Sunday, May 22, 2016

X-Men: Apocalypse

Year: 2016
Director: Bryan Singer
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Oscar Isaac, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Rose Byrne, Evan Peters

Plot: It's been ten years since the events of Days Of Future Past. Charles Xavier has reopened his school, Magneto lives a civilian life with his family and Raven still fights for mutant liberation. En Sabah Nur, the world's first mutant, buried alive for thousands of years, awakens and begins recruiting his Four Horsemen to assist him in cleansing the world so that he may rebuild it in his own image. When Charles is captured, Raven and his students team up to stop En Sabah Nur and his horsemen, one of whom is Magneto himself.

Review: Unlike the Marvel cinematic universe, Fox's X-Men universe has had a problem with continuity and quality, one that Bryan Singer had hoped to fix with Days Of Future Past, which reset the timeline, so to speak. So does this new instalment keep the momentum going?

I'll start with what I liked about it. The opening sequence and opening credits were awesome. The introductions of Cyclops, Jean Grey and Nightcrawler were pretty good too, though of the three, Tye Sheridan's performance is the weakest. Sophie Turner and Kodi Smit-McPhee fare slightly better as Jean and Nightcrawler respectively. The final battle sequence where all the mutants fight one another is rather exciting. My favorite scene though is the inclusion of a certain clawed mutant that has become synonymous with the X-Men films. In fact, you'll notice that Singer has borrowed a number of things from the previous films to utilize here, like the inclusion of Moira MacTaggert, Alkali Lake, scenes from First Class and even a brief sighting of the Phoenix. Some work, some not so much. And lastly, the appearance of Quicksilver this time was slightly better than in DOFP, as it feels less shoehorned.

Now for what I don't like. En Sabah Nur aka Apocalypse is pretty much the worst head villain in the series so far. I wouldn't blame Oscar Isaac on that, he did his best. But Singer and writer Simon Kinberg gave him lousy lines to work with, and constantly change his voice throughout the film (Singer has explained his reason for the voice thing but I'm not buying it). Then there's the Four Horsemen. Other than Magneto, the other three are given zero character development and next to nothing to work with. Other than enhancing their powers, what possible reason would Storm, Psylocke and Angel have to work with a guy they hardly know? To make things worse, Alexandra Shipp, Olivia Munn and Ben Hardy all give poor performances, Munn being the worst. Speaking of poor performances, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence look like they're phoning it in half the time, especially Lawrence. 

If you're looking for great action sequences here, you'll have to wait till the second half before things start to kick into high gear. The final 30 minutes is undoubtedly cool and more or less makes up for its shortcomings.

As a movie fan, I was quite entertained by X-Men: Apocalypse, and because of that I'd still give it a solid rating. But the fanboy in me is getting weary of these retro X-Men films. Please just reboot the whole thing, guys. 

P.S.: Stay for the end credits scene. (7/10)   

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