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X-Men: Apocalypse

Coming Soon

With all of the time-shifting plots that the X-Men franchise has thrown our way, it can be challenging follow a linear path to assist in the understandings of what’s going down. I’ll say this much, do yourselves a favor and watch at least X-Men: First Class (2011) as well as X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) before diving into the latest addition, X-Men: Apocalypse. This way you’ll be, at the very minimum, semi-current and should be able to follow these events without too much frustration. Having two separate actors playing the same characters due to the generation jumping is confusing enough. Heck, even Deadpool (2016) played by Ryan Reynolds took a comical shot at the franchise when Professor Xavier’s name is mentioned by asking “which one, Stewart or McAvoy?.” So many quotable moments from that movie. X-Men: Apocalypse shifts Marvel’s focus from comedy and back to the seriousness of total world domination. And with that said, let’s see how far the box office domination will reach.
If you saw X-Men: Days of Future Past and labored through the typical ten minutes of slow scrolling credits, you were treated to a brief clip set in ancient Egypt that reveals the franchise’s next protagonist being worshipped as a god. Meet Apocalypse. X-Men: Apocalypse starts off with a flashback scene anchoring it to the character revealed in the previous film. Things leap ahead to “present time” which for in this case is the early 1980s. Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters is thriving under the direction of Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) along with Hank (Nicholas Hoult) by his side. Meanwhile Raven / Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is out and about on her own helping the less fortunate mutants of the world. Lastly there’s Erik / Magneto (Michael Fassbender) who has gone into hiding has settled into a life of normalcy, he even has wife and daughter. Everything changes when, in Cairo, an ancient evil is unknowingly unearthed. Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) is back with the single goal of cleansing this world of all of its imperfections. And speaking of imperfections, it’s time to get to the unfortunate meat of things.
I’ll say this much, if Fantastic Four (2015) is considered a dumpster fire, X-Men: Apocalypse may already have some flames a brewin’. There are several aspects of this film that are fundamentally flawed, with the most depressing part being that much of it is easily correctable. Let’s start with unhealthy abundance of CGI present here. Obviously special effects are going to be on full display with a movie of this type, however sometimes less is more. Even the opening credits scene had a nauseating amount of unneeded flash and flair going on. It’s almost like they hired someone fresh out of school that was itching to show off all he or she had learned.
Then there’s the EXCESSIVE use of slow motion throughout. Not everything needs to be shown in dramatic slow motion. Maybe director Bryan Singer is just a huge Chappelle Show fan and wanted to pay homage to this clip. I’ve just ruined slow motion for you, haven’t I? This leads me to the unnecessarily long 143 minute runtime. There’s nothing wrong with running long if you have the substance to justify it. If you just halved the slow motion sequences I bet you could shave 10 or 15 minutes off of this puppy. And not to be a totally nitpicking jerk but Singer’s decision to make Storm’s character, played by Alexandra Shipp, have an authentic African accent, only to have it completely disappear in movies featuring Halle Berry as the older version of this character is quite maddening. Wow that sentence was about as long as X-Men: Apocalypse felt.
On the positive side of things, it was nice to see the band back together again. Also reprising their roles from previous X-Men movies in addition to McAvoy, Lawrence, Fassbender and Hoult are Rose Byrne, Lucas Till and Evan Peters. Thankfully Evan Peters brings his comedic attitude back with him as Quicksilver. Luckily, he gets more screen exposure this time around. This is the one time that excessive CGI and gratuitous slow motion are more than welcome! Some other notable new players to join the franchise along with Oscar Isaac are Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones) as Jean Grey, Tye Sheridan (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (2015)) as Scott / Cyclops and Olivia Munn as Psylocke.
Oscar Isaac will probably never really be that physically imposing big bad guy that puts fear of biblical proportions in others no matter what makeup, creative camera angles or special effects you throw onto him. So casting him as supposedly the strongest mutant ever is puzzling to me. That’s just one of the head scratching mysteries of X-Men: Apocalypse. If I were a betting man I’d say that of the four superhero movies released so far this year, including this one, securely locking up fourth place with Captain America: Civil War, Deadpool and even Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice finishing well ahead would be the closest thing to a sure bet that you could make. Twentieth Century Fox had better be careful going forward because they’re destroying superhero franchises not named Deadpool faster than network television (excluding The CW of course). That stink is hard to wash off once it sets in.
Fans of previous movies of the franchise will try to find redeeming factors but even they will struggle searching for positive adjectives if they’re being completely honest. The 3D serves no other than maybe making the box office haul not look quite as bad with couple of extra dollars added here and there to its bottom line. X-Men: Apocalypse will be quickly forgotten about or ignored altogether once the commercial blitzes die down and word of mouth starts to reach moviegoers’ ears. Memorial Day Weekend 2016 will absolutely not be X-traordinary so make different plans and save this phoned-in flop for video or a deeply discounted matinee. In theaters May 27.

X-Men: Apocalypse is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Carl Wheeler

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