Fox continues their good run to wash the bad taste of last year’s abysmal (and I’m using this term generously) F4ntastic from our collective minds with X-Men Apocalypse, the third installment in the ‘McAvoy Timeline’ of X-Movies. Taking one of mutantkind’s toughest enemies and bringing back their most iconic X-Men for a new generation, Bryan Singer seems to have found a recipe for success here.
X-Men Apocalypse’s plot, while very straightforward and just a mite bit predictable, does what it needs to do. This movie’s strength lies in the characters and how they play off of one another.
The cast is where this movie shines. McAvoy and Fassbender still continues to shine in their roles as Charles and Erik, of course, but I’m giving the strongest performances here to the new blood and (hopefully) our X-Men moving forward. Scott Summers (Tye Sheridan), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), and Kurt Wagner (Kodi Smit-McPhee) all show great chemistry together along with the sadly underused Jubilee (Lana Condor) as believeable teenagers being pulled from their daily lives to fight an apocalyptic threat. X-Mainstays Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), Alex Summers (Lucas Till), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), and Peter (need to learn not to always say Pietro) Maximoff (Evan Peters) with the returning Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) all turn out great performances. Our surprise guest, who I’ll just refer to ‘X’ for some of you who haven’t seen the more recent trailers, also appeared shortly but quite memorably.
On the bad guy side, we have of course, our Apoecalypse, Oscar Isaac, who does a good job with what he’s given playing card-carrying evil villain En Sabah Nur who thankfully doesn’t look like Ivan Ooze anymore. Despite limited screentime and lines, the other Three Horsemen Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), and Angel (Ben Hardy) had their moments, though they could’ve posed a bigger threat to our heroes.
While Peter did try to steal the show again this time, it was Nightcrawler that caught my eye the most this time around. This Kurt is much more awkward and he managed to score some of the funniest moments in the movie, and he turns out to be one of the best things about the movie.
Visually, Apocalypse (the movie) is a treat. From the opening credits, we’re treated with a dope-ass opening taking us through history and kudos to the good people working on that because that is one of the best opening credits in an X-Movie so far. Then there’s the creative ways people get killed. Burned to ash, crushed, melted, being psionically compacted, you name it. I was both cringing and fanboying at the creativity of some of these kills most of the time. The final sequence of the movie was also quite a sight to behold, with fights happening every which way and everyone’s powers being shown in full force.
Those of you eagle-eyed fans of the comics and fans of eighties culture in general, you’re also in for a treat. Nods to the comics and snippets of the eighties are strewn about everywhere in the movie. Some classic characters might also make a passing appearance here and there. Fans of the old X-Men vs Street Fighter game might also find something oddly familiar in the movie. Easter egg hunters will have a field day with this one.
Be sure to stay around for the stinger. I have two witnesses who can attest to the fact that I screamed LOUD by the time that ended.
Bottom line, X-Men Apocalypse, while nothing groundbreaking, is all fun, without the time travel and alternate timelines fuss that seems to have a lot of people’s knickers in a twist. All the excitement, none of the confusion.