Before I get into anything about this written review, I will starting to do video reviews with my buddies over at RagTag Riot where I do a live stream with them every Saturday on TwitchTV at 1:30 EST so you guys do the math on when it works for where you all live. Recently I was able to do our first review about this very film so check that out when it’s up and I will make sure to post it for you guys on my site, but you need to also check out RagTag Riot for their gaming, movie, and overall nerdy content. Now time for the written review….
Ah yes, the…what number is this in the X-Men franchise? Who cares? The point is, there is a new X-Men film out and returns some notable characters from First Class on that timeline, as well as “new” characters to the forefront to later show up in future films. We see James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender and a lackluster Jennifer Lawrence return their roles of Professor X, Magneto, and Katniss Reallyblue from Days of Future Past and First Class. The timeline is weird, but just keep in mind that we are going off of the 80’s timeline for this film and that the people are named are at the forefront of this large budget superhero film.
Critics have panned the film for suffering from whatever Batman v Superman had and I have to agree, but also play devil’s advocate as I always do. These are two highly contrasting films in style and theme, but they both are in the same clinic for a movie version of an STD and they just can’t seem to shake it. The film is large in scale and even larger with it’s cast. Introducing versions of characters we know and love is not a bad thing, but there is no point to showing them if the overall story suffers and becomes overly inflated with fan service scenes and lackluster development. Sure, the actors I previously mentioned are still exceptional as their respective roles, but their one star just may need to be recast already and that is Jennifer Lawrence. This version of Mystique she plays just a more mopey and less funny version of her character in Silver Lining’s Playbook.
Thankfully, it is not Lawrence that makes or breaks this film. The redeeming talents of the young and old, new and veteran, characters are what make this movie something you aren’t afraid to take relatively seriously. The visuals and action throughout are fun, when we get those scenes, and the fan service is appreciated, but these aren’t elements that make a quality superhero movie nor a good movie in general. I will never claim to have “superhero fatigue” mainly because I’m not so pretentious to ever claim that, but I am starting to realize there is a dullness in the large scale hero movies. Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse is absolutely incredible and submerges himself in blue make-up and loses himself in the role, but his time on screen is entirely too low. Character’s designs and powers come off to be pretty cool, but it’s not what we want from our movies.
One thing Fox can learn from their other property, that property being Deadpool, is to scale back their films with less set-up for other films and let those transitions flow organically in the process. An exception to that role is something we see briefly in the trailers and he has claws, that’s your hint, but beyond that specific scene, we get a lot of underdeveloped characters who deserve better than that. Bryan Singer has made arguably the best of the X-Men films, but I think it may be time to bring in some new blood for the franchise to keep it fresh and kinetic for years to come. Like I said with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, there is a lot to be excited, but that gains a counterbalance of negative weight in the process. All that needs to happen is for the films to do what great films do and that is be complete and compelling stories in the process.
X-Men: Apocalypse is a mere smudge on the list of X-Men films Singer has directed and should not warrant such harsh feedback in my eyes, but it does deserve productive criticism nonetheless. It’s an overstuffed sandwich that you want to enjoy, but don’t know where to take your first bite, but damn you know it would taste good if you just took off the mayonnaise (something I’d compare Lawrence’s performance to) and focus on the meat of the product. I hope that made sense and made you hungry in the process because now I want to watch Days of Future Past and bite into a Primanti Bros. sandwich.
P.s. My score is different from the video after some minor consideration. I wrote this review after doing the video review.