I wasn’t going to write a review for this film. I was going to sit back and revel in the glory of the X-Men. Ever since X-Men: First Class the mutant movies have been slightly improving. I loved Days of Future Past and had really high hopes for Apocalypse. How quickly things turned. (Maybe some minor spoilers? I don’t know).
On paper, I loved this premise. Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) now has his School for Gifted Youngsters up and running. The world is (attempting) to accept mutants and everything is just about going well. Until Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), rumoured to be the world’s first mutant, rises from the tomb from which he has slept since the days of Ancient Egypt and plans to shift the power from those without superhuman abilities to those that do. With his Four Horsemen (Storm, played by Alexandra Shipp, Angel played by Ben Hardy, Psylocke played by Olivia Munn and Magneto played by Michael Fassbender) at his side, and holding Xavier as prisoner, it is down to Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Hank McCoy aka Beast (Nicholas Hoult) to put together a new team of X-Men to take down Apocalypse.
So far so good. It was great to see the four original cast members back together again. I love what they bring to each character and I think they are each fantastic actors both in and out of these roles. I also loved that Rose Byrne was back as Moira. Casting wasn’t the issue with Apocalypse, I think the cast worked extremely well together and the new additions brought some really interesting stuff to the table. So the casting alone, was fine.
The issue with Apocalypse which I find to be the issue with a number of X-Men movies (including the Wolverine series) is the way that they handle the characters. I don’t claim to be an X-Men expert, but out of all the teams in the Marvel comics, the X-Men are my absolute favourite. It’s a very character orientated team and that didn’t transfer well in Apocalypse. I found the film focused too much of Magneto – again – and not enough exploring the new mutants. It feels almost as if Bryan Singer was too scared to stray away from the founders of the X-Men to let the newbies shine. Of course, we did see Jean Grey, Cyclops and Nightcrawler begin their careers as mutant heroes but it felt to me like it came out of nowhere.
However, I don’t feel like the film was long enough to split its time equally between the insane amount of characters that were thrown at us. The pacing was way off, a slow start (which I really don’t mind) and then everything was rushed at the end. There was no real action in the fight against Apocalypse. A lot of it relied on getting through to a grieving Magneto to help his old buddies and helping Jean Grey unleash the Phoenix (which came out of nowhere, by the way).
The story fell flat and I felt really unfulfilled after watching X-Men: Apocalypse. While the acting was spot on, the writing just ruined it for me. I hate to say that, because I am such a big fan and this film should have been the start of a new generation. But when you take a story that’s so reliant on its characters and you don’t do the origins any justice the performances don’t seem to matter. It feels like a step back for the X-Men franchise, I just hope the next X-Men film gives more back.
While two stars might be a little harsh I’m so angry so that’s what I’m giving it.
Thanks for reading,
all the best,