Hey gang, Valkor here. This year’s films based on comic book properties is the most anticipated ever, simply because we’re getting so much that us fans have been wanting; think about it, we got Batman facing off against Superman, Deadpool in all his R-rated glory, and even Marvel’s Civil War successfully made the big screen jump. Hit or miss, you can’t deny how awesome, at least in some aspect, these films are. The next film on deck, we get the X-Men, who will face off against one of their greatest foes in “X-Men: Apocalypse”. Is it as awesome as “Civil War” or will it face harsh criticism like “Batman v. Superman”? Let’s find out. Oh and prepare for some spoilers!
“X-Men: Apocalypse” takes place ten years after the events of “Days of Future Past”, where we have a new batch of the X-Crew adjusting to life inside of “Xavier’s School for the Gifted”. But little do they know there’s a new threat on the looming on the horizon in the form of Apocalypse, who is considered to be the “first mutant” and has just awakened from a 100-year nap. And no sooner does he emerge, the dude wastes little time in gathering up his newest Four Horseman – Storm, Psylocke, Archangel, and Magneto. He even goes so far as to amplify their powers. Why is he going through all of this? Apocalypse realizes that the world that he once knew is plagued with a race of humans with too much power on their hands and that mutants should be at the forefront of its conquest, with only the strongest being amongst his rank, which will then set the stage for his new world order. He kicks things off by snagging mental control of Charles Xavier, gaining control of those in charge of the world's nukes and launches them off into space in a spectacular display. And now the X-Men, which features members of the “First Class” crew - Hank aka Beast, Charles Xavier and Mystique, must lead a new batch of recruits (more like teenage versions of their former selves) - Cyclops, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler and Quicksilver to face off against Apocalypse and his crew to save the world.
There’s a lot going on beyond the main story of "X-Men Apocalypse" as we also deal with Magneto’s journey down the dark path as once again he’s dealt another tragic blow. We’re also given Cyclop’s origin and how he deals with his new found and dangerous powers, and we’re reintroduced to Wolverine and his Weapon X storyline, which I’m assuming, wipes out “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” film since we now have Jean Grey setting him free from his binds. And speaking of Jean Grey, fans will be in for a nice surprise at the climax of the film. Lastly, we touch on the relationship between Quicksilver and Magneto, though that book isn’t fully closed.
And don’t forget to stick around for the post-credits scene, which hopefully leads into the next film. And if it is, who I think it is then it’s about time we get to see a big screen version of this baddy.
I didn’t think Bryan Singer and company could ever go bigger or bolder than “Days”, but I’m glad I was wrong because “X-Men: Apocalypse” is not only bigger, it’s also bolder and it hits way harder than any of the X-Films to date. Is it a better film than “Days”? Not quite, because I had more fun with the previous film, yet “Apocalypse” does enough combining a solid story, awesome action, a host of new characters and tons of other stuff that make the experience equally enjoyable. The story is kept pretty simple and I’ll admit, I was expecting something more complex, maybe a bit preachy; but I’m thankful that wasn’t the case. And the film is a sequel in the truest of sense, since it doesn’t waste too much time on any one character’s backstory; a prime example of this is how briefly we deal with Apocalypse’s story - once he arrives in present day, the film hits the floor running with him beginning his takeover without focusing on his past. The film also gives us a richer look into some of its main characters, such as Magneto, who has to deal with a wave of emotions as he takes on the darkness set upon him, but we also see a softer side of the character as well. Then there’s Xavier, who we see acting as mentor to his students but also we see him use his powers in ways only seen in the comics; there’s a scene where Apocalypse is communicating to the world through Xavier, but Xavier sneaks in a mental message to Jean Grey, without being none the wiser. I’ll admit… I had a geek moment. Next, the action in this film is pretty intense and people actually die, plus we lose a main character. And the level of destruction is at an all-time high! Overall, “X-Men: Apocalypse” is filled with some amazing action sequences; watching Nightcrawler “bampf” his way to victory against Angel, Wolverine slicing his way to freedom, or how about Xavier vs. Apocalypse duking it out on a mental plane? Shit yea that was awesome! And while I thought the Quicksilver scene was more of the same as in “Days”, it was still fun to watch and thankfully they took away his headphones, which made no sense before. Moving on towards the acting, I gotta give huge props to Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy, for the continued growth of their characters as well as bringing us along for an emotional trip. Actually, these two were the highpoint of the film, and while I thought Oscar Isaac did a fair enough job as Apocalypse… well, I’ll talk more about that in the next section. The film features a huge ensemble cast that makes up many familiar X-characters, who thankfully, get just enough screen time for you to appreciate them being in the picture. Sadly, the only person really underappreciated is Jubilee; I assumed by how much she was involved in the marketing that she’d have a role in the final battle, but once the school is destroyed, she was nowhere to be seen after that. Bummer. In the end, “X-Men: Apocalypse” does a wonderful job of avoiding “trilogy hell” and is a worthwhile addition to this new batch of X-films.
My only real complaint falls on Apocalypse; in the comics, I think he’s an awesome villain who is very powerful and frightening. Yet, I wasn’t quite feeling the character in this film, as he comes across as weak, frail and less imposing than his comic book counterpart. Oscar Isaac still leaves a strong impression and gives an amazing performance, but the character overall is just… meh.
“X-Men: Apocalypse” is a solid film and an excellent addition to the X-Men franchise; is it perfect? Not really, but with loads of characters, great visuals, an awesome story and a buttload of action, makes this film a must see summer experience fans of the comics and even non-fans can enjoy. So, out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving “X-Men: Apocalypse” a 4.