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Review X-Men: Apocalypse (2016): A gigantic boring and disappointing mess full of highs and lows / But trust me when I say that I am being far too kind!

genre: action, adventure, comic book adaptation, super hero, science fiction

Ever since I saw the trailer I was immensely excited about X-Men: Apocalypse. Seeing how it would feature on of the most iconic villains in the X-Men universe. But soon the comments and reviews came in and people did not seem to be happy with this third entry in the rebooted trilogy. Apparently director Bryan Singer was aware of this since he made a joke about this in the film. I don't know whether that was to cover himself from coming criticism and wanted to apologize or that he is mocking the viewer. Whatever he was going for he failed to make what should have been a good super hero film.

That is basically all I ask for. As long as it feels right I am fine with certain story lines and characters not being like they are supposed too. I forgave Bryan Singer for messing up time lines and mythologies of the X-Men universe since he did his best to stay true to the spirit of most of the comic book characters. At least he was more respectful of the source than Brett Ratner with his X-Men: The Last Stand (a movie I still can't review for the sheer fact it makes me so angry just thinking about it) was. But Singer commits the same crime by giving us the dullest villain ever. Apocalypse does seem to be incredibly powerful but for the most part the events that involve him are very underwhelming. He was a little too passive for me. It also never gets explained why he would need four minions. Of course I understand that it does speak to the imagination if you throw around some biblical terms like The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Even to non Christian people. Still it is not shown enough why the ones that are picked are not to be messed with. The only one who sort of does is Magneto. But we already know that he is pretty powerful. Psylocke apparently had a very brief appearance in X-Men The Last Stand but that was nothing more than a cameo. I bet that the majority weren't even aware that the girl portraying her was supposed to be Psylocke. In this film it would be the real opportunity to show the broad public what she is about. And it is almost a disgrace how little she is in this. I can't fully blame Olivia Munn but I don't think her character has been done justice. Although this can be said about Archangel, Storm, Nightcrawler, Cyclops, Jubilee and other mutants I might have missed. With so many mutants running around who each of them are so much more powerful than Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is it is almost a travesty that she gets more attention than they do. But to be fair Jennifer wasn't nearly as annoying as people said she was. They did manage to make her relevant even if it is a little artificial and far fetched.  Still the point is that it does beg the question why a powerful mutant as Apocalypse would have need of henchmen. They should have done a better job of explaining to the public what his strength and weaknesses are. Letting him stand there in the majority of the scenes was never imposing which could have been remedied if he would truly do some evil. So everything about him was average at best. 

X-Men: Apocalypse has very little story. For a film that has a duration of two hours and 24 minutes that is killing. In such a big amount of time you should be able to cover a lot of things and pay attention to events that need it the most. The Magneto sub plot for example was a good one but so drawn out it lost it's impact. That time could have been better spent on Apocalypse or other characters whose screen times were cut short. 

So it is obvious that it is not the story where we have to get the thrills from. Then what is left? The action and the spectacle of course. It is here where the film truly lets down. Remember the introductory high octane action scenes in X-Men: Days of Future past? Well, none of those in this film. It makes me wonder if Bryan Singer even knows what Apocalypse means? Most of the spectacle is just nice eye candy with very little to no excitement attached to it. There are only two moments, the definitive highlights of the movie, where you are wowed by the sheer aggressiveness and fun factor. One which I won't spoil and another with one specific mutant who also was the main highlight in the previous movie. You probably guessed it. Quicksilver. Again I am questioning Singer's insight and capabilities as director. Why not use this beloved character more? Why not make him more integral to the story than has occurred? It would have made much more sense and at the same time would have provided some comic relief. There was no need for Mystique at all. He could have taken her place. And yet Bryan Singer again puts Mystique at the helm just because she is performed by Jennifer Lawrence. I have news for you Singer. There are enough people including me who aren't that impressed with her. Evan Peters on the other hand never seizes to amaze. 

X-Men Apocalypse is not the worst in the franchise. That honour still goes to X-Men: The Last Stand. But everybody who was expecting more of the same quality established in the previous one will be severely disappointed. 

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Dale Brown said...

Great review. I think I'll give this film a miss.

chrichtonsworld.com said...

Thanks. Glad to be of service.




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