The X-Men universe has always been a wonderful thing, with the original trilogy creating a formula for how all of its Marvel successors would play out. The more recent instalments in the mainline First Class and Days of Future Past were nothing but spectacular and refreshed what could have been a stale story. What Apocalypse does right, is start by creating a really interesting world years after the end of Days of Future Past. Where it goes all wrong is the execution, feeling more like the stale fourth film of the original bunch.
For the first half an hour of Apocalypse, a really interesting look into what the crew is doing in the civilian world, gives hope for yet another darker more grounded X-Men film. A series known for its grandiose action sequences, yet knowing when to play it down and ground itself, struggles with the divide between the two in Apocalypse. Without an interesting story to go along with it, a fairly mundane set of action sequences leave the majority of the latter half feeling uninspired.
Professor X (James McAvoy), struggling with the pure power of Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) and his blind faith in Magneto (Michael Fassbender), plays sidekick to Raven (Jennifer Lawrence). Together they lead the usual suspects in saving the world against a returned mutant god and metal bending Magneto. Fighting against Apocalypse and his newfound friends, the true enormity of the task leaves only one eventual option; and weirdly enough we have seen it before.
Most of the decisions Bryan Singer has made throughout the franchise have been for the best (he didn’t direct the painfully average X-Men 3). The most recent two mainline films, First Class and Days of Future Past, have both had their own hooks. First Class showed us how it all began, the start of this second trilogy, while Days of Future Past used some good ol’ time travel for its story to play out.
Apocalypse’s search for a band of evil mutants results in an inconsequential group of characters that add next to nothing to the story, aside from Storm who is introduced here.
What started as a really interesting half an hour turns into a fairly dull next hour and a half that falls flat just as fast as it was getting started. As a fan of the X-Men series it is probably a must see, as disappointing as it may be. They are the same characters with the same problems making for a film that feels awfully familiar.
They are the same characters with the same problems making for a film that feels awfully familiar.