X-men Apocalypse was without a doubt my most anticipated film of the summer. I consider X-men Days of Future Past to be a masterpiece and one of the greatest comic book films to date, so my excitement for another Bryan Singer directed X-film was kind of off the charts. Did Apocalypse live up to my expectations? Did the new cast members ‘work’? Does Oscar Isaac pull off the whole ‘Apocalypse’ character? Read on to find out, fellow cinephiles!
First of all, my favorite thing about the new film was the newest additions to the X-men cinematic universe. Ty Sheridan as Cyclops, who will go onto play the main character in Ready Player One, really brought a new dimension to the character. So did Sophie Turner as Jean Grey. Nightcrawler and Storm were also pretty great.
The film’s action set pieces were really spectacular, and actually were better than those in Days of Future Past. The final battle was a tad long, but I sure got a chill at the climax of the film, which made it worth it.
All the 80’s references were well set. I loved the use of the era’s clothes and music and even its iconography. I wish it had explored the era just a little more, but I’m satisfied with it overall. I think they play the entirety of Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams in one scene and it’s just brilliant.
I was really skeptical of Oscar Isaacs as the title character, Apocalypse, going into this movie. However, he really landed it for me. They changed his origin and from the comics and made it more grounded, which was for the greater good, I assure you.
What Didn’t Work
The script for this film was terribly clunky and had a lot of plot holes. There is a bit of bad dialogue (like REALLY bad dialogue) and unfortunately most of it was delivered by the endlessly talented Jennifer Lawrence. A lot of stuff stank of studio intervention. Why is it that Marvel Studios (this was a Fox production) can keep its films almost universally high quality? Fox has delivered some of the worst, so you’d think they would learn their lessons.
Psylocke is criminally underused in this film. If you’ve seen all the trailers, then you’ve seen almost all of her scenes. It was awful! No character growth, no nothin’. In fact, basically the only thing you know about her is her name and her powers. While she is my favorite X-men character from the comics, it felt like she was thrown in here as an afterthought or that they ran out of time when it came to fleshing out her character in the script. (UPDATE: I was totally right about this. Producer Simon Kinberg admitted as much. You can read about it here, but beware there’s a minor spoiler in the article)
While there was some great fan service in the movie, a lot of it felt a bit forced. Pleasing fans is a delicate balance that should be handled with care.
X-men Apocalypse is a fun movie that mostly ‘works’ with a few glaring flaws. Great new characters, good action scenes, and some really great directing on the part of Bryan Singer ultimately make up for the bad dialogue and plot holes. Singer’s direction and dedication to verisimilitude really helped me have fun with and appreciate the film.