Before I begin, there will be spoilers in this article, so there is your warning. SPOILERS AHEAD!
Yesterday I took my son to see X-Men: Apocalypse for his birthday (well the tail end of his birthday, had a big party at my house on Saturday to which I’m still recovering from) and both of us were pretty excited to see it. We’re both X-Men fans and the last two movies (3 if you count the Wolverine) have been really good so we expected this one to be as well.
Well, as you’ll see from our Clash at the Nerds: Movie Night on our YouTube channel I thought the movie was just okay. It wasn’t a bad movie, it had some cool parts to it, but it was probably 30 minutes too long which amazes me because stuff was cut, including more scenes with Jubilee, which after seeing the movie I have to wonder why she’s even in it, her screen time isn’t more than what she had in X-2, in fact I think she had more lines in X-2, but with her scenes cut and seeing what was in the final movie, they could have cut more to get the fun time under 2 hours. There were a lot of dead moments in that movie that just dragged on for me.
First up on my list of what’s wrong with this movie is Jennifer Lawrence’s acting. She seemed so disinterested in this movie and she was just going through the motions. Also seeing Mystique being the leader of the X-Men just seems wrong, not to mention with First Class and Days of Future Past I feel we got the entire Mystique arc and different X-Men could take center stage, like I don’t know, founding members Cyclopes and Jean. Seriously, I could have done without Mystique in this movie, Jennifer Lawrence didn’t look like she wanted to be here and somehow I don’t think her “starpower” is going to convince people to see a comic book movie.
Secondly, Apocalypse (along with 3 of his horsemen) was just a throw away villain. Apocalypse started out pretty interesting but quickly devolved into just another bad guy set on “purifying the world”. As much shit as Ultron got last year he was more interesting than Apocalypse, which is a damn shame because Apocalypse could have easily been Fox’s version of Thanos and Darkside, but he was wasted in this movie. Also wasted was Angel. As one of the founding X-Men in the comics and a really deep and conflicted character he once again gets the brush off in a “third” X-Film. Also one of this big problems with Angel in this film is that he is a very key character in the comic’s first Apocalypse story, but we get none of that in the movie. Also, in the comics Angel and Psylock have a romantic relationship and when Apocalypse goes to recruit Angel there appears to be a history between Psylock and Angel but that is never expanded on and I feel that was a bit of a wasted opportunity. Even though Storm really could have been interchanged with any mutant following Apocalypse, but unlike Angel and Psylock we at least get a look at her backstory.
Lastly, because of the focus on Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique we don’t get enough of the new/old X-Men like Jean, Cyclopes, and Nightcrawler (though with what little we get of Nightcrawler Kodi Smit-McPhee does a lot of what is given to him). Jean and Cyclopes (like Storm) serve a purpose but for most of the movie are interchangeable. There is no hint at Cyc being a future leader of the X-Men (which is a huge missed opportunity) and the only thing that makes
Sansa Stark Jean Grey special in this movie is her vision at the beginning and the fact that she unleashed the Phoenix Force on Apocalypse (funny how he could sense all mutants through Xavier at one point in the film but couldn’t sense that in Jean). Also, Havok’s death I felt was wasted and pretty dumb. Not only does he kill himself, but he destroys the mansion. They want to play it up almost like a sacrifice but it wasn’t, it was completely and utterly stupid and pointless and would have been maybe better served in the movie’s climax (which in and of itself was boring).
There were things I like about this movie though. The Weapon-X (Wolverine) cameo was pretty great but didn’t make much sense since at the end of the last film Mystique took Wolverine, not Stryker. Also Quicksilver has a great scene again, he really steals the scene when he’s on screen, Evan Peters has great comedic timing and is wonderful in the movie. Magneto’s family, this might be the deepest part of the movie seeing Magneto with a loving family, something he lost as a youngster and never sought after in a life spent on vengeance. Finally, after Mystique had spared him he created a new life for himself in Poland and found a woman he fell in love with as well fathered a daughter (who isn’t Scarlet Witch). Their deaths are tragic and send him back down on his dark path which Apocalypse exploits. The first 45 minutes or so of this movie is pretty good, it’s unique and well written, and that’s how far they got, they didn’t have a good ending yet but had a deadline and were like shit, throw something together. Like Havok’s death could have been better served at the end of the movie and fueled Cyclopes along to lead the team to victory.
One really cool easter egg was the kids coming out of Return of the Jedi and debating the best of the three, and them agreeing that the third film in a series is also the worst (though debatable about Jedi) it seems to be a jab at x-3 as well as for this film because it being the third of this new timeline it is easily the worst when compared to First Class and DoFP. Also I have to wonder with Jedi no longer being under the Fox umbrella with Disney buying Lucas Films could this be a pot shot by Fox over that, not to mention their constant disputes with Disney/Marvel over the X-Men and Fantastic 4 rights?
Lastly seeing Jean use the Phoenix Force was awesome. They were hinting at it through out the film and their were several times in the film I was expecting her eyes to flame up but it didn’t happen. I honestly thought the movie was going to end without it. One of the few characters in the Marvel universe who could kill Apocalypse is the Phoenix. The only problem here is Apocalypse never got his due as such a big baddie so the Phoenix Force felt like overkill here.
Much like X-Men Origins: Wolverine there was a lot in this film that if done differently could have made for a really good movie, but it’s just another movie in this long series that needs some new blood in it. I think Bryan Singer has taken this as far as he can and we could use a different film makers take on the film. I think one thing I would like to happen is if they brought back David Hayter (Solid Snake) to write the movie. He wrote the first two X-Films and I still stand by X-2 being the best of the series. Directing wise I’d like to see J.J. Abrams take the helm. Much like he did with Star Trek and Star Wars I think he could give this series some new life, plus colorful non-leather outfits.
So dear reader, what did you think of the movie? Who would you want to see take over the franchise if Bryan Singer leaves? Favorite, least favorite parts? Let us know in the comments below.