Directed by Bryan Singer
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Oscar Issac
When it comes to Fox’s X-Men franchise nerds everywhere are divided pretty much right down the middle on them. Outside of the universally despised films (“X-Men 3” and “Wolverine: Origins”) you are either on the side that believes the MCU should gain full control back of their mutant characters or on the side that enjoy Bryan Singer’s vision of the story and these characters.
It’s a real life fan boy Civil War but I do find myself on the side of the latter here. “X-Men 2” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past” are great, even underatted films in my mind and I’ll defend that quality with my blood and guts against every MCU fan boy out there (and let’s face it, the MCU ain’t perfect either).
So that’s why it pains me to finally say Singer’s latest film “X-Men: Apocalypse” is fucking trash and the MCU now deserve their X-Men back.
“X-Men: Apocalypse” takes place 10 years after the events of the last film as Professor Charles Xavier runs his mutant academy full-time and Erik Lehnsherr tries to live a peaceful life with a wife and daughter in Poland. But after some crazy cultists in Egypt decide to resurrect a 10,000 year old mutant Pharaoh (which is never fully explained why) shit hits the fan as Xavier’s students and former friend Raven try to stop him.
I’m not sure where to begin with this critique because there are so many things wrong. Before I go on the rest of this review will contain some SPOILERS so continue on at your own peril.
This film didn’t make me angry like “Dawn of Justice” or “The Amazing Spider-man 2” but it made feel nothing which is arguably worst!
For starters, the film doesn’t have a true main character because it cannot make up its mind who to follow. At times it feels like we should be following Jennifer Lawrence’s deadpan Mystique around, then suddenly it’ll feel like MacAvoy’s Professor X story, then Tye Sheridan’s Cyclops (to his credit the best version of the character so far, which isn’t saying much) and even fucking Evan Peters’ Quicksilver whom even with additional screentime can’t lift himself out of a terrible script.
(Still more interesting than this version at least…)
The point is these major blockbusters have to have a central character for us to follow and give a shit about and the film’s unwillingness to decide on who we should care most about and get invested in makes the film feel disjointed and incomplete. It’s as if an intern at Fox walked into Singer’s office with a script for each major character, tripped and fell causing all the papers to scatter, then decided to go with the mix match of scripts in the movie.
This creates some of the worst editing issues I have ever seen in a film. It feels more like a collection of deleted scenes in multiple extended edition DVDs than a coherent story. “Dawn of Justice” was a poorly edited and pieced together movie but “X-Men: Apocalypse” makes that film look like it was directed by fucking Wes Anderson by comparison.
(Only way to really understand the X-Men timeline)
There are just so many unneeded scenes, characters and plotlines in this film. In fact, a quality film editor probably could’ve shaved this film’s overly drawn out two and half hour running time by half easily.
For instance, It was nice to see Jubilee have a speaking role in the film, small victory for us Asian Americans there, but she doesn’t do much other than speak once in the first third of the film and just disappears afterward (doesn’t even use her powers ONCE!).
Apocalypse is somehow even less interesting despite being in the film longer. He’s so forgettable as this big, dumb, evil, blue brute and Oscar Issac doesn’t even give us the courtesy of a hammy performance like Lee Pace’s Ronan in “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
(Acted with more ham and cheese than every $5 dollar footlong in the world)
As mentioned there were tons of unneeded scenes in the film. There was absolutely no point to the main characters being captured by Colonel Stryker other than the weakest, most pointless cameo of Wolverine to date. I love Hugh Jackman as the character as much as the next fanboy but can studio execs trust that we can go just ONE film without an appearance of Wolverine??
(How studio execs reacted when someone asked if they could leave Wolverine out of the film)
At this point in the series too, how many fucking times can we have a “Let’s redeem Magneto” storyline? Look, Michael Fassbender is a fantastic actor and his portrayal of Magneto is on par with Tom Hiddleston’s Loki (arguably better) and far out does 99 percent of the MCU in the villain category but C’MON we’ve done this twice already in the last two films! When is he just going to finally learn to stop being an asshole! In fact in this film I would say that while his wife and child dying is indeed very tragic and would push a lot of people understandably over the edge, deciding it’s ok then to wipe out the ENTIRE human race has officially made him unredeemable in my eyes.
At the end of the movie we see him just casually talking and laughing with Professor X and all I’m thinking is “Hahahaha!!…millions of people died.”
(”Hey come back here and unfuck this, you asshole!”)
But the most offensive thing about the narrative of this movie is Jennifer Lawrence and her overblown importance as Mystique. It really shows that Fox doesn’t give a fuck about the source material and just wants to make money because, as far as my knowledge of the character goes, when has Mystique ever been this important to the X-Men storyline, let alone a leader?
And this has everything to do with Jennifer Lawrence and less about the character she’s portraying. She’s a top draw in Hollywood I get it, except I don’t because in my opinion she’s nothing special. She’s not a bad actress but she may as well be the Roman Reigns of the X-Men world with her importance continuously shoved down our throat throughout the film.
(As Jennifer Lawrence: “I’m not a good actress. I’m not a bad actress. I’m THE actress. BELIEVE THAT!”)
This may have been acceptable if it looked like she at least gave a shit during her scenes but Lawrence looks visibly bored and disinterested in the film. Granted her lines are fucking terrible (“Forget everything that you know” *epic groaning*) but shiiiit even McAvoy and Fassbender remained dedicated professionals to the bitter fucking end. It’s clear that she doesn’t like the source material and when you have one of your main actors looking like she’s about to get her cavities filled at the dental office it brings the whole film down.
(Yeah, you look away from the shame.)
It’s sad to see a stellar cast and source material reduced to a disjointed, two and half hour, mess after what is in my opinion a great film in “Days of Future Past.” It’s not even fun bad like “Dawn of Justice” was; you’ll spend way more time groaning than laughing during this film.
The result of all this is the most forgettable super hero film to date, as I can’t think of a single scene that I cared for in the movie. I have defended Bryan Singer fully for many years now in defiance of the blockbuster juggernaut that is the MCU but now I can unequivocally say that Marvel deserves their mutants back.
So give custody of the X-Men back to Marvel, Fox because much like Apocalypse’s big dumb face this film made faithful fans like me pretty blue. Enough is enough.
Visual representation of this movie.