Solid Fan-Service, Less Exciting Sequel
Snoogans - wrote on 06/14/16
'X-Men: Apocalypse' is the disappointing followup to the immaculate 'Days of Future Past'. Being a lifelong X-Men fan, I tried to set modest expectations after the towering success of the previous film in the series. This sequel continues in the new timeline set forth from the events of 'DOFP', seeing the younger versions of our older characters first meet the younger iterations of our able heroes from the other films. The biggest positive right off the bat is the new youthful cast of actors. All of their representations of the characters were on-point. Much time in the first half is spent on their introduction. The drawback to this being that we only see them in action for the final showdown. A big chunk of the first half is also used to setup the new villain, Apocalypse. He has a vast array of deathly powers that pretty much makes him unstoppable on his own from the very beginning. On top of that, he recruits four of the strongest mutants presented in the film to aid him. It's a tall order that sees an impending doom of mass destruction on the horizon. Watching this world ending power-team flaunt their stuff is something I've been waiting for years to see on the big-screen, and it all looks cool. However, the scope of the events is never felt. World annihilation seems like the biggest imaginable threat, but the stakes aren't too high in the end. This is due to the fact that so much of the first two thirds is all basically setup with little advancement in terms of plot. Both sides are gathering together their teams to eventually have a big brawl. That's essentially what the whole movie boils down to. The fighting is cool, the special effects are well done (for the most part), and the new cast members get some time to shine - with the exception of a severely sidelined Storm and Archangel, and an almost forgotten about Psylocke. Those three got the worst hand dealt, in terms of screen time and lines. Also missing is the emotional depth of the X-Men series. We get a great series of scenes establishing Magneto's reasoning for siding with Apocalypse that harken back to his past in 'First Class', bringing his character to a nice three-movie arc. There's also some good moments between Xavier and Gene Gray, and one nice scene with her and Wolverine. Other than that, there is no emotional pull to the actual events at hand. In previous films, the struggle of mutant's part in society was always the center point of the fighting. Everyone had a vested side on the issues at hand. Here the only issue is to stop this big bad guy from destroying everything. It leaves more desired for thematic investment when compared to the previous films. Many plot beats and character moments are also recycled from those past outings. This is done to re-establish the new timeline, but only makes things more confusing when it's unclear which future events have been erased and which haven't. Despite my lack of enjoyment and involvement when compared to other sequels, I was still entertained through the whole running time. The accuracy to the comics was appreciated, as was the amount of spectacle and humor. Quicksilver once again steals the show and gets more screen time in the process. I loved the new youthful cast. Here's hoping future installments put them to continued good use.