Movie Review: X-Men Apocalypse (2016)

Posted: November 26, 2016 in Action, Drama
Tags: , , , ,

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The first mutant, Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) has re-emerged in Egypt after a long hibernation.  He has absorbed many of the powers of the mutants in his time and now wants to take over the world and remake it in his own image.  He gathers an army, modeled after the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.   Storm (Alexandra Shipp) who is the first mutant Apocalypse meets and transforms.  Angel, (Ben Hardy) who Apocalypse transforms into Archangel, Psylocke (Olivia Munn) who uses psychic energy as a weapon,  and Magneto. (Michael Fassbender)  Now, Apocalypse has tapped into a way to use Charles Xavier’s (James McAvoy) communication device to talk to every mutant in the world.  Can Xavier, Mystique,  (Jennifer Lawrence) Beast (Nicholas Hoult) Quicksilver (Even Peters) Cyclops  (Tye Sheridan) Nightcrawler (Kodi Smid McPhee) and Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) stop Apocalypse’s plan to win mutants to his side and rule the world?

I have liked all the other X-Men movies in this series, I did not like X-Men Apocalypse.  The writers chose the wrong protagonist, in my opinion, and they spent so much time developing Apocalypse as the Original Mutant, and they wrote parts for so many mutants, that there was next to no character development for any of the mutants, especially the newer ones, why is Storm a follower of Apocalypse? Mystique seems like the more natural choice to follow Apocalypse, and Eric and Charles could have fought over Mystique like they  did in the first two reboot movies.  The writers tried to model this version of X-Men after Avengers Civil War, with X-Men pit against X-Men, just like the Avengers were pit against one another. One of my favorite characters in the entire series was barely in this movie, and by the time the epic battle unfolded, it didn’t really matter.  Days of Future Past was so creatively written and centered on the right protagonist.  X-Men Apocalypse had a basic plot, too many characters, and very little character development, and it suffers by comparison to Days of Future Past.

James McAvoy is very good as Charles Xavier, almost as good as Patrick Stewart.  He’s got that same restraint as Stewart, he should have had a bigger role.  Michael Fassbender is as good an actor as there  is in movies today, he plays the conflicted Magneto well, and waivers maddeningly between good and evil very well. There is also very good banter between Stewart and Fassbender.  The acting goes downhill from there.  Oscar Isaac is a good actor, he was great in The Force Awakens, and Llewen Davis, but he didn’t have much to do in Apocalypse, except stand around and look menacing.   The writers ask Jennifer Lawrence to carry huge chunks of this movie she is simply not a good enough actress to do it.  Sophie Turner from Game of Thrones is a good Jean Grey, they should have made her role bigger.  Kodi Smit-McPhee looks and sounds too young to play Nightcrawler, he was a child actor.  Olivia Munn is totally underutilized, and one central cast member is reduced to a cameo.

Bryan Singer wrote and directed this movie, and he’s been involved with 4 of the 6 X-men movies, including Days of Future Past, so I don’t know how he thought the screenplay was worth directing.  As a director the pacing was very slow, the special effects were mediocre, and the acting was uneven.  I don’t even have a clue how to fix it, but here are a few suggestions.  Center the story on another character, make Mystique darker, let Storm team up with Charles, and that would at last have made the story more interesting.

X-Men Apocalypse:  Not nearly X-cellent enough.

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