Although it is not quite as good as 2014’s excellent X-Men: Days of Future Past, the newest installment in the franchise, Apocalypse has fantastic storytelling, action, and builds upon the characters we have grown to love over the many years.
One of the biggest threats known in the universe, Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) has finally emerged, and is ready to take down any and all threats that get in his way. Accompanying him are the Four Horseman, which consists of Ororo Munroe / Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Angel (Ben Hardy), and Psylocke (Olivia Munn).
The beginning of the film can be a bit slow which is unfortunate. They go into major detail about the backstory of Apocalypse – where he came from, his goals, etc. and it was a little worrisome, as I hoped that the film would not follow suit with its opening narrative issues, but luckily, it improved quickly.
Another thing I appreciated about X-Men: Apocalypse is how it treats its titular villain. Every single time we see him appear on screen in the superhero blockbuster, he keeps on getting stronger and more violent, which I found intriguing. This is because the film (and films before it) have spoke about him as being an extremely dangerous threat – one that could easily wipe out the world. When you watch his actions in the film, it becomes apparent with each passing scene, how deadly he really is.
The makeup team needs to be praised for their work on Apocalypse as well. They all did a fantastic job with the makeup on Apocalypse, Mystique, Psylocke, and many others that genuinely impressed me.
All of the action sequences were extremely impressive as well. Similar to the Apocalypse character getting stronger with each scene – the X-Men team gets more deadly as the film progresses as well. I loved the themes they explored with power, and how some individuals can become corrupt if power falls into the wrong hands. It is all presented in a way that was investing and thought-provoking, and it was so nice to see social commentary in an X-Men film yet again.
In First Class we get to see the social commentary on the war, and the effect it has on a child when they have to live through those times. The X-Men films have always talked about important issues, but First Class and Apocalypse do it the best.
Jennifer Lawrence reprises her role as Mystique from the previous entries in the franchise, and she is, yet again, amazing. The character of Mystique has always been one of my all-time favorite X-Men characters, and Lawrence has always been the best to portray the character to date for me. I do wish that she had more screen time in Apocalypse however. In Days of Future Past, Mystique was an essential character for the story, and I wanted to see more of her after seeing that film, but unfortunately, we only see her in a couple of scenes this time around.
Although it suffers from pacing issues and underused characters, X-Men: Apocalypse is a thrill-ride of a film that offers plenty of fun and thought-provoking social commentary.
Overall Grade: A-
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, action and destruction, brief strong language and some suggestive images
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Running Time: 144 minutes