Bryan Singer directs the last installment of the First Class trilogy, though he does a half-baked job of it...
Blame it on Captain America: Civil War...Blame it on The Dark Knight...Blame it on Bryan Singer's own Days of Future Past...Nowadays, we have started expecting our superhero films to be more than just mindless action flicks with lots of CGI thrown in! Unfortunately, X-Men: Apocalypse suffers from the same problem the rest of the superhero films get burdened, the most recent being Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice...
Here's my review of the film...
What's it about
In 3600 BCE, Egypt was ruled by a powerful mutant, En Sabah Nur, who is in the process of transferring his consciousness into a younger body (a pre-makeup Oscar Isaac). However, the process is interrupted when rebels destroy the abode, labelling him 'false God' (Batman v Superman, anyone?). In the aftermath, the pyramid under which the ceremony was being conducted, collapses burying En Sabah Nur under the rubble. Cut to many centuries later...
A decade has passed since the events of Days of Future Past (I mean, the Past part), and the world has entered into the '80s. Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is back to running his school for the gifted with the help of Beast (Nicholas Hoult). After saving the President in the last film, Raven aka Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) has now gone underground and trying to save other mutants, like Nightcrawler (Kodi Smith-McPhee). Plus, there are new mutants in the school, like Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) and Jubilee (a wasted Lana Candor). Magneto (Michael Fassbender) has retired himself to a Polish countryside, adapted a new identity and is raising a family there. However, a tragic incident, following the revelation of his real identity, brings out the villain in him. At the same time, En Sabah Nur rises from the ruins and rechristens himself as Apocalypse. He is unhappy that humans have taken over the world and wants to cleanse it again. So he goes on a recruitment drive for his Four Horsemen, and finds them in Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Angel (Ben Hardy) and an angry Magneto. The rest of the X-Men (or pre X-Men, because they only become X-Men by the end of it) goes to stop Apocalypse from living upto his name!
Seeing the bad reviews on the net, I had very less expectations about the film. However as the proceedings started, I was pleasantly surprised with the going-ons and even wondered what those poor reviews were all about. I spoke too soon. Anyways, the film begins on a campy but an interesting note when it goes to the ancient times in Egypt. The introductions of Cyclops and Jean Grey, Magneto's troubled domestic life, and the resurrection of Apocalypse have been shot well. In fact, the first half has the Bryan Singer stamp all over, and makes us invest in the proceedings. The film is surprisingly bold when it comes to violence and gore, even though it is not R-Rated (has Deadpool's success anything to do with this?). Among the performances, surprisingly, it's the younger actors who make more impact than the veterans. Evan Peters once again steals the show as Quicksilver, and his one big scene is actually the best in the film (even though it's just an extension of what he did in the previous one). Tye Sheridan, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Sophie Turner (despite her terrible American accent) are aptly cast, and they perform well. Among the veterans, it's Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy who some meat in their roles. Fans of Wolverine will be pleased with his cameo, especially his little moment with Jean Grey.
There is a scene in the movie, where after watching a Star Wars film, the young mutants come out and start to dissect it. Jean Grey has the final say when she declares it's always the third one that's the worst. Though it's a hint at The Last Stand, unfortunately even Apocalypse suffers from the same curse. After a fantastic Days of Future Past, Apocalypse feels a lot underwhelming despite having more action that previous installment. I admit there is not a single still moment in the second half, with lot of CGI and stunts thrown in. However, if you still feel the need to stifle multiple yawns, there must be something wrong somewhere, and that's because we don't feel the seriousness of what's happening out there. Partly to be blamed is Apocalypse, said to be the most dangerous mutant, but is more of a one-dimensional villain, despite it's a brilliant Oscar Isaac behind all those prosthetics. Heck, even Ultron was better than him - he was fun. Even the rest of the characters don't have any proper arcs, with major victims being Mystique and Beast. The same goes for Psylocke (though she looks damn sexy), Angel and Storm, whose only job is to stand behind Apocalypse and look menacing. One thing I hate about The First Class trilogy is making Mystique a hero, instead of the anti-hero in the comics, just so she is played by Jennifer Lawrence. She has, surprisingly, nothing much to do here except to give a couple of inspiring speeches. The entire Alkali lake sequence, though it gave us an opportunity to glimpse Wolverine, actually comes out of nowhere. There are many questions left unanswered. Why does Apocalypse need Four Horsemen when he is powerful enough to destroy everything? Why aren't older X-Men ageing even though two decades have passed from the first film? Fine, they are X-Men so they must not be ageing, then what about Moira Mactaggert (Rose Byrne)? She is a human. How come Logan landed in Stryker's Weapon X program, when it was shown he was being rescued by Mystique at the end of the last film? What makes (SPOILER ALERT) Magneto and Storm do a volte-face at the end? And yes, we known Magneto is Quicksilver's father in the comics, but using it as a plot device in the film looked weak. The climax is just an overblown CGI mess!
And once again, everything was there in the trailers...So the film offers us no new surprise!
What to do
X-Men: Apocalypse might not be as bad as Batman V Superman, but it is definitely the most disappointing of the First Class trilogy. Watch it if you only are a true X-Men fans and love mindless CGI action spectacles. The rest of us will thrive in the memories of Civil War.
3.0 out of 5
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