X-Men: Apocalypse is an absolutely abysmal film. It disrespects everything the franchise has attempted to do, disregards previous films and story points, and ‘graces’ us with a script so laughable, you get frustrated that someone was paid millions of dollars to actually write the damn thing. I had heard bad things about it before going into the the theater and I truly tried going in with an open mind. But at about the 45-minute mark, the film shits itself and goes from average blockbuster to asinine stupidity. I honestly don’t think I have ever laughed out loud at a movie’s dialogue (for the wrong reasons) as much as I did in the movie’s second half and I’d like to say my fellow movie-goers agreed with my sentiment as I heard plenty of resigned sighs and chuckles all around me.
While there are plenty of problems with the film (which I will address shortly), the biggest problem is that it is incredibly lazy. The film doesn’t even try. Nearly everything is phoned in and the glimmers of good are given pretty much no screen time to really shine. It’s actually quite impressive as to how awful the final product truly is and it was one of the few times I sat in the theater as the credits rolled, angry at every single name that popped up on the screen, wondering why none of them stepped up and said “STOP MAKING THIS FUCKING MOVIE!”. From the best boys to grips, from the SFX animators to the caterers, I blame all of you.
Okay, so let’s break down the shit. I should preface this by saying there will be plenty of spoilers below.
Apocalypse doesn’t give a shit about its predecessors. It does so by blatantly ignoring many facts about the previous films, from character motives, accents, and even age. It’s really sad that someone like Bryan Singer, who has been involved with the franchise from the very beginning, seemingly went out of his way to ignore everything he’s worked on building.
To save time, I will simply list all sorts of middle fingers flown at all of the previous films.
- Storm is now Egyptian with a piss-poor quasi-African accent. This same Storm grows up to become Halle Berry (who never had an accent). Storm was also briefly featured in First Class when Professor X searched for mutants world-wide and she had absolutely no signs of looking like she does now or living where she did.
- No one ages. First Class takes place in 1962, Days of Future Past takes place in 1973, and Apocalypse takes place in 1983. Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult are far from 40, Evan Peters hasn’t aged a day, and James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are from the 40+ whatever they’re supposed to be. Sure, mutant genes give you all sorts of powers, but not aging a damn day is certainly not one of them. I can’t wait to see how forever young the cast looks when the next film jumps to the 90s.
- Magneto is good/bad/good/bad/good. We’ll never know. But at the end of the day, he’s still far from anything as sinister as Ian McKelland’s version. He’s stronger but less scary?
- Mystique, as Stryker, saves Wolverine at the end of Days of Future Past, yet he’s locked up by the same Stryker in Apocalypse?
Questions raised for future films:
- Magneto can pull metal out of the earth’s crust and core? He can pull shit from Australia while he’s in Egypt? If he’s this powerful, should there be any struggles for the anti-hero moving forward? I don’t see any reason why he’d have any trouble with… ANYTHING (but plastic)
- Psylocke literally just walks away from the final battle after world-wide destruction and no other hero bats an eye? Will she return to speak four lines instead of three!? Find out next next summer.
- Jean Grey goes full Phoenix this young in her life and ‘career’ as an X-Men member? What build up is left?
- Are James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender only two decades away from being Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen?
Now to list things that completely insult the intelligence of the audience.
- Bad guy wants to destroy the world? Okay, here’s a bunch of shit we haven’t seen before blowing up and crumbling like a lawn chair. You should be so scared.
- Mystique is Jennifer Lawrence and Beast is Nicholas Hoult. I bet you didn’t know that, so let’s make sure that they are rarely in their “true blue forms” so you constantly are aware of their presence in the movie. Because god knows, Fox needs someone like Lawrence to keep filling the seats.
- Let’s re-use all of the exact same mutants we have before (just more angst-filled teenage versions), because we clearly do not have the mental capacity to learn and care about new ones.
- Mandatory Auschwitz scene to remind us for the millionth time that Magneto is a Jew and his parents died in the camp
- Just so you guys know this is an X-Men movie, let’s throw in an unnecessary Wolverine cameo to remind you (the film is already way too long for its own good).
- Why can’t Quicksilver just take care of everything? He could have done the same fix-it-all-in-an-instant-to-an-adequately-set-song-from-the-particular-time-period-the-film-takes-place.
- To add on to Quicksilver, how does he break his leg? Anyone that fast would heal fast as well, right?
- Lines like “Oh my god. He’s going to destroy the whole god damn planet”, said by a stereotypical, no-name Army dude is lazy writing and unneeded. It’s pretty clear Apocalypse is wanting to destroy the god damn planet because we’re given scene after scene of him… destroying the god damn planet.
- At what point is shitty CGI forgiven and accepted? Apocalypse features several scenes with atrocious CGI and use of green screen, making the muppets on screen look even less real and more boring. The worst case of bad CGI is the mountain top sequence in Egypt as Apocalypse, Horsemen, and Professor X talk about the plan to destroy the planet. I don’t even think the filmmakers took the time to add a god damn breeze.
And finally, things that completely insult the rather talented cast.
- Michael Fassbender as Magneto is demoted to a secondary character who plays lap dog to a lackluster villain. He only is given a handful of scenes and does wonders with the material, but as arguably the best actor among the cast, he should have been given plenty of more to work with. To praise Fassy, real quick, I have to mention how incredibly emotional and raw his performance is during the scene featuring the death of his daughter and wife. Good lord, he’s good.
- What’s the point of casting Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse? He’s hidden under layers upon layers of caked on and shitty makeup, his voice is altered to being pretty much unrecognizable, and there requires very little talent needed to pull off a one note villain. Isaac deserves better than a villain-of-the-week borefest than is Apocalypse.
- Tye Sheridan, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Sophie Turner (minus her accent) are all pretty solid young actors and are put in focus at the film’s center. However, as much as the movie focuses on them, it also gives them very little to do. It’s clearly obvious they are important and powerful, yet they simply feel like bystanders to the chaos around them. All three of their talents are wasted here, leaving very little excitement about their futures in the franchise.
- The film as a whole seems to be an insult to both Lawrence and Hoult, who both phone in their performances and look incredibly bored. It’s not noticeable at first, but once you see it, their lackluster excitement is contagious and felt throughout the audience.
*please note that this score was Vivek’s estimation upon editing and publishing Nick’s review.