X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

Genre: Superhero Running Time: 2 hrs. 23 min.

Release Date: May 27th, 2016 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Bryan Singer Actors: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Oscar Isaac, Rose Byrne, Evan Peters, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alexandra Shipp, Olivia Munn, Lana Condor

 


 

W

hen Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), the world’s oldest and most powerful mutant, awakens after centuries of forced slumber, he determines to reclaim his former throne as ruler of all mankind. And his first goal is to seek out other highly-skilled mutants to assist him. Recruiting the ambitious Psylocke (Olivia Munn), the dejected Angel (Ben Hardy), the disillusioned Storm (Alexandra Shipp), and the vengeful Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Apocalypse concocts an annihilative plan to reshape humanity to his liking. But Professor X (James McAvoy), his colleague Beast (Nicholas Hoult), and pupil Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters soon discover this new threat, and with the aid of former student Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and newcomers Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), Quicksilver (Evan Peters), and Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), confront Apocalypse and his followers in a cataclysmic battle for the very fate of Earth.

The special effects are fast, frequent, and generally overwhelming; they look stunning, for the most part, but their sheen wears off when 99% of the imagery is computer generated. It’s difficult to be impressed by any one element when so much of the production utilizes a sustained visual onslaught of laser bolts and electrical sparks and the slow-motion vaporization of structures. And with the whopping running time, it quickly becomes apparent that most of these eye-catching, fancy flourishes do little more than distract from the fact that the story is unnecessarily complex, riddled with loopholes, just plain repetitive, or, at its worst, unusually silly.

Although the world is about the same regardless of the various time lines or time periods (director Bryan Singer is doing his own superhero time travel work by coming back to the franchise to save what he clearly feels was nearly destroyed by Brett Ratner’s takeover for “X-Men: The Last Stand”), mutants still roam the earth in abundance and out in the open, and still regard their superpowers as curses. That is, except for the evil ones, who embrace their ability to break the law and get away with it, which would, realistically, be far more than the odd rebellious abuser. Of course, with the younger cast, some of the teen angst finds its way into the fray, but typically only as comic relief. Most of the plot actually strays away from the previous films’ interests in embracing one’s differences, fear of the unknown or xenophobia, and political or authoritarian interferences, aiming instead for epic showdowns and catastrophic skirmishes, where super powers can be constantly pitted against one another in a perpetual one-upping. Fortunately, just when it seems likely that the primary antagonist has the greatest mutation, someone else randomly demonstrates a knack for quashing chaos.

This new storyline is essentially unguessable (and, perhaps, unmanageable), since the effects of “X-Men: Days of Future Past” included time travel and setting back the clock to an era before all the previous happenings. Although it creates a grand opportunity for the reinvention of characters and ideas, it comes dangerously close to simply repeating everything that came before it, just with younger actors and actresses and a few twists on mutant capabilities. The villain might be new – but not fresh, since he’s curiously designed to look almost exactly like the Djinn from “Wishmaster,” of which there were four features up through 2002 – yet the predicaments are disappointingly familiar. Some of the fight sequences are fun (though many border on what probably should have been R-rated material), but when the players and the outcomes are the same, the entertainment value is fleeting at best. Plus, when the greatest scene in the movie is the Quicksilver save, wherein he humorously moves about repositioning and rescuing people as time stands still – and it’s practically identical to the sequence from the prior picture – it’s evident that this newest X-Men adventure lacks the zest needed to justify its own existence.

– The Massie Twins

  • 4/10


The X-Men Franchise


X-Men (2000)

X2: X-Men United (2003)

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

X-Men: First Class (2011)

The Wolverine (2013)

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Deadpool (2016)

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

Logan (2017)

Deadpool 2 (2018)

Dark Phoenix (2019)