Weekly Review: X-Men Apocalypse (2016)

After thousands of years, a powerful mutant, potentially the source of humanity’s belief in a higher power, is awakened. Disgusted by the state of the world around him, he gathers his four horsemen and attempts to usher in the apocalypse.

X-Men: Apocalypse is the third film in the rebooted X-Men franchise. It follows the events of both X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past. Apocalypse also makes references to the events in the previous two films, so if you haven’t seen them, there may be certain points where you may feel confused.

Confused is a word that I would often use to describe my feelings about the X-Men films. I tend to get the timelines confused, and I often find myself confusing the events from the first X-Men trilogy with this current reboot. I’m also not familiar enough with the comics in order to try to keep myself in the loop. It doesn’t help that Hugh Jackman has played Wolverine through every rendition, so it makes it easier to get the stories mixed up.

Overall, I felt that X-Men: Apocalypse was alright. It was a fun movie to watch, but I definitely wouldn’t say it was that great of a film. That’s honestly how I’ve felt about many of the X-Men movies. There’s so much real world commentary that can go with the X-Men story, but I’ve never really felt it come through within the movies.

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 8.38.19 PM

The most compelling character within these reboots is Magneto/Erik Lehnsherr, played by Michael Fassbender. Despite being one of the more well-known villains to mainstream audiences in the original X-Men trilogy, I’ve felt that his character was the easiest to root for. The reboot films have done a lot to show Magneto’s back story, and Apocalypse doesn’t stray far from its predecessors. It’s easy to understand how Magneto/Erik could feel justified in his actions.

My biggest complaint with Apocalypse was the writing. A lot of the lines felt really cheesy, and some of the situations did too. At one point, when the characters band together, a giant “X” for “X-Men” is created in the shot. It was laughable. There are several lines that made me chuckle and roll my eyes as well. The writing, both dialogue and situation wise, is not the best. It felt kind of forced.

On top of that, it felt odd that the villain in the movie was so unstoppable. As the movie progressed, I found myself wondering how on earth the main characters would ever be able to defeat him. In the end, the villain was set up to be so powerful that any attempt at destroying him would be a letdown, and it was a bit of a letdown.

Even with the forced nature of the plot, I felt that the performances were pretty great. I mentioned Michael Fassbender earlier. His portrayal of Magneto/Erik remained as good as I’ve always thought it was. Apocalypse introduced some new characters to the reboot franchise, namely Jean Grey (played by Game of Thrones‘ Sophie Turner), Storm/Ororo Munroe (played by Alexandra Shipp, Straight Outta Compton), Cyclops/Scott Summers (played by Tye Sheridan, The Stanford Prison Experiment), and Nightcrawler/Kurt Wagner (played by Kodi Smit-McPhee, Let Me In).

I also want to take a moment to talk about Oscar Isaac’s role as En Sabah Nur/Apocalypse. Oscar Isaac just has this way about him. Even being in full make-up for his role in this film, his face expressions still shine through. His performance gives off an air of arrogance and wisdom while simultaneously showing obvious disdain for the world as he sees it. You can perfectly see his look of disgust through his make-up and prosthetics. His performance is pretty great, despite the amount of cliche surrounding the character he’s playing in Apocalypse. I felt that he worked really well for the character he was playing. If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing Isaac in any of his other roles, I definitely recommend it.

Overall, my thoughts on X-Men: Apocalypse are that it’s a summer movie. It’s not the greatest, but I know a lot of people will enjoy it for what it is. The film has mixed reviews online, so it’s not entirely positive or negative, and that’s really what I’m feeling from it as well. It just kind of exists in a sea of summer movies.

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