Released: May 18th 2016
Directed by Bryan Singer
Written by Simon Kinberg (w/Bryan Singer, Michael Dougherty & Dan Harris)
Welcome Movie Fans! Since we've given our opinion on the last few big comic book films I figured I'd weigh in on the latest. How was the next installment of the X-Men franchise?
Released: May 18th 2016
Directed by Bryan Singer
Written by Simon Kinberg (w/Bryan Singer, Michael Dougherty & Dan Harris)
So with only a couple of comic book movies left in 2016 so far we've gotten two fantastic ones and one stinker. Deadpool and Captain America: Civil War being excellent and Batman vs Superman being a mega-dud. Did X-Men even out the scorecard or fall somewhere in between. The X-Men franchise has had it's ups & downs with the first X-Men film ringing in the modern era of Superhero movies making sure it stuck around with X2 (still my favorite) then turning in a shit sandwich with X3: Last Stand. Since making it's return the franchise has been better than ever. First Class had some weak points but overall was an excellent movie and Days of Future Past was arguably the best X-Men film to date. So where did X-Men Apocalypse land? Was the 6th time the charm?
To put it simply the 6th time (or 8th if you count the 2 Wolverine solo films) is not the charm. Is Apocalypse a terrible film? Not really but it isn't half as good as Days of Future Past either. Everyone has complained about the look of Apocalypse himself which is pretty shitty but that's nothing compared to the horrible script. In case you were unaware Simon Kinberg is also responsible for the abomination that is The Fantastic Four (2015) and the worst X-Men film ever, Last Stand, but then also wrote excellent films like Days of Future Past and Sherlock Holmes so it seems to be great or shit with him and this one is... well let's just say not great. I found the first hour of the film to be boring as hell. The film opens in 3600 BC with Apocalypse in Egypt transferring his power from a dying body into a young and vibrant body where apparently some Egyptians were sick of his shit and drop a pyramid on his ass. I've heard others say otherwise but while this was one of the best parts of the movie it really isn't that great and nothing we haven't seen before or did someone not see the Brendan Frasier Mummy movies? Then there is what I found to be the biggest failure of the movie. We jump ahead to the 1980s, this film is supposed to take place 10 years after the events of Days of Future Past yet no one has aged. I realize Mystique really doesn't and neither does Wolverine but no one looks a day older? Really?!? Aside from that it doesn't even matter the film was set in the 80s because aside from a few forced references there is nothing 80s about the film. I mean Sony put a mad budget behind this film, you'd think the look could've been right. It could have been set two days after the events of the last film or set in modern day for all the care they put into making it in the 80s.
I don't want to just bitch about this movie because I did enjoy it more than BvS but that really isn't a high bar. They do play The Four Horsemen by Metallica though it completely doesn't fit the scene it's in so it's a net zero (for the record Creeping Death would have fit better in the scene, just sayin). The truth is I probably would have liked this film better if Civil War hadn't preceded it. Civil War took over a dozen characters doing justice to each and every one of them so that you felt you knew them. In X-Men Apocalypse there is a similarly sized ensemble cast and none are actually written in a very interesting way. The same ground is trampled over once again, story wise, so there is really nothing new here. In First Class a young Magneto's mother is killed in front of him, it's a powerful scene, here Magneto's wife & daughter (a young Scarlet Witch we can presume) are killed with the only thing lending it any weight being the performance of Michael Fassbender who I think was the only one who showed up for this film. This is an worn out plot device in the X-Men universe since we saw the same thing in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and also Magneto being a man torn has really been played to death but it's the only interesting story arc in Apocalypse. Pretty much everyone loved Quicksilver's scene in Days of Future Past so in Apocalypse they give us version 2.o but there's nothing new to it. Wolverine shows up for about two minutes as Weapon X going all berzerker but it's a completely unnecessary scene and while it's a cool scene it has no meaning or bearing on the film. I guess that's most of my problem with Apocalypse... some cool individual scenes but overall just boring.
What's my deal, you ask? One of my biggest problems with Apocalypse can be seen in the picture above of Apocalypse's Four Horsemen. Magneto is the only one that's really given anything to do. The other three pretty much just stand there trying to look cool for 3/4 of the movie. Angel/Archangel has maybe three or four lines of dialogue and while being a major player in the source material isn't given much to do here. He fights Nightcrawler twice then dies. Psylocke has exactly two lines of dialogue (calling them dialogue is being generous) unless I missed one so she pretty much just stands around looking sexy. How interesting... zzzz. Also when Psylocke fights Beast she's using a psionic whip which we see cut through a building then one second later she hits Beast with it but it wraps around his neck and she tries to strangle him with it. If it can cut through a building wouldn't it have beheaded him like a hot knife through butter? Shit, sorry, my bad I was thinking again. That isn't something you were supposed to do in this film apparently. Then there's Storm who is given pretty much nothing at all to do other than be the first to meet Apocalypse. Magneto seems to be the only Horseman with anything to do and, of course, Fassbender does an excellent job as always. Apocalypse as a character is a complete waste of Oscar Isaac's talent. The (terrible) make-up job makes the actor unrecognizable and he literally has nothing interesting to say for the entire film. You could have painted me blue and had me play that role. Isaac is an excellent actor and he's completely wasted in this role. Also the film is set in the 80s (no internet back then kids) and Apocalypse touches a shitty TV in Egypt and is suddenly caught up on the 5600 years of history. I found that astoundingly stupid. Also Apocalypse states he's "lived a thousand lifetimes" so we are supposed to believe he got his start where? The film starts in 3600 BC in Egypt and he was supposedly responsible for annihilating several civilizations which doesn't make any sense to me but whatevs I guess he must have been responsible for wiping out the dinosaurs or something. What I'm saying is Apocalypse is a cool villain in the comics but in this film, that is supposed to be about him, he is ultimately boring though fusing people into buildings or the ground is a pretty cool power.
So those are some of the main problems but it all boils down to a poorly written screenplay combined with visual effects that are supposed to be amazing but there's literally nothing you haven't seen before, numerous times. It seems most of the actors could see how bad this film was and just phoned in their performances. Jennifer Lawrence playing Mystique looks like she doesn't want to do this anymore and McAvoy does the best he can with what he's given which is pretty much the same as the previous two films in which he played Professor X. Fans get Jubilee... but she's never named and is given literally nothing to do. Fassbender is excellent but Magneto is given the same character arc as the last two films (I mean the exact same character arc). Evan Peters as Quicksilver is the only fun character in the entire movie but aside from the X Mansion rescue isn't given much to do. Also there is a big build up to Quicksilver telling Magneto that he is his son but then when given the opportunity at the most opportune time... he decides not to? Honestly that made no fucking sense to me whatsoever. Mystique and Quicksilver are trying to get Magneto to stop tearing the world apart but the one thing that may get through to him, the fact he does still have family left, and this is when Quicksilver thinks its a good time to keep that information to himself? Huh? It made no sense. Almost every character is handled extremely poorly being given little or nothing to do. Jean Grey is back so we can revisit the "Dark Phoenix saga" that was done so terribly the first time (in Last Stand) but Sophie Turner's talent is pretty well squandered as well. Apparently Bryan Singer liked the scared little girl from the first couple seasons of Game of Thrones so that's pretty much all she's given to do. Also Singer or Kinberg, I don't know who threw the line in there, end up slamming themselves. In a scene where some of our young X-Men are leaving the theater having just seen Return of the Jedi (one of about 4 total 80s references), one of them remarks the third movie in a series is always the worst which is supposed to be a slam on X-Men: Last Stand but since Apocalypse is the third movie of this new X-Men universe it ends up being ironic and I'm sure it wasn't meant to be, however, it was the best use of foreshadowing in the entire film though completely unintended.
If Civil War and Deadpool are comic movie perfection (they really are!) and Batman vs Superman is comic movie abomination then X-Men Apocalypse falls somewhere in between but closer to the BvS end of the pool. I liked First Class a lot and I thought Days of Future Past was possibly the best X-Men movie yet but then Singer turns in this turd sandwich. Apocalypse in no way, shape or form needed to be two and a half damn hours long for starters. I was bored after the first few minutes and I honestly couldn't wait for it to be over. There are no surprises of any kind. Characters that I love in the comics are given nothing to do or are given n0thing more than a cameo (Jubilee). Olivia Munn is sexy as Psylocke (one of the coolest characters in the X universe) but has two throw away lines and one fight that is ultimately just stupid. Apocalypse is given nothing much interesting to say or do and why does he like wiping out humanity? Where is he from? What is his motivation beyond just being the ultimate villain? You won't find any of those answers in this film nor will you ever since Apocalypse is disintegrated at the end. Some of the fights are cool and Quicksilver is funny and awesome but ultimately squandered. Lots of destruction for destruction's sake but nothing really new if you've seen any big budget action movie in the last 20 years or so. Fassbender is a great actor but again Magneto has the exact same character arc as the previous two films... he's good, he's bad, he's good, no he's bad... YAWN! In the end I just found X-Men Apocalypse boring. It isn't a terrible movie on the level of BvS but it isn't much of a step above it either.
I'd like to see someone who actually understands who the X-Men are reboot and restart this series but if it makes big money (and it probably will) that isn't going to happen. There is some semblance of hope since Apocalypse has a break even point of about $700M and is only at $400M worldwide in two full weeks including opening Memorial Day Weekend. Some will look at $400M made and a production budget of $178M and think the film is a huge success but in general the marketing on a big film like this is nearly as much or equal to the production budget plus the theaters playing the film get about 1/3 of the box office that is why the film needs to make so much to actually break even but no one makes a film this size hoping to just break even, they all want the Billion dollar mark and this isn't going to come close to that. Now most want some kind of deal that will send the X-Men back to Marvel Studios to be added into the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) but I don't. Why? Because Marvel is killing it and already have their hands full. If the X-Men reverted back to Marvel it would either be several years before a movie was made or something already slated would have to be bumped like they already did with The Inhumans to make room for Spiderman returning. I'm fine with Fox keeping the X-Men but it's beyond time they brought in a team who understand the source material and do it justice. The X-Men is more than just the tug o'war between Professor X and Magneto. They started as an allegory of the counter culture of the 60s and the first couple of X-Men films at least attempted some semblance of that allegory while completely messing up numerous characters or flat out wasting them along the way. The X-Men universe has become a complete and utter mess with any promise of course correction presented in Days of Future Past completely taken away in Apocalypse. Singer and crew had promise, they had a chance and they've squandered and wasted it. It's time to bring in another team and give comic fans the X-Men we want to see not just world ending apocalyptic havoc with Professor X and Magneto playing mental tug o'war. As with BvS I do not recommend you pay money to see this in the theater, wait for the DVD or Blu-ray then borrow it from a friend if you can.
Enjoy all the movies we share with you? Please take a moment if you're able to help us do more with a small donation below or stop by S Mart for our published works. Thank You.
Have you seen this latest big budget summer blockbuster superhero film? What did you think of it? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Scribbler Movie Reviews
Feind loves watching movies of all kinds so if we watch it, we tell whether you should as well. I'll share mostly horror but I also enjoy everything from big Blockbusters to micro-budget Independent films.
Enjoy all we do here? Help us bring you even more with a small donation today.