In the wake of Marvel’s success with Captain America: Civil War and the harsh reviews of DC’s Batman Vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice, Universal has jumped on the superhero movie bandwagon and released yet another instalment in the X-Men franchise. X-Men: Apocalypse is the second instalment in the rebooted universe after the favourable outcome of X-Men: Days of Future Past, and continues in an alternate timeline that has so obviously tried to erase the events of X3, the third film in the original trilogy that was met with great disapproval by comic book fans and film fanatics alike. Days of Future Past took us back to the 70s with waterbeds and denim jackets, while Apocalypse is set ten years after, where the events that took place had a clear and consequential effect on both human and mutant-kind. This means we see young Jean Gray and Scott Summers meet in a community that consists of mainly angsty teenage mutants, Charles setting up the beginnings of his school, Magneto’s new quiet life and Logan running around making more angry faces. The plot is simple, and is founded on similar points that run throughout every X-Men or Wolverine film; mutants experience prejudice and want to be accepted, humans feel insecure around their mutant counterparts, and our favourite best-frenemies battle it out to improve mutant acceptance; they just have slightly different methods. How this film fits into the X-Men franchise is interesting, due to the sheer number of X-Men films and their timelines. Apocalypse takes place in the second chronological timeline which only acknowledges X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past, so forget everything you saw in X-Men, X2, X-Men: The Last Stand and The Wolverine.
PT 1- The Good
Put it this way; X-Men fans have been through a rollercoaster of hits and misses, and Apocalypse has been labelled as the latter. I can see the flaws of this movie, however I am not ashamed to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think this is in part because I refused to watch any trailers prior to its release to avoid any spoilers, and due to the low expectations I had going into the film. I had read a review that called the movie “Worse than X3” (I still don’t agree with this), so I was anticipating something very messy. But when it came to it, I had a great time, sitting in an IMAX theatre with that adrenaline building score pumping loudly as a mutant essentially pretzel-ized someone in the first scene. This film was not afraid to show violence and gore (and after seeing it I can understand why there was some debate about its classification in the US) but it had a lot of unique quips like those prevalent in Marvel films to provide comic relief. I particularly enjoy it when films acknowledge themselves, so Jean’s line about the third film being the worst made me laugh a little too hard (poor Brett Ratner). It was funny, it was climactic and it was a huge relief to my assumptions of what it would be.
PT 2- The Bad
Although I had a good time watching the film, there were some things that made me cringe. First of all, this movie showed Charles becoming bald from the ability transference between himself and Apocalypse. In the previous X-Men films (set in a timeline in which Apocalypse was never awoken and thus never singed off Xavier’s hair in an attempt to steal his powers), Charles is bald, which makes me wonder why it was so important for Charles to end up hairless in both timelines of the story. I don’t really care if Xavier is bald or not, I just find it interesting that they felt the need to explain this in a universe where we don’t see Patrick Stewart’s Charles. Who knows, perhaps they are going to keep making X-Men sequels until we reach the right decade for James McAvoy to be replaced by the former professor?
The second thing that irked me was the plane scene. While our heroes travel in their irritatingly inconvenient jet, Magneto is out there doing his thing by sucking up all the metal in the world. Tell me then; how come the plane is unaffected by this? Is the plane made completely of plastic? What I would have absolutely loved to have seen here would be another Wolverine cameo- this time, he is running around when he suddenly gets sucked into Magneto’s hurricane of metal and floats around confused before dropping the one “f bomb” a film of this rating is allowed (which instead went to Michael Fassbender in a less humorous way).
PT 3- The Ugly (SPOILERS)
Psylocke and Angel were there because they were fan favourites, but did they really serve any purpose? Angel’s death scene infuriated me- what is the point in including him as a character if you are going to kill him off in a way that defies his very purpose? Hmmm, if ONLY THERE WAS A WAY ANGEL COULD’VE HAD SOME SORT OF MUTATION THAT ALLOWED HIM TO FLY OUT OF DANGER…. As for Psylocke, well, it’s a little hard to comment on her character considering she acted more as a prop than anything else.
Why does no one age? It’s the 80s, and everyone is doing really well considering it’s been 10 years. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t this make Havoc in his early 40s? And speaking of Havoc…. what an unnecessary death. It didn’t add anything to the plot since Scott already had motivation to save his fellow mutants. It was the most brushed over and un-consequential superhero death I have ever seen. It was easy to forget about because it literally took up about 20 seconds in the entire movie, so I can let it slide.
In conclusion, I found X-Men: Apocalypse enjoyable and no way near as bad as everyone says it is. I think it sits somewhere in-between Dawn Of Justice and Civil War; not terrible but not great either. I’ll see you soon for Gambit and Wolverine 3, loyal X-fans.