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Review: "X-Men: Apocalypse" Puts Franchise on the Right Track
This was a terrible time of year for "X-Men: Apocalypse" to come out.It's not as bad as "Batman v. Superman." It's not as good as "Captain America: Civil War." It's just a good, mindless popcorn flick, at least on the surface.
This rendition of the adventures of Professor Xavier's gifted youngsters sees the rise of Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), the world's first and most powerful mutant. Apocalypse has awoken from years of slumber and wants to wipe out humanity, so the world can start anew.
I came into this movie expecting it to be terrible, based off of underwhelmed reactions from outlets like RedLetterMedia and MovieBob. The film ain't bad, in fact, it's the best X-Men movie I've seen since "First Class."
The new, younger cast is allowed to mature into their roles in a way that overshadows the cast of X-Men 1,2, and 3. The direction also has a sense of focus that the previous installment, "Days of Future Past," clearly lacked. The action is also done quite well. Sure, you can tell that the film was made with certain limitations in mind; Fox was not able to replicate the excellent choreography of "Civil War," all scenes of death and destruction are filmed in a super-long shots, and the film's overuse of CGI will make it look like a cartoon in ten years time; but it kept me on my toes, and I was interested in the film the whole time.
Apocalypse is an excellent villain. He's a self-proclaimed god, who posses power and wisdom unlike any X-Men villain before him. You're not supposed to understand his motivation, and he never reveals his master plan, but you certainly see the by products of it.
This film has a sense of scale that no X-Men film that has come before it has. We sees cities get ripped apart, people die (albeit through non graphic super long shots), and it all looks pretty damn cool. Tie this in with a slew of likeable characters, a coherent plot, and plenty of awesome moments sprinkled throughout, and you're in for a good time.
That being said, not all the scenes work. This isn't a perfect movie by any means, but it is an enjoyable one. It suffers from some comic book schlock, but that's part of what makes the film so enjoyable. It's a comic book movie, and it knows it.
It doesn't whole fully embrace its genre like "Civil War" did before it, nor is it ashamed of what it is. It tries its best, knowing what it is, knowing the type of stuff that has to be in it (huge set pieces, fantastical powers, a big bad) and tries to tell the best story it can, and I think that's pretty commendable.
I had a better time watching this film than I did with any of the "Thor," "Iron Man," or even some of the recent "Batman" movies. The X-Men cinematic universe might be a convoluted clusterfuck of good and bad things, but there's enough good in it to keep this universe going.