Here’s the thing. I love X-Men. I grew up with them, I read the comics, I watched the cartoons, I’ve seen every movie many many times. So it’s hard to please a fan like me of the original source material but I’m also going to try seeing this from the perspective of the average moviegoer. We’ll see how this goes.
It’s 1983. Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is running a school for mutants, with Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) serving as a teacher. We have a new batch of students including Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee). An old evil has been awakened, though, in the form of an ancient mutant named En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac). He recruits some powerful mutants of his own, including Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), and Angel (Ben Hardy). For his fourth disciple, he recruits a troubled Magneto (Michael Fassbender) to help destroy the world. To aid the X-Men, we have Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Quicksilver (Evan Peters) returning, as well as the return of Xavier’s old flame Moira (Rose Byrne).
The same things that worked in past movies work here. For example, both James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender deliver incredible performances. Fassbender especially has some moments that will leave you breathless, which makes his siding with En Sabah Nur make total sense.
Evan Peters as Quicksilver also delivers an incredible performance, including a slow motion scene that tops the scene from Days of Future Past. This new scene took 20+ days to film and only lasts a few minutes in the movie but it’s hilarious and probably the coolest thing about the whole movie. He also has a surprisingly heartfelt storyline that gave his character much more substance than in the last film.
We have a few new characters here that really work, most notably Cyclops. Both him and Jean Grey get great character introductions and a few stellar moments to shine, which is promising for future installments.
Unfortunately, this movie has a lot of problems that we’ve seen before from these movies. This movie has about eight characters that we’ve never met before and just doesn’t have time to establish who they are or why they’re there. On the bad guy’s side, all three of the new characters get very little to do. Angel, Psylocke, and even Storm get minimal origins, no explanation of their powers, and they really don’t contribute anything other than being bodyguards for En Sabah Nur. This is a bummer especially for Storm, who could’ve gotten a really cool origin here but it missed the mark.
While Jean and Cyclops got some decent storylines, the lovable Nightcrawler didn’t have much to do and felt like a third wheel the whole time. If he got some cool action scenes, I could maybe ignore it, but nothing even came close to what we got from X2 back in 2003, so it felt like he just didn’t fit and didn’t contribute. Still, it’s better than how they treated Jubilee, who was marketed as a somewhat main character but instead got two lines and never once uses her powers.
People might say “Civil War had more characters!” but the big difference is that most of those characters had solo movies or previous appearances to establish who they were, where Apocalypse introduced most of these characters. Just didn’t do justice for quite a few of them.
Aside from the characters, I thought the CGI was hit or miss and quite a few environments looked entirely greenscreen in a majorly cringeworthy way. Olivia Munn especially has some bad moments where she’s flipping around that looks painfully bad.
Also the movie is surprisingly slow, with only a few big action scenes and quite a few dull moments in between them. Relatively calm for a movie called Apocalypse.
This movie was fine. Not the worst X-Men movie I’ve seen, but nowhere near the best. They introduced so many characters that I’m surprised non-fans could even keep up with what was happening, and most of these new characters didn’t get anything substantial to do. The old classics got some great moments though, including standout performances by Michael Fassbender and Evan Peters as Quicksilver. It’s a fun time, with a few lulls in the middle, but it falls short of greatness for me.
If you’ve seen the movie, check out my spoiler-filled thoughts in this video!