Cast - 75%
Story - 70%
Music Score - 78%
Effects/Quality - 85%
Originality - 70%
The X-Men return in the 80's with notable comic villain Apocalypse as their adversary. A lot of stories and subplots in this action packed film.
The X-Men film franchise under FOX has enjoyed quite the resurgence of late with successes like X-Men: Days of Future of Past and Deadpool, both of which offered movie goers deeply personal character stories and good action, putting the best foot forward for each film and showing the great deal of love and care for the characters by all involved. With the coming of Apocalypse teased during the end-credits sequence of X-Men: Days of Future Past, excitement was very high…until the first image of Apocalypse was released online during principle photography, however they won many back with the subsequent trailers. With that said, let us discuss if this film keeps the momentum going and is worth watching for die-hard or even casual fans of the X-Men films and the genre in general.
This is an entertaining film most certainly. It starts off quickly with a fast paced prologue and then settles back down for about three quarters of an hour as we get a lot of set-up for the rest of the film. All our favourite mutants are in vastly different places than we have yet seen them before, both physically and emotionally, as things get underway in 1983. Funnily, not many from the last two X-Men films have physically changed much in 21 years since the events of X-Men: First Class, but those are little details we shall forgive the film makers and one probably not many film watchers are thinking about. After being asleep and entombed for millennia, Apocalypse is awakened and seeks to re-establish a world under his rule, together with his four Horsemen. Despite the set-up taking a generous portion of the film, once the story starts kicking unto gear, the action starts coming fast and furiously.
As entertaining as that is, there are too many characters in this movie than are actually needed. Despite the X-Men films being an ensemble affair from the beginning, with a rotating line-up of many fan favourite X-Men as well as evil and antagonistic mutants from film to film, several characters from both camps tend to get short changed in the process. Despite being hyped up early in production, Jubilee is barely in the film and barely has any lines to speak of. Other characters like Psylocke, Storm and Angel (Archangel) are little more than glorified punching bags for the X-Men to contend with en route to Apocalypse. The main characters like Magneto, Professor Xavier, Apocalypse get better treatment and screen time; although some interesting subplots with Mystique, Jean Grey, Scott Summers (Cyclops), Beast, Storm and Quicksilver could have likely benefited from a reduced cast and more time to give added weight to their respective characters and subplots. As an example, a subplot that could have added some layers to the characters Mystique and Nightcrawler is never referenced despite them sharing some scenes early in the film and would been considered by most X-Men fans to be an easy layup. The film almost even takes a detour mid-way through to revisit Colonel William Striker and his Weapon X program. This largely has nothing to do with the rest of the film, detracts from time that could have focused more on Apocalypse and seemingly exists to shoehorn in another fan favourite character into the film and further attempt to connect this film by the end to the original X-Men, despite it being unnecessary due to changes made to the franchise timeline last film. Don’t get me wrong, it is very fun to watch that sequence unfold and made me cheer, but feels of place in this particular movie on a deeper level.
Visually, the effects are great and reportedly look even better in 3D, so if one is able to purchase a 3D Blu-Ray copy of the film, they are in for a treat. The X-Men characters have likewise never been better represented on screen. There has long been a trend to stick them in black jumpsuits and have characters otherwise in standard, more grounded clothing; but Bryan Singer and the crew went all out this time to give characters like Apocalypse, Psylocke, Storm, Magneto, Angel more comic accurate and inspired costumes through much of the film and the X-Men themselves get similar treatment by the end. There is a minor gripe of Mystique spending much of the film in her human guise, likely to give actress Jennifer Lawrence more face time in the film to capitalise on her growing star power without having her face hidden beneath blue make-up; however after a while one gets tired of worrying about that and just lets it go.
Fans of the genre and the X-Men films will no doubt love X-Men Apocalypse for its heavy helping of mutants old and new, fast paced action scenes and heavy stakes as the reboot/prequel X-Men films move closer to the 90’s and closer to where the first X-Men film began. Despite perhaps having too many characters, although some might not consider that a problem, and probably needing either less of them or an increased running time to properly accommodate everything, this is definitely worth checking out and a fun watch. For fans of the X-Men, this is definitely a can’t-miss, plus throughout you will be treated to the great X-Men score of John Ottman.
Director’s Commentary with Bryan Singer Simon Kinberg: An insightful listen as Bryan Singer and Simon Kinberg share their thoughts about the film, cast and various decisions and stories about the film.
Gag Reel: A collection of outtakes from the cast on set. Some entertaining stuff here.
Concept Art Gallery: Concept art of Ancient Egypt, X-Men, Apocalypse and his Horsemen.
Reviewed on: DVD
Available on: DVD, Blu-Ray, Digital
Genre: Superhero, Action, Sci-Fi
Age Rating: PG 13
Estimated RRP: R100+
Release Date: 26 September 2016
- Effects and CG (More impressive in 3D)
- Action scenes
- Too many characters and subplots squeezed into this film
- Not all characters, subplots and character arcs get adequate time