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X-Men Apocalypse movie review

Grade: C

xmen_apocalypse_ver18Here’s the thing — I am a fan of all things X-Men. I collected X-Men comics, watched X-Men cartoons and love the X-Men movie series. Well, mostly love. I wasn’t a big fan of the third X-Men movie X-Men: The Last Stand but otherwise I think for the most part those films are my favorite of all the comic books to movie series with X-Men: Days of Future Past being my favorite of the bunch.

That’s why it sucks for me so much to report that the latest X-Men movie X-Men: Apocalypse is a real stinker.

X-Men: Apocalypse takes place in 1983, 10 years after the previous X-Men: Days of Future Past which itself took place 10 years after the first X-Men: First Class. Which is the first problem with the movie — the characters have been around for 20 years of movie-time at this point yet they simply haven’t aged. Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Xavier (James McAvoy) should be in their 50s with Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Beast (Nicholas Hoult ) in their 40s with the passage of time, yet they all look as young and vibrant as ever.

Which admittedly is a minor quibble that’s easily overlooked except the movie’s chock full of stuff like that.

Most of the story deals with an ancient godlike En Sabah Nur/Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac). Apocalypse is accidentally awakened in Egypt where he’s been slumbering for 5,000 years and promptly goes about recruiting a new team of his four horsemen of the apocalypse which he finds in the mutants of the 1980s. These acolytes include Magneto, Angel (Ben Hardy), Storm (Alexandra Shipp) and Psylocke (Olivia Munn). Apocalypse’s plan is to enhance these four mutants powers so they can go around and destroy the world so that the weak (or most everyone on the planet) dies leaving only the strong behind.


And why do these four mutants go along with Apocalypse and his planetary genocidal scheme? Well, that’s never really explained or explored. One minute these mutants wouldn’t harm a fly and the next they’re ready to murder mankind on a global scale which really makes no sense. So you give me something and say you’re the boss, and I’m ready to become a mass murdered because you say so no questions asked?

And lots of regular people die in this movie. Magneto kills a handful up-close and while using his powers to destroy cities ala Metropolis in Man of Steel thousands, if not millions more. And what price does he pay at the end of his movie for harming so many? Nothing whatsoever. This man who survived the death camps at Auschwitz and spent the first movie of the series hunting down the man who killed his mother becomes a mass murderer that would place him in the top tier of killers of all time. Worst of all at the end of X-Men: Days of Future Past he’s a smiling, unburdened and free from being in jail of all the mass-destruction he’s caused.

Seriously, at the end of the movie many major cities have massive Magneto caused damages, yet at the end of the film everthing’s supposed to be hunky-dory.

X-Men the Age of Apocalypse posterAgainst Apocalypse and his minions are Xavier and a hodgepodge team of mutant students including shapeshifting Mystique, strong Beast, telekinetic Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), able to shoot blasts of energy from his eyes Scott Summers (Tye Sheridan), lightning-fast Quicksilver (Evan Peters), able to transport himself short distances Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and stands around looking concerned Moira Mactaggert (Rose Byrne). But these aren’t the X-Men per-se, they’re mostly students and other helpers from previous films thrown together in order to try and stop Apocalypse when Xavier is incapacitated.

Which is another problem with the movie — these characters have no training whatsoever in using their powers or working tighter as a team, yet here they fight like seasoned veterans of 1,000 wars. They aren’t so much the X-Men, but instead they’re who the X-Men will be at the end of the film when the movie studio is teasing the next one in the final scene.

Of course these good-guys, Apocalypse and his horsemen meet and do battle, this time in a ruined Cairo Apocalypse leveled when making a grand pyramid to himself. Which is another problem — for a character who’s strong enough to level a city from sheer willpower lane he doesn’t seem like he’d need the help of anyone else to ruin/rule the world.

And now that I think about it, this is the third X-Men movie of the current franchise yet there’s never really been a legitimate X-Men team. Okay, there were the future X-Men in Days of Future Past but otherwise in these prequel movies the main characters have always been young students thrown together in some fight to save the planet from some level of devastation. Yet in the decades of movie time between films Xavier never took the initiative to actually build an X-Men team, EVEN THOUGH THE MOVIE’S HAVE ALWAYS HAD X-MEN IN THE TITLE!

If there are two rays of light in X-Men: Days of Future Past it’s of the character of Nightcrawler who’s actually used quite well in this movie — his powers allow him to go places others can’t — and that of Quicksilver who was used to good effect in the previous movie too. Otherwise, the movie was mostly cloudy.

I dunno. I was really looking forward to X-Men: Apocalypse for a long while and have really enjoyed watching this current version of the cast inhabit their roles the last few films. But this movie was such an utter disappointment on so many levels I don’t know if with the next one — and there will be a next movie, X-Men: Apocalypse earned more than $500 million at the box office — I’d be so quick to see it.

That next X-Men movie might be one I wait to turn up on cable some Saturday night.