new Storm, Archangel, and Psylocke in X-Men Apocalypse. These characters were given power boosts by the villain, but then the film failed to utilize them fully. Storm is my favorite character, and I did not mind the recast, but then we did not get to see a lot of her. Archangel and Psylocke had even smaller roles. Why focus on these three for the plot, and then not feature them more? Wolverine was a cameo (which caused a whole other continuity issue from when the characters met him in X-Men:Origins), and Havok not much better. It was great seeing so many X-Men in one film, but it is challenging to get them all on screen, and it suffered a bit from it.
I don’t mind the fact that some of the X-Men were recast with new actors, it had to happen sometime. Though with two or three different actors playing the same character, it gets a little weird. The mix on screen of this all in the same movie feels lacking of continuity. We had Hugh Jackman ( Wolverine), Fassbender (Magneto), and a brand new Scott Summers (Cyclops) for example, blending three generations of actors. Also it can be difficulty getting a handle on the timelines of all the films, as they have been jumping around so much. It is now to the point that the original 3 X-Men films are off track in the timeline mostly because of “Apocalypse”. Another example is that certain characters met for the first time in “First Class”, and then they meet differently in “Apocalypse”. I guess it should not be that surprising as this is a microcosm of the entire Marvel comic universe. The Marvel comic multiverse is as convoluted as it gets, and now so are these movies. If I was just starting out as a comic reader and collector It would be nearly impossible to know where to begin. It seems best to not take this too seriously,or you will get a headache figuring it all out
All in all, X-Men: Apocalypse was a fun, and entertaining film, certainly worth the theater experience. My recommendation though, is to not think too much while watching it.