In the lead up to its release, the trailers for X-Men: Apocalypse left fans and audiences underwhelmed. Together with the critical negativity from fans towards the look and design of the movie's chief antagonist and expectations for this movie have been considerably low. Despite the movies claim of an apocalyptic threat, compared to its two predecessors X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past, the marketing for the movie just didn't create the same sense of awe. So when getting the chance to watch the movie, were my low expectations verified or surpassed? The simple answer to that question isn't all that simple.
Bryan Singer and 20th Century Fox have learned from the recent barrage of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, with Apocalypse featuring an ensemble cast of Marvels most popular mutants, The main cast of which each of which gets at least one key moment in the movie to shine. Be it Michael Fassbender's vengeance when his peaceful, normal life is stolen from him, or Tye Sheridan's unintentional revenge against the bully pounding on the lavatory door. Best of all though has to be Evan Peters arrival at the Westchester mansion to the soundtrack of Eurythmics classic '80's anthem Sweet Dreams - one of the best scenes in the movie. While Marvel Studios may have Fox beaten in almost every way when it comes to their superhero movies, Fox has arguably the better version of Quicksilver, especially after the MCU version of the character was underused and needlessly sacrificed.
The greatest newest addition though has to be Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Oscar Issac as the uber-villain En Sabah Nur AKA Apocalypse. The characters portrayal does exude the god-like arrogance required for the role, and his mission to gather together his horsemen and unleash the end of the world does drive the narrative along at a welcome pace. Unfortunately, the character never really feels as threatening as he should. Apocalypse should have attacked Washington DC and the White House or New York City taking on the Army and the X-Men full force. Instead, the character appears in a succession of nondescript locations devoid of the screaming masses and crumbling buildings required to convey any sense of threat or danger.
Unfortunately, one character that feels forced into the narrative is Raven Darkholme AKA Mystique portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence. Lawrence's popularity and star appeal have obviously not gone ignored by director Bryan Singer who has used the character as one of the leading cast in all three of the X-Men prequel movies, despite the fact that the character of Mystique is a supporting character at best. Twice now in three films we have seen Mystique play a protagonist role in the narrative, twice now we have seen Raven as a member of the X-Men. It is true that this has also happened in the comics upon which these films are based, but it is clearly transparent that Singer is having the character constantly swapping teams so that the Lawrence continues to get screen time.
Courtesy of the retconning effects of Days of Future Pasts time-traveling narrative fans are also treated to an alternative take on Wolverines admittance into the Weapon X programme, which along with the Deadpool movie effectively eliminates X-Men: Origins - Wolverine from the film series canon, along with the first three movies, especially X-Men: The Last Stand.
Ultimately X-Men: Apocalypse turned out to be a better and more enjoyable film than what I expected, though I suspect that was because my expectations were rock bottom for this movie. Don't get me wrong, this movie is a far cry from the balanced awesomeness of February's Deadpool, or the suspense and intrigue that Captain America: Civil war weaved, but its narrative is handled better and scripted better than Batman v Superman. If you are a fan of this franchise you will enjoy this movie, especially the uber-villain that is teased in the movies post credits scene.
Scified Star Rating
3 out of 5 stars
"Watchable, enjoyable, just don't expect too much!"
Logan March 3rd, 2017
More about Logan (movie)
Directed by James Mangold, Logan's release date is March 3rd, 2017.
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