X-Men: Apocalypse Review
As most of you reading this already know, X-Men: Apocalypse is the latest installment of the continuing X-Men film series. Once again, it is directed by Bryan Singer—this being his fourth X-Men movie as director and fifth as producer. Like previous movies in the series, this film also possesses an ensemble cast (many of them returning from previous films). This includes James McAvoy as Professor Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, Nicholas Hoult as Beast, Rose Byrne as Dr. Moira McTaggart and Evan Peters as Quicksilver—with Lucas Till, Josh Helman and Hugh Jackman returning as Havoc, William Stryker and Wolverine (though in smaller roles). In addition, they are joined by Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse, Tye Sheridan as Cyclops, Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler and Alexandra Pierce as Storm.
Anyway the movie began in ancient Egypt with Apocalypse transferring his conscience into that of one of his followers (known as Horsemen in the movie), as the other three try and protect him from Egyptians which no longer believe he’s the God he claims to be. This battle ultimately leaves Apocalypse buried alive as each of his Horsemen get killed in the commotion. After this, the film picks up in the mid-eighties with the Xavier mansion as a private school and Magneto hiding out in Poland under a false identity. Meanwhile, Moira McTaggart is in modern-day Cairo when she stumbles on a ceremony to awaken Apocalypse from his slumber. Afterwards, Apocalypse sets out on a quest to recruit his new horsemen (consisting of Storm, Psylocke, Angel and a grief-stricken Magneto). In addition, he discovers the existence of other mutants when Xavier is trying to use Cerebro. As a result, the Xavier becomes the final piece in helping the immortal mutant in conquering the world. The resulting conflict results in the destruction of the Xavier mansion and the death of Havoc. Shortly thereafter, William Stryker captures Quicksilver, McTaggart, Mystique and Beast. Cyclops, Jean Grey and Nightcrawler stow away on the helicopter, and rescue the other four (also setting Wolverine free). This ultimately leads to a final battle the horsemen.
Overall this movie is an enjoyable, but I can’t help but feel it would be considered a better one if it came out a decade ago. In other words, this is a good action movie that should be discussed in the same breath as the first movie of the series. Basically, it has it’s flaws that keeps the movie from really transcending the genre. First, the cast is incredibly overloaded which means some of the characters don’t get nearly enough time to develop. Unfortunately, one of those characters is Apocalypse. Truthfully, there character was never going to be an easy one to do and this movie proves why; the character is incredibly one dimensional, more of a caricature than a character. Besides this poor characterization, the movie also displays easily the worst performance I’ve seen from Jennifer Lawrence (i.e. the only bad one). So yes, this movie belongs early in the X-Men film series. It doesn’t help that the last two were so good.