X-Men: Apocalypse is the most X-MEN comic book movie event yet and it covers a lot of ground for better or worse.
As a followup to X-Men: Days of Future Past tt of course brings back all of the key First Class players and adds a ton of newcomers and does a great job in doing so, staying faithful to characters, designs, details, and locations from the comics and previous films.
The new young team, bolstered by the return of Quicksilver in a bigger part, is awesome and bolds well for the future of the series. Nightcrawler and Storm have their appropriate accents, keeping in line with Colossus 2.0 also getting his proper accent in Deadpool. Bryan Singer and the studio are finally embracing the diversity and international flavor of the mutants that they shat on in most of the earlier movies (Looking at you Banshee, Colossus, Gambit, Pyro, etc.).
The marketing for X-Men: Apocalypse was notoriously bad and does a major disservice to the franchise’s biggest project yet because it’s simply way better than that. If you’re a fan of the series you’ll enjoy it, and if you’re a longtime reader, there’s a lot more to enjoy too – a lot of EPIC things I was surprised to a see all in one movie. Not everything was spoiled in the trailers…
What X-Men has always done best is ground itself in reality with its harsh look at the awfulness of historical world events (racism, sexism, Cuban Missile Crisis, WWII Nazism, etc.) and uses that with personal connections to help rationalize the motivations of its antagonists. That’s why Magneto and Stryker are better developed and better utilized villains than anything the other rival franchises have.
And the titular villain this time around, Apocalypse, has a bit of that too – especially when he gets started. Ultimately though, he’s not as epic he should be given his stature in the source material. The concerns over Oscar Isaac being wasted were warranted. He’s just sort of the big bad guy who can do anything but not all the time… and when he converts/recruits his horsemen those key characters become blank, personality-less slates, and not for too long.
That main story, which should be grand in scale, is partly forgettable due to being overshadowed by the tangential plots which can make for their own spinoff movies, but much of it is familiar. Perhaps the rushed nature of it all and nods to the past were all intentional to ensure the series rewrites history in a way that Singer and producer/writer Simon Kinberg wanted it to for the future of the brand and for the fans. They’re clearly trying to rush through a lot to make up for several of the previous films and to again re-establish the norm for the next movie which we’ve always known would be set in the ‘90s. That’s undoubtedly the one that will shoot next summer in Montreal for a summer 2018 release and New Mutants could come before it.
For the most part, every time you’d ask why a character does or doesn’t do something, the filmmakers do a commendable job in playing it properly though there are a few things left unanswered by the end (like the alien tech powering En Sabah Nur). With so many characters, most of them have a role to play, even if some are stuck on the sidelines and are underutilized (Angel, Psylocke).
X-Men: Apocalypse definitely delivers as a theater-worthy blockbuster even if it’s seemingly mostly setup and rewriting of familiar territory. Bring on the next one!