a critiQal film review X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

Plot: Apocalypse (Isaac), the first and most powerful mutant, 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 (Fassbender), to cleanse mankind and create a new world order. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Raven (Lawrence) with the help of Professor X (McAvoy), must lead a team of young X-Men to stop their greatest nemesis and save mankind from complete destruction.

509 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 32s)

When I heard X-Men: Apocalpyse was headed to theaters, I was excited. With X-Men: First Class (2011) starting a whole new prequel series, and X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) basically re-invigorating the series with a whole new set of possibilities, this latest film should have all new surprises in store. Plus, I thought we might see the big screen debut of famous Marvel nemesis, Darkseid (from the planet Apokolips). After seeing the trailer, however, I realized this wasn’t Darkseid, and instead was the villain Apocalypse, so decided to wait for the DVD.

Now that X-Men: Apocalypse is available to own, I was still pretty excited to see what interesting things this prequel sequel could come up with. Would it be as good as the previous efforts, or has this series stagnated?

James McAvoy continues to do an excellent job as a young Charles Xavier, as does Michael Fassbender as a younger Magneto. The rest of the cast, including the normally excellent Nicholas Hoult and a rather miscast Jennifer Lawrence, aren’t as entertaining, but Evan Peters as Quicksilver finally gets a larger role, and Sophie Turner and Tye Sheridan aren’t half bad as young Jean Grey and Scott Summers, respectively. There’s also a brief, mandated performance by Hugh Jackman as Wolverine (of course), although he plays a much smaller part in this film than viewers may expect.

The biggest problem with X-Men: Apocalypse, however, lies with the villains. While Oscar Isaac is decent, if uninspiring, as Apocalypse himself, the film actually seems to relegate his importance to second place behind the surprise-he’s-bad-again Magneto. While Magneto (played by Ian McKellen) was a riveting bad guy in the original trilogy of films, the wishy-washy Magneto in the prequels is getting old.

If they are going to call the film X-Men: Apocalypse, they should keep Magneto on the good guy side and focus all of their energy on making Apocalypse the main evil. Instead, the whiny Apocalypse seems to lean on Magneto to do a lot of the dirty work, rather than really showcasing what he can do. Sure, he eventually gets to shine a bit, but using Magneto as a crutch only hinders his powers in the eyes of the viewer.

While Apocalypse is new, and the film also gives us a glimpse at a young Storm, the Magneto-as-bad-guy plot really detracts from the excitement of the film. After the game-changing events of [post id=16898], viewers are expecting something special to follow that up with. Instead, X-Men: Apocalypse feels more like a retread, giving us the same strife between Professor X and Magneto. Despite more involvement from Quicksilver, and Jean Grey’s power boosting efforts, this latest film is a bit too familiar to get really excited about.

Right now, the X-Men series has a lot in common with the Jurassic Park (1993) sequels. They rely on the same villains (there, it was velociraptors; here it’s Magneto) and try to replay the success of the previous film. Hopefully, just as Jurassic World (2015) made that series fun again, the inevitable next X-Men film will liven up this series as well.

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