THE STORY – Worshiped as a god since the dawn of civilization, the immortal Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) becomes the first and most powerful mutant. Awakening after thousands of years, he recruits the disheartened Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and other mutants to create a new world order. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Professor X (James McAvoy) and Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) lead a team of young X-Men to stop their seemingly invincible nemesis from destroying mankind.
THE CAST – James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Olivia Munn & Lucas Till
THE TEAM – Bryan Singer (Director) & Simon Winberg (Writer)
THE RUNNING TIME – 144 Minutes
By Matt N.
“X-Men: Days Of Future Past” did something effective yet crippling for the “X-Men” series. It gave us emotional closure for the older generation of actors in the series such as Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart (It even managed to reset the series’s timeline, thus wiping out the dreadful lasting impact from “X-Men: The Last Stand”). However, the last film in the mutant series also created an alternate timeline which continues in “X-Men: Apocalypse” and serves to only confuse audiences and fails to live up to the expectations of the emotional gravitas of the last film.
Set 10 years after “X-Men: Days Of Future Past” in 1983, the ancient and immortal god named Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) has awoken. Regarded as the world’s first mutant, he is on a mission to cleanse the earth of the weak and is assisted by 4 powerful mutant followers. He recruits the emotionally troubled Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and other various mutants to begin his mission of world domination. Together, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) must once again team up with her old friend Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and lead a new team of young X-Men to stop Apocalypse and his four followers from destroying the Earth.
“X-Men: Apocalypse” sacrifices its heart for spectacle. There is a good reason as to why the name “Apocalypse” was chosen as the title in this ninth entry into the series. Not only does it serve as the nickname for the film’s antagonist (Played menacingly by Oscar Isaac), but it also serves as the backdrop for how devastating and epic the destruction becomes within this universe. “X-Men: Apocalypse” ultimately starts to crumble underneath the weight of its own scope and inconsistent rules such as, “If Apocalypse is so powerful, how and why is he limited in his mutant powers? What can he not do?” While the stakes are meant to be at an all-time high, they have also never felt so low. We have seen these characters go through much more trying times emotionally and spiritually and those moments will always outweigh the overwhelming power of the antagonist. Magneto/Erik Lehnsherr’s storyline is the only emotional highlight of the film. However, even with the 10-year jump in time, his present-day storyline in Poland is extremely far fetched (Unless of course you succumb to the idea that any girl would consider herself lucky enough to marry Michael Fassbender and have a kid with him, despite the fact his character is the most wanted man on earth).
To director Bryan Singer’s credit, the casting, performances and balanced screentime of the film’s cast continues to be this series’s greatest asset. Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy continue to shine the brightest amongst an all-star cast of young actors. Newcomers to the series such as Sophie Turner (Jean Grey/Phoenix), Tye Sheridan (Scott Summers/Cyclops), Alexandra Shipp (Ororo Munroe/Storm) and Kodi Smit-McPhee (Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler) all play their roles perfectly (Despite Turner’s fleeting American accent at times). Evan Peters once again steals the film with another jaw-dropping sequence where he attempts to rescue everyone from an exploding building set to “Sweet Dreams” by Eurythmics. There is even one badass cameo from a longtime series regular which will get the blood pumping in all of the right ways. However, Jennifer Lawrence’s change in character for Raven/Mystique feels like it’s being influenced by Lawrence’s celebrity star power instead of coming from a more organic place. And as menacing as Oscar Isaac can be in his vocal delivery as Apocalypse, when coupled along with his cartoonish look, I can see how it would turn some people off.
It appears that this series has forgotten its roots, which is ironic when you consider that Bryan Singer is the director who started this series with “X-Men” and “X2” and 11 years later gave it new life with “X-Men: Days Of Future Past.” His latest (And maybe last?) entry into this ever-evolving series is the largest in scale and somehow manages to balance its abundance of mutant character’s storylines. However, the high stakes never feel threatening to the characters we have grown to love and instead manages to leave audience members turning their brain off for nearly two and a half hours instead of engaging it in a series which once had homophobia undertones and preached a message of human equality. Such relevant and personal themes are instead traded in for spectacle on a scale we have never seen before, but won’t be in a rush to see again anytime soon.
THE FINAL SCORE
THE GOOD – McAvoy & Fassbender continue to be the MVPs for this series
THE BAD – Sacrifices stakes and heart for spectacle