Film Review by Clayton Barnett
Since the dawn of civilization, he was worshiped as a god. Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant from Marvel's X-Men universe, amassed the powers of many other mutants, becoming immortal and invincible. Upon awakening after thousands of years, he is disillusioned with the world as he finds it and recruits a team of powerful mutants, including a disheartened Magneto, to cleanse mankind and create a new world order, over which he will reign. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Raven with the help of Professor X must lead a team of young X-Men to stop their greatest nemesis and save mankind from complete destruction.
It’s an apocalyptic 80’s escapade for the X-Men, with the third outing looking to claim the commercial and critical x-factor of the previous prequels.
You could thank producer / director Bryan Singer for helping launch this whole modern superhero movie thing after his first X-Men film dominated back in 2000. This is Singer’s fourth time at the helm of the x-franchise, but he’s had a hand across all nine X-Men related films and I think it’s time some new blood was injected.
Not to say he hasn’t done an exemplary job, he directed the best X-Men movie to date, the brilliant Days of Future Past. Sadly X-Men: Apocalypse suffers the dreaded threequel curse and tries to cram in too many characters and extended set pieces.
It’s a fault of a lot of Marvel movies, just dragging out the end with an over-the-top CGI heavy action scene, and at just under two and a half hours it could have done with some trimming.
And with the roster of villains Apocalypse’s four hoursmen - bar Magneto – are totally underutilised; Angel, Storm and Pyslocke barely string ten lines together. Plus Oscar Isaac (The Force Awakens) is just wasted under all that make-up.
But it does have a lot to enjoy, Just like Days of Future Past the Quicksilver slomo sequence is a standout. Upping the game - and now set to Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams - the scene is even more thrilling and hilarious and worth entry alone.
And just like Captain America: Civil War, the touches of humour keep the movie humming. Xavier acts like an awkward teenager around love interest Moria MacTaggert, Quicksilver’s quips come thick and obviously fast, and even Apocalypse generates a macabre laugh at Magneto’s workplace.
While the returning X-Men all do solid work, especially James McAvoy who is his usual brilliant self as Professor X, it’s the next generation of mutants that stand out. The new incarnations of Nightcrawler, Jean Grey, Cyclops, and especially newcomer Alexandra Shipp as Storm, all look and act the goods. I can’t wait for their own outing in the reported 90’s set future sequel.
The movie also pays some nice homages to its comic book origins. There are plenty of familiar names and costumes throughout, Wolverine’s brief but brutal cameo has a sweet nod to his Weapon X storyline, and there’s a treat for fanboys in the post-credit sting.
While X-Men: Apocalypse suffers some threequel hiccups it’s not the end of the world, there’s still plenty of x-citing action and humour thanks to the new mutants joining the team.
Releases: 19th May 2016
Duration: 143 minutes
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Olivia Munn, Evan Peters, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Lucas Till, Josh Helman, Lana Condor, Ben Hardy
Director: Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men, X-Men 2)
Bryan Singer has confirmed the film will take place in 1983 and will feature other familiar characters in their youth.
According to Simon Kinberg, this will be the final film in the First Class story arc, which also consisted of X-Men: First Class (2011) and X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014). Kinberg calls this film the culmination of Xavier and Lensherr's relationship: "First Class was about Erik becoming empowered, the origin story of a man's power. Days of Future Past was about Charles becoming empowered, a guy who is a mess but masterminds the end of a massive event. This film has them both at their peak and finally going at each other!"
Tom Hardy and Idris Elba were considered for the role of Apocalypse.
Bryan Singer chose Apocalypse as the antagonist to examine the origins of mutants on Earth: "It deals with ancient mutantism, the origins of the mutant state; or the origin of gods and religion. There's a mixture of ancient religion and cultism in the character of Apocalypse."
Although not in the movie, Charles Xavier actor Patrick Stewart jokingly informed Bryan Singer that he would be willing to play Mystique should Jennifer Lawrence "start playing up". He said: "I am so ready to be naked, painted blue, and the world is ready for it too."
Hugh Jackman announced that X-Men: Apocalypse and Untitled Wolverine Sequel (2017) will be his last portrayal as Wolverine. He will be retiring from the role after playing the character since 2000.
For the role of Charles Xavier, James McAvoy shaved his head. It was something he had wanted to do in the previous X-Men films.
The film was to be called "Age of Apocalypse", after the comic of the same name. But this was changed to simply "Apocalypse" for a more ominous title, as well as to avoid comparison with Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) and Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014).
According to Simon Kinberg, this will contain more mass destruction than any of the previous X-Men films. Kinberg states: "We've spent the most time talking about creating a character that's the most powerful mutant villain that we've seen in the X-Men movies so far, more powerful than Magneto or the Phoenix! The kind of scope and scale we're talking about is like a disaster movie featuring an extinction-level event. We're talking Michael Bay/Roland Emmerich-style moviemaking, which you've never seen in an X-Men movie, or any superhero movie."