Josh and Violet share their male vs. female perspective reviews of X-Men: Apocalypse, directed by Bryan Singer, and featuring a star-studded cast that includes Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Sophie Turner, Oscar Isaac, and many more!
Violet’s Movie Review of
Director Bryan Singer returns to direct X-Men: Apocalypse, having also directed the most recent X-Men film, X-Men: Days of Future Past, as well as the first two films in the franchise, X-Men and X2: X-Men United. The film stars returning cast members James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters, and Rose Byrne, as well as several new cast members, including Oscar Isaac, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, and more.
X-Men: Apocalypse takes place in 1983, which is ten years after the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past. Things are presumably a little different than the original X-Men timeline, before history was rewritten. However, some things appear to be the same. Professor X still has his School for Gifted Youngsters, which young Jean Grey and Scott Summers attend due to their mutant powers. But this time around, En Sabah Nur, aka Apocalypse, the first mutant, is unearthed and awakened after having been asleep since ancient Egyptian times. He goes on to recruit his “Four Horsemen,” which are four other mutants, to help him carry out his mission: to destroy the world so that he can remake it how he wants. However, several mutants band together as a team of X-Men in an effort to prevent that from happening.
For full disclosure’s sake, I will admit that I went into X-Men: Apocalypse with relatively low expectations, given that I had heard about all the mixed reviews prior to its release. Additionally, I just wasn’t all that excited about the movie going into it, given that two of the actors that made the X-Men franchise great, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan, would not be in the movie. I knew that this movie was going to be all about the newer, younger actors, which, I confess, I wasn’t really looking forward to. But I was still holding out hope in the back of my mind that X-Men: Apocalypse would surprise me and end up being great, considering how much I loved X-Men: Days of Future Past, which was helmed by the same director. At the end of X-Men: Apocalypse, I walked out of the theater thinking, “That wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.” Which isn’t exactly a glowing review, but nor is it a scathing one. But you know what? I had a good time.
Like any X-Men movie, there’s a good amount of action, and it’s fun to see mutants employ their various powers. In particular, Quicksilver once again has a show-stealing scene. But it’s not all just fun and games, and although the movie does have some humorous moments, the overall tone is serious. We get to see some powerfully emotional and dramatic scenes. Most of the performances are very good, though in a few cases, some of the acting was a bit underwhelming. This could be because some of the characters were a bit underutilized, so we didn’t get much of a chance to witness much of the acting. That was probably as a result of there being so many characters in the movie that it was hard to give everyone their fair share of screen time, which is a shame, because there were quite a few strong female characters that it would have been nice to have seen have more screen time and do more significant things.
One aspect of the film that pulled me in was the Ancient Egypt setting. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been fascinated with that time period, and the pyramids, so the film’s portrayal of this setting was something that grabbed my attention. On the other hand, one of my favorite subgenres is the Apocalypse, but for some reason, that part of the film didn’t grab me like I thought it would. Maybe it was that the villain in general suffered from the same problem that most Marvel villains do: that their motivations for being bad guys and doing what they do are underdeveloped. When it came down to it, the ending and resolution were just not as exciting as I would have liked.
As for the visuals, for the most part, the special effects and CGI were good. However, there were a couple instances where certain things looked really fake to me.
X-Men: Apocalypse is not the best X-Men movie, but nor is it the worst. Overall, I enjoyed myself. It will be interesting to see where things go from here in the X-Men franchise, as we were left with a pretty good setup of things to come.
My rating: 7.5/10
Josh’s Movie Review of
Since seeing footage of the film at Comic-Con last year, I was pretty excited for X-Men: Apocalypse. Add to that, this movie was coming in on the heels of X-Men: Days of Future Past (read our review of X-Men: Days of Future Past) which is arguably the best X-Men movie to date, I had high expectations for the film. To add even more to my hype, while I didn’t read many X-Men comics as a kid, I really enjoyed Apocalypse in the X-Men animated series, and was looking forward to seeing Apocalypse in the “flesh,” especially because Bryan Singer is known for being a fan of the animated series as well. So needless to say, I was really hoping for X-Men: Apocalypse to be amazing. Unfortunately, I need to learn to temper my expectations; otherwise I will be sorely disappointed.
X-Men: Apocalypse was directed again by Bryan Singer, who has now directed 4 of the X-Men films. The cast is a pretty massive cast. We have Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, James McAvoy as Professor X, Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse, Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, Tye Sheridan as Cyclops, Evan Peters as Quicksilver, Rose Byrne as Moira MacTaggert, and the list goes on. There is a lot of talent on the film, but unfortunately that talent doesn’t make up for the weak story in the film. Now, X-Men: Apocalypse is one of the weaker films, but it certainly is not as bad as some of the other, more terrible ones, namely X3: The Last Stand or X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Let’s start with the good. Most of Magneto’s storyline was done very well. Him wanting just a simple life back in Poland, settling down as a metalworker (just can’t stay away from metal can he?), with a potential wife and family was heart-felt, particularly when it all comes crashing down. This storyline certainly gives credence to his reasons for joining Apocalypse, which was a concern I had going into the movie.
I also really enjoyed the scene with Wolverine. It not only explained where Wolverine was in the 80s, but also provided a good plot device for the new X-Men to be able to escape the base, as well as a set up for when Wolverine eventually joins the X-Men in subsequent films (hopefully we can have Wolverine back in one form or another considering Hugh Jackman is just about done as Wolverine).
I also thought the set up for Apocalypse was done really well. I was surprised how well it was done, especially in the beginning when we see the original Four Horsemen. The mythology of this seemingly god on Earth was very intriguing, especially when coupled with this group of rebels who are set on taking him down during his regeneration process. I thought that was done really well.
There was also some great humor to the movie. Cyclops has a couple great scenes, and of course, Quicksilver steals his scene yet again, with an amazing rescue scene that is done really well.
As for what I did not like, unfortunately there is a fair amount to talk about. One big issue with the film was how much it dragged. At about the hour mark, the movie started to feel pretty slow. The movie also felt like it was setting up way too much, and not really getting to the conflict between the X-Men and Apocalypse. The conflict between the two didn’t seem consequential until the final 30 minutes, when the parties finally actually come face to face. In order for Apocalypse to feel menacing, he should have had some face-to-face interactions with the X-Men before the final confrontation.
While I enjoyed Magneto for much of the movie, I think he was severely misused in the ending. Having him simply making swirls of metals, in a metal sphere was really underwhelming. For such a powerful being, I would have expected a lot more from Magneto in the movie, no matter which side he was on.
But in general, the ending was fairly flat. It was supposed to be an epic climax, but mostly, it felt underwhelming. There were a couple of scenes that were fun, but mostly it felt like characters standing around “throwing” things at each other, or doing very choreographed moves. It certainly did not have the action packed punch it should have.
Additionally, the new mutants could have been a lot less underwhelming. Aside from a few fun scenes, Jean Grey, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Archangel, Storm, and especially Psylocke where all underutilized, which is partially because of the massive cast for the movie. There is only so much screen time for all of the mutants, and unfortunately it was not done very well.
One final complaint I have, which I discussed with David, who has written a few things for the site: How did Apocalypse choose his Horsemen? It looked like he just picked the first four half-way decent mutants he came across. If you look at the X-Men—Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Jean Grey, for example, they are so much more powerful than Apocalypse’s Horsemen. Magneto, followed by Storm, are pretty powerful mutants, but the iteration of Psylocke we have so far, and Angel seem like unworthy mutants for someone like Apocalypse, who is looking for the best of the best. But I digress.
While I was underwhelmed in general by the movie, I am excited to see what the future holds for the X-Men. It looks like based on the post-credits scene we can look forward to Mr. Sinister, which could be really exciting. As for a score for the film, it is tough to say on this one. I think I would go with a 7 though, as it certainly was not horrible, but there could have been a lot of improvement.