X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) Review

Written by Matt Sayer

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)


As always I can promise there are absolutely no spoilers in this review.

In The Mix

Director: Bryan Singer, Writer: Simon Kinberg Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Oscar Isaac

The Ten Word Skinny

"Apocalypse wants to destroy the world. The audience wonders why."

The Quote

Charles Xavier: "He means to destroy this world... billions of people killed."

The Beef

Lordy Lordy, what the heck has happened here? This is an absolute car crash of a superhero film taking a once loved franchise and dragging it back to the stone ages.

I like the X-Men films, they have solid characters with layers and interesting back stories. The plots mostly introduced something new and interesting and since the prequel reboot, I liked the new direction too.

All that has changed now. I feel we have now finally reached the saturation point in cinema. The prequel, sequel and superhero merry-go-round has got to stop before it is held responsible for single handed killing cinema.

The X-Men franchise is a good a place as any to make my point. The original film came out in 2000, so this has spanned 16 years across 6 films not including the spin-off Wolverine films. That is five sequels, one reboot which is a prequel then two prequel sequels beyond that. It's exhausting!

Seriously, Transformers take note. Transformers: The Last Knight? Make it Transformers: The Last Film. It would smash the box office as people would celebrate the end of that franchise finally. You are already flogging a dead horse in disguise, robot or otherwise. I can't believe Josh Duhamel is still in those, he is either in some serious financial troubles we don't know about or he just really loves Transformers as a kid.

A simple rule of thumb. No one cares when the story is shit. If you aren't going to make them good, please stop.

The Story in Short

The premise of the film is that back in the time of Pharoah's and pyramids in ancient Egypt there were also mutants and there was one original mutant played by Oscar Isaac who lived for thousands of years transferring from mutant body to mutant body. He wakes up in the 1980's and decides this world isn't very good and he must destroy all of it leaving only the gifted mutants to join him ruling it. Quite what they are planning to rule once he has destroyed literally everything we don't really know or get to find out.

The film is set in the 80's and they have taken this quite literally as everything from the plot, to the wardrobe feels like something out of this decade and trust me this is not a compliment!

The opening sequence feels like something out of the classic children's tv series The Mysterious Cities of Gold. Except that series which first aired in 1982 feels fresher than this multi-million dollar blockbuster. And it had better music, don't believe me? See for yourself.
Told you! 

This film suffers the same fate as another superhero franchise's attempt at a reboot, 2015's Fantastic Four where they spent the entire film's running time setting up some future film that we didn't get to see. Here it isn't quite as dramatic as that however we are a good hour and a half into the film when you realise the story is still very much still being setup. What the hell are you building us up for? This is the film, get the fuck on it! 

Lets fire through these negatives as I hate writing ranty posts but this stuff needs to be said. 

Olivia Munn's outfit is like we have stepped back in time to the land of sexist pin ups. Don't get me wrong I am a red blooded male and appreciated seeing her in skin tight spandex with high heels and a whip as she runs across roof tops as much as the next man but in 2016 this felt very out of place.
The baddie. Oscar Isaac is a great actor and is in almost every movie at the cinema currently but this film was so wasted on him. This character could have been played by anyone and it would have had the same result. 

The audience needs to care for us to want to see the resolution of the conflict by the end. With the character Apocalypse, we couldn't care less. The character is straight out of a time warp where his whole goal is to "rule the world".. Really? Is that it? Weak sauce screenwriters! Shame on you. This character belongs in a He-Man cartoon and actually this film FELT like a He-Man movie!

The positives.

Some of the characters on show here are really watchable and their back stories are awesome! Jean Grey played by Sansa Stark has a great character thread the entire way through this film with the audience having learnt a lot about her by the end. Plus I bet she appreciated being away from Winterfell for awhile and no doubt made a nice change being attacked with laser beams rather than bows and arrows. Scott Summers/Cyclops who I always found quite annoying in the original X-Men's has a great role to play here in how he came to find the school and his relationship with Jean Grey. Plus it is before he became big time and got his Oakleys sunglasses sponsorship so he is more badass.

In fact the film's biggest flaw is that all of the best characters in this film don't get enough screentime, Nightcrawler, Quicksilver show us rare glimpses of story and context to the bigger picutre but were never fully utilised to help the film. We were all too quickly moved onto the next. 

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine can do whatever the hell he likes, he can do no wrong. It was great to see him add another layer of his mysterious story pre X-men abeit far too brief and it didn't help the plot move along in any tangible way. 

One final thing I have to say is 3D is dead for me. In a world of higher and higher definition all 3D does is make the action scenes so blurry and in fact the entire film a messy blur. It doesn't heighten the enjoyment and if that's the case it shouldn't exist. 

Oh and IMAX, why invent a screen that is so big that anyone sitting in the front half of the cinema cannot see the whole screen or enjoy it? Just an observaton as I had my retinas burned from row F.....

Popcorn or Pie?

This film felt like one step forward two steps back. The premise for the film felt so weak with a really dated baddie at its centre. Oscar Isaac had little to do here and the cast's poorest scenes were those with Apocalypse.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are quality actors and the relationship between the two is always fascinating to watch however again I felt Fassbender was wasted in his role, this time, around and I wouldn't be surprised if this is the end of this prequel run now. There doesn't feel like there is anywhere new they can take this.

My biggest concern is with this superhero overkill we are currently seeing that it backfires and we see a backlash from audiences toward the genre. I feel there is still a lot of mileage left in superheroes although we need to slow down the amount produced or some of the smaller characters may never get the chance to see the light of day.

Say What?

Hugh Jackman announced that he will be retiring from the role after this film and the next Wolverine sequel. He has played the role from the beginning back in 2000!

Anybody order a Loveburger??? WELL DONE.

Have I missed something? Tell me I want to know!!!!

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