As badly as I think Fox has handled pretty much every comic book property they’ve had, I genuinely liked the first two X-Men movies they made. I think Bryan Singer did a really good job on the first and a passable job on the second, but from there they went straight into the toilet.
Now we have X-Men: Apocalypse. Does it follow the horrible slide into utter crap that the X-Men movies have made thus far, or does it reverse course and actually make a comeback? I guess you’re going to have to read on to find out.En Sabah Nur, the supposed first mutant, has the ability to transfer his essence between bodies and thus live forever. He is worshiped as a god in ancient Egypt, but he is betrayed and entombed for thousands of years. Re-awakened in 1983, he sets out to remake the world in his own image, recruiting four new Horsemen of the Apocalypse and taking on the world. The only people who stand in his way are Charles Xavier’s fledgling mutant team who will come to be known as the X-Men.
Okay, first off, I never really liked Apocalypse as a character in the comics. I find characters that powerful to be utterly boring because the reader cannot directly relate to them and anyone fighting against them is also typically unrelatable. I hate cosmic-level and near cosmic-level characters, almost without exception. That doesn’t mean that they couldn’t have had a decent story of the X-Men battling a near-god, but that’s not really what we got.
What we got was a lot of retread material, things we’ve seen before, such as the Hugh Jackman Wolverine cameo. Didn’t we see that all in Wolverine: Origins? Why did we need to see it again? I don’t want to see the same stuff again, I want to see something new and I don’t think we’re getting that. The opening looked like it came right out of Stargate. Why is Bryan Singer ripping off Roland Emmerich?
What we did get was an over-packed cast who collectively didn’t get enough individual screen time. Quicksilver, who most people really loved in Future Past, had the lion’s share but I don’t think most of his scenes really added much to the plot, they just filled time with CGI overload. Honestly, I don’t find his movie personality to be all that interesting, in fact, I find it close to annoying, especially given the amount of time we had to deal with him.
And frankly, and I don’t say this to be mean or anything, but they got a lot of pretty ugly actors and actresses to play a lot of the young X-Men in this movie. I know they were hired for their acting ability, but these are just not attractive people for the most part. Bryan Singer did the first two films and generally, he had some really good looking and skilled actors playing the characters, yet since they went back and soft-rebooted the franchise with First Class, the new breed of X-actor has generally, sorry to say, not been easy on the eyes. I’m not trying to be hyper-critical, I’m just noting an observation I’ve made.
There were some good bits, the scenes with Jean Gray’s near-Phoenix abilities manifesting were certainly a lot closer to the comics than that crap they did in a previous X-Men movie. I hope they can keep that in a future movie because geez, it was painfully awful the last time they tried to do Phoenix. But as I said before, haven’t we seen this before? It felt like a repeat, even if it was something that was done better, although I can’t imagine doing much worse than X-3.
The ending was lackluster at best. Destruction on a massive scale, all done entirely without blood to protect their precious PG-13 rating. And I called their singular use of the word “fuck” as their way to get that rating too. It wasn’t necessary, it was forced into place for the sake of money. I don’t know why these movies don’t just put a character yelling “FUCK!” in the opening credits and get it out of the way, it isn’t done for impact, let’s not pretend that it is.
All in all, there was nothing all that good here. Bryan Singer has better movies in him and this just wasn’t it. It was an average summer blockbuster at best and even though he tried to be more true to the comics than some of the other X-movies, just putting comic-accurate costumes on screen, it takes more than that to make a good film. They really need to get out of the past, come back to the present, and make a good movie that succeeds without pretending to be something that it isn’t. That or they need to give the X-property back to Marvel. At least Marvel knows how to make good comic book movies.