Director - Bryan Singer
Cast - James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Oscar Isaac
Rating - 2.5/5
Amidst all the CGI chaos, robot armies and feuding men in tights, it’s easy to forget that it all began with the X-Men back in 2000. This Golden Age of Superhero Films that we find ourselves in, for better or for worse, is because Bryan Singer made that first film. And X-Men: Apocalypse, the ninth in the series, is fully aware of the high benchmark Singer set more than a decade ago.
It tries, desperately, to do what The Force Awakens did – to tread familiar territory, provide fan service, and push the already grand saga forward – but it doesn’t quite succeed.
The problems with the film aren’t too difficult to identify. It’s overstuffed with characters, plot and, for 2016, indefensibly guilty of inconsistent effects work. Preoccupied with continuing the story for yet another trilogy of films, it ignores the necessity of satisfyingly closing out this one.
I’m also not convinced Apocalypse works as an isolated piece of storytelling. Honestly, we’ve accepted the fact that the X-Men series won’t be ending any time soon, so the least Singer could have done was to treat Apocalypse as a stand-alone movie, and not just another in the assembly line. It hurts the very foundations of the genre he helped build.
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Without the emotional heft of the earlier movies, a lot of this film’s most dramatic scenes (and the SINGLE action set-piece) possibly would not land. True, the internal chronology of this series is broken irreparably by now, but come on.
But there are positives as well. The Greek tragedy that is Erik Lensherr’s story is brought to life stunningly by Michael Fassbender. He is – and I refuse to use another word – magnetic, as are most of the new cast members. They help take the spotlight away from a rather anticlimactic villain.
Bryan Singer returns to some of his old favourites: Holocaust imagery, allegory for LGBT people, but it was done so much better in X-2 and First Class. The series was always about the outcasts, the misfits, the ones beaten down. It’s unfortunate then that Apocalypse spends so much of its time trying to fit in.