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X-Men: Apocalypse – Movie Review

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X-Men: Apocalypse – Movie Review

Rating: B (Good)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy 20th Century Fox

 

The X-Men film series have had an interesting timeline, going back and forth between the past and future. The successful franchise has even spawned an underground gaming culture that has taken on a life of it’s own such as X-Men slots. After somewhat resetting events in the previous film, director Bryan Singer uses the opportunity to reintroduce the audience to the famed X-Men. Seeing the younger versions of Cyclops, Jean Grey and Storm is rather heartwarming. However, X-Men: Apocalypse is not a cuddly nostalgia trip and pushes the stakes even further. That keeps the events gripping and allows the characters to evolve as their personalities turn into the familiar incarnations first brought to the big screen sixteen years ago. It’s hard not to feel giddy when seeing these mutant heroes unleash their powers.

X-Men: Apocalypse could aptly be titled “Super Powers: The Movie” as the best scenes involve the characters highlighting their incredible abilities. Singer makes sure to highlight almost all of them, though some will clearly be audience favourites over others. Quicksilver was an unexpected scene stealer in Days of Future Past and in this film, he’s given a larger role. Evan Peters is given some of the funniest lines, but adds a complexity when need be upon deciding how best to bring up the subject of his parentage. We get yet another slow-motion sequence involving the character and while one can argue it’s a fiery reprise of his one from the previous X-Men, it remains a highlight.

Where Singer goes darker is with the titular villain and Magneto’s subplot. Magneto has constantly be given a raw deal through his lifetime and the films have done a remarkable job of making him sympathetic. His actions following the personal tragedies in his life are justifiable and his anger makes perfect sense. He is somebody who desperately wants to be happy and live peacefully, but those prejudiced against his kind keep taking it away and Michael Fassbender elevates this franchise with his heartbreaking performance. The pain he feels is equally felt by the viewer. There is one scene in which Magneto finds himself back at the Auschwitz concentration camp that could have come across in poor taste, but Singer and Fassbender are able to make it one of the most important sequences in the film.

Merely from the sheer fact Apocalypse holds almost every power imaginable, he’s already an imposing villain. His plan to destroy the world manages to stand out, due to his old world ideals and hatred of “false gods.” That makes him a formidable threat, which raises the stakes for all of the X-Men. Singer ups the ante by throwing younger rookie mutants into the battle. Jean Grey is given the biggest chance to shine, but Nightcrawler and Cyclops are given stand-out scenes of their own. The one mutant who sadly gets pushed to the side is Jubilee. Despite taking great effort to replicate the character’s comic book appearance, she has few lines and never uses her powers. Meanwhile, Moira MacTaggert makes a return appearance, merely to spout exposition. Those two characters aside, Singer gives enough screen time for almost everyone to show off their powers. Reducing Wolverine’s role to a mere cameo will do that.

X-Men: Apocalypse might run a little long at about two hours and twenty minutes and the final battle does appear to go on for a while, but Bryan Singer keeps the story engaging. After directing four of these films, he has a real understanding of these characters and the frequent dangers they face. His expertise at directing action is evident throughout the entire series and he knows what audiences love about these comic book figures and what they represent. Even with a skewed timeline, they continue to evolve and manage to stand out from the other Marvel heroes over at Disney. They may not be hanging out with the Avengers, but the X-Men are doing well on their own.

 


Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE


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