First there was “Batman vs. Superman,” then we had “Captain America: Civil War,” now were up against our third 2 and a half hour superhero mega blockbuster to smash its way into theaters in the past couple months. “X-men: Apocalypse” is the epic conclusion to the prequel X-men series that breathed new life into the original X-men films, not to mention altering it’s timeline to allow for multiple new rules and sequels to be forged. Everything literally comes crashing down in the (supposedly) final entry of these young mutants, time to see if their grand finale truly is grand enough to convince Fassbender, Lawrence and McAvoy to suit up in future films.
A god like being designated as the world’s first mutant; Apocalypse (Oscar Isaacs), awakens to this strange new world where mutants and humans (somewhat) co-exist after resting for thousands of years. With his immortality and endless amount of power, he seeks this world’s destruction through a broken Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and 3 others to serve as his horsemen for judgement day. Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) inspire their mutant students to fight for the world that fears them as X-men and stop Apocalypse before he wipes out the world and everyone in it; until only the strongest survive. When it comes to word association, people have an infinite number of responses they think of when they hear a certain word, in this film’s case; the word that comes to mind is epic. This is the definition of epic; none of the other X-men movies action sequences have amassed this level of worldwide destruction.
There’s a lot of power being thrown around in this film: in the CGI sequences, in the acting, the make-up/effects, the fight scenes and emotional content as well. For instance, Fassbender, as always, plays Magneto flawlessly and actually delivers some of the most emotional moments in the entire film; particularly one scene involving a tragic loss in his life. This is a cast that has worked well in both previous films, successfully adding new characters and expanding on old ones with each new entry. Fan favorite Quicksilver gets more screen time and room for quick witty one liners, characters previous seen in the original film series (like Nightcrawler and Cyclops) get much more material and screen time to work with, but it’s Oscar Isaacs as the titular villain that literally and figuratively blows you away with his performance.
Isaacs brings a level of silent eeriness to the role, sounding god like and coming off as monstrously inhuman. His combination of effects, voice alterations and facial intensity provides something new and interesting to notice about him in every scene. One problem X-men films continually suffer from is being unable to provide enough screen time for the ever growing roster of comic book characters coming to the big screen to fans satisfaction. This film is no exception. Though Storm and Angel are classic X-men characters, their introduction here feels rushed, underdeveloped and wrapped up far too quickly to make their stay really noteworthy. New players for familiar roles Jean Grey and Cyclops work with what they have but don’t have the time to offer anything truly different to the roles made famous by James Marsden and Famke Janssen.
Impressive as they are, if the global destruction sequences were cut down a bit, they’re might actually be some time in this 2 and a half hour film to actually develop these characters into something more other than cool familiar faces fans will love see being on screen for about 10 minutes of straight up fighting. While epic level disasters and god like big bads are usually highlights for me in any comic book/sci-fi movie, I do have to admit that the magnitude of the destruction presented “Apocalypse” is going to be hard to top if there are any future young X-men sequels. Once you get people lifting half the planet and its structures into the sky with their minds and hands, it gets harder to keep things intense. Overall, I feel “X-men Apocalypse” is a staggeringly large amount of epic global destruction that does not fail in blasting this franchise off with a monumental mutant finale. I just felt maybe if we had less CGI “Independence Day” style destruction scenes and more screen time for this cluttered cast of comic book characters, it might have been as good as “Days of Future Past”…might have been.
Oh and if you see the movie, make sure you stay til after the credits for a teaser scene!