- Title: X-Men: Apocalypse
- IMDb: link
X-Men: Apocalypse is a bloated film that wants more than anything to be epic in scale. Stuck with a ponderous first 45 minutes resetting up the world of the X-Men one decade after the events of X-Men: First Class (where apparently only some of our characters have actually aged) the movie has to spend far too much time catching us up on current events. With the script hamstrung by the need to properly introduce not only the movie’s villain Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), which means flashbacks to ancient Egypt, but also several new characters who will make up both Apocalypse’s Four Horseman (Olivia Munn, Ben Hardy, Alexandra Shipp) and the new version of the X-Men (Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Lana Condor) it takes quite some time before director Bryan Singer‘s movie gets on track.
With the resurrection of Apocalypse, who begins recruiting new mutants for his army, the movie begins in earnest with Mystique‘s (Jennifer Lawrence) return to the mansion and Professor X‘s (James McAvoy) abduction. After an appearance by Stryker (Josh Helman), used only to shoehorn in a cameo of Singer’s favorite mutant, Mystique will gather a few mutants together to reform the X-Men.
With so many new and returning characters, Singer’s film feels a bit unfocused. While I’m ecstatic to see an X-Men movie that doesn’t center around Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), the first in 16 years, I’m disappointed it had to be this film. Singer’s need to inject Logan into events is a perfect example of what’s wrong with X-Men: Apocalypse which spends half the time trying to bridge the various X-Men films into something resembling a cohesive whole and the other half throwing continuity and plot to the wind in favor of cheap fan bait. Some of the fan bait works (Munn’s mostly silent role as Psylocke) but much of it fails (and Jubilee is in this movie because…?), however almost none of it directly serves the plot.
Magneto (Michael Fassbender) is given his own subplot, mainly to justify his role in the second-half of the film, but other characters and events just seem thrown together at random throughout most of the film. Singer finally gets to play with a young Jean Grey (Turner) and Cyclops (Sheridan) but with so much else happening there simply isn’t enough time to properly explore the pair. Of the returning characters the one real stand-out is Evan Peters as Peter Maximoff. As he did in X-Men: Days of Future Past, Quicksilver steals every single scene in which he appears. He’s also the only actor who appears to be having any fun this time around.
The Stargate-ish Apocalypse has an impressive power set but the character himself isn’t all that interesting. Nor does the villain’s ultimate plan of floating stuff in the air properly convey the dire situation the world supposedly finds itself in. Visually interesting? Maybe. Scary? Not at all. With 80% of the film set aside completely for set-up X-Men: Apocalypse leaves itself in the unenviable position to deliver one hell of a climax to justify the prolonged narrative. It’s a promise the movie simply can’t deliver.
Clocking in at 143 minutes, X-Men: Apocalypse has just enough to make it a marginal recommendation. There are moments, such as Quicksilver’s big hero moment, that are certainly worth seeing. I just wish there were a few more of those moments in a film that spans nearly two-and-a-half hours.