“With the emergence of the world’s first mutant, Apocalypse, the X-Men must unite to defeat his extinction level plan.”
X-Men: Apocalypse is the third installment in the First Class Trilogy that began in 2011 with X-Men: First Class and is also the ninth installment in the X-Men film series as a whole. The film is directed by Bryan Singer and stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Oscar Isaac, Rose Byrne, Evan Peters, Josh Helman, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Lucas Till, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ben Hardy, Alexandra Shipp and Lana Condor.
After getting blown away by the marvel of spectacles and emotions that was its predecessor X-Men: Days of Future Past, you’d be quick to assume that the filmmakers behind X-Men: Apocalypse would do their best to make things look and seem grander than ever. Its talked-about and acclaimed predecessor is definitely a very tough act to follow, and this entry’s attempt at outdoing its superior was a gamble that it was willing to take with everything that the filmmakers try to cram into it. However, like most comic book movies that try to give their best shot, X-Men: Apocalypse doesn’t meet its desired results in being the “ultimate X-Men” movie like it suggests. The filmmakers saying that it is a great follow-up to DoFP basically didn’t mean anything at all since what we witness is very far from what they are trying to make it look and sound like. Bryan Singer’s direction is almost never felt, or if it ever was, it was as if he directed the film with a prideful attitude and imbued himself with the directing skills of one Michael Bay and/or a Zack Snyder. That doesn’t necessarily make him a director akin to those mentioned because fortunately, he was still able to jam in a little of what made his X-Men films so loved and adored; the human core. When that worked, it worked. But only for a brief amount of time-definitely not sufficient to get us invested in all these characters, most specially the newcomers.
But at least for a minute or so, we get to feel these characters being human and feeling human up until the film jumps up to what it thought we would come for-the action scenes. With this entry being the most visually ambitious of the bunch, there are only so many things that could happen. Either it would intensify the dire situation of these characters or it would completely ruin our viewing experience. Oddly enough, it was able to do both of those. Some action scenes are fun to watch and somehow were able to make us feel the gravity of the situation, but most of those only might only make you yawn, sigh and wanting to hit the fast-forward button to skip all of the meaningless destruction and whatnot. Singer never seemed to be doing a great job in making this a really good movie either as the storytelling almost never moves, keeping us in THAT place, and getting lost in its pace since it takes so long to move from one point to another. Because of that, we are only left to wish that the film would move more quickly so that we can walk out of the door and quickly think up of its huge mistakes to brand it as one of the weakest X-Men movies in terms of the narrative. The story never feels too interesting, for the threat that it presents makes everything look pointless and just for show.
Apocalypse, the titular villain, is intimidating at times thanks to Oscar Isaac, but all of that is immediately wiped out the moment we think about his villainous motivations. It could be arguable, but the point here is that the film never made this villain’s intentions and schemes abundantly clear. Even if he is made to look like the mutants’ greatest threat of all time, he is only a ranting and wrathful god in our eyes since his character arc is-well, find it out for yourself to see where I’m getting at. Seeing his points and getting to buy what he sells is already a hard thing to do, but seeing Oscar Isaac’s acting skills getting wasted in all that make-up is even harder. It isn’t only him whose thespian talents are thrown out because almost the rest of the cast shies away from their ability to act marvelously due to the film having some weak dialogue. That alone is a huge step down from what DoFP estabslished, and what adds to the disappointment is that there are so many hindrances blocking its way to become at least decent when it comes to the performances. McAvoy and Fassbender’s emotional relationship is still present, but with the film’s dialogue lacking a superb or even half-amazing quality to it, we never really get to feel that. That is already a downing factor for the film, but that’s not all there is to it. The older characters and the newer characters are also mishandled, furthermore dissipating the film’s huge flaws.
They crowd one another and they only give us less reason to care about what’s going on with them. Their spotlights are not shed equally and more so, the newcomers are only introduced just for the sake of letting us know that these are the younger version of the mutants we already know and love. Fortunately though, there are some cool moments from characters old and new that are still undeniably fun to watch even if we are confused by what’s going on. Quicksilver, who has a bigger role in the film swoops by and gets involved in the danger, and in one scene, he gets to shine again. While this scene looks splendid for what it tried to do with the character and the context of the situation, it also feels misplaced and overlong-only as if Singer was trying too hard to outdo this character’s golden moment from DoFP. Like that scene, there were so many moments in Apocalypse that felt awkward and just wrong in terms of execution. They are not necessarily stinking failures but to be exact, they are attempts at pulling off something wonderful which oftentimes got us going “huh?” instead of “wow!” since finding out the story’s flow and figuring out its plot points were deemed as a task. Linking itself to the older X-Men films, Apocalypse tries to throw in as many references to its greater predecessors.
Some good comes out of it, but mostly it just feels like it was trying too hard to become a satisfying conclusion for including all of those in itself. In the end, Apocalypse is only half of what it desires-it is an overblown ending to a crowd-pleasing superhero film trilogy and for that, it becomes deeply disappointing knowing the better things that it could’ve done. Bryan Singer’s wild attempt at outdoing the damage that Brett Ratner did in X-Men: The Last Stand unknowingly brought hell unto himself-creating a dismaying finale to First Class and DoFP. Singer has lost this fight but it’s quite still appreciable that he did something to make it better than it really is.
Maybe comic book geeks will drool over it, but all in all X-Men: Apocalypse is only half-hearted and miles away from the greatness of DoFP. It’s hard not to mention that film because we all know how great it was, and now that we’ve seen Apocalypse, we can’t help but compare the two and point out just how the other deeply pales in comparison. So yes, we’re not really sure if we’re excited for the next X-film because this one quite blows and there’s even a huge scene that serves as a metaphor for that-furthermore justifying this X-film’s filmmaking quality. Thankfully enough, it’s not The Last Stand nor Origins bad but still, we really had our fingers crossed for this film to get some refinements and polishing-and what it did was really quite the opposite.
* X-Men: Apocalypse is now showing in Philippine cinemas from 20th Century Fox. See it in IMAX 3D and 3D!
** Go to www.sureseats.com for Xciting “X-Men: Apocalypse”promo surprises!