HOLLYWOOD—I’m going to admit a secret that I rarely tell people: I think “X-Men: First Class” is the second greatest comic book movie of all-time next to “The Dark Knight.” I have my reasons, which we can save for another discussion, but the latest installment in the newly rebooted franchise, “X-Men: Apocalypse” while not as stellar as “First Class” and “Days of Future Past” still manages to deliver a compelling film in my opinion.
This chapter, which appears to set the stage for the younger generation of X-Men to take over that many of us have come to adore from the animated TV series, packs a bunch into the movie. The bulk of the narrative revolves around the ancient mutant En Sabah Nur better known as Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), the world’s first mutant. To describe his powers, is quite difficult, let’s just say he’s not someone you want to tangle with.
The movie which opens to a backstory about Apocalypse’s reign, will indeed suture the spectator right away in my opinion. From there, there are quite a few jumps all over the place which depicts a fragmented narrative, but director Bryan Singer manages to find a way to salvage the chaos in my opinion. We get the opportunity to see what some of our favorite mutants are up to as Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Professor X (James McAvoy) and Beast (Nicholas Hoult) all attempt to do their best to live normal lives the best they can after the chaos in Washington D.C.
However, that is all impacted when Apocalypse is awakened from an eternal sleep and goes on a mission to ‘cleanse’ the planet with his four horsemen by his side. Those participants include: Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Angel (Ben Hardy) and Magneto. These are all interesting characters to say the least, but the problem with the movie, is we get the smallest teases about these characters; there is not a ton of development to these characters backstory before their recruitment takes effect. To be honest I was dying to get more from the character of Psylocke who seems to be a force to reckon with. Fingers crossed for her appearance in another movie.
Instead, Singer and company give more focus on new characters Scott Summers aka Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) and Kurt Wagner aka Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee). Their introduction and inclusion to the narrative seamlessly works, but it would be nice to have a balance with those characters and those other three horsemen (Psylocke, Angel and Storm) who are new to the mix.
The movie also sees the return of Rose Byrne as Moira MacTaggert who tagged along with the mutants during “First Class.” This time around she is the first to discover the rise of Apocalypse himself. For this to be an action movie, the fight sequences are relatively tame until we reach the film’s climax. They are indeed worth the wait for any X-Men fan; however, more fighting along the way would have been more icing on the cake in my opinion.
The visuals in this third installment in the trilogy are by far some of the best; they mesmerize the eyes and invite you into a world that you can only imagine. I must point out one of the most buzzed about moments in this movie has to be the return of Peter Maximoff aka Quicksilver (Evan Peters). His lightning speed was a scene-stealer in “Days of Future Past” and the writers weave his introduction to the madness of the latest war in a way that will not only leave you laughing, but will also have you asking yourself, “How in the world did they do that?”
I must admit there is a cameo of everyone’s favorite mutant in this flick that I quite frankly didn’t understand. It was almost added because they just ‘had to’ to appease to the fan-base. Not quite, sometimes the narrative can work if it’s strong to begin with. The biggest surprise I got from watching this movie is that it’s the end of a chapter, as new X-Men have been ushered in and some of our favorites Mystique, Magneto, Beast and Professor X might be soon replaced by new faces.
“X-Men: Apocalypse” puts a nice bow on a trilogy. Like most trilogies it doesn’t necessarily blow your mind like you expect, but it does entertain which earns solid points in my book.