X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

Eh. I’m fine with the apocalypse after all.

Taking place exactly ten years after the events that occurred in Days of Futures Past, the X-Men have now all found themselves enjoying some idea of lives of luxury. While they are still mutants with miraculous powers and looked at as “weirdos who can’t be trusted in a normal, civilized world”, they still get by solely through depending on one another’s good will. Professor X (James McAvoy) is still teaching classes, Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is trying to keep the peace among the mutants and humans, Magneto (Michael Fassbender) now lives a comfortable life out in the woods of Serbia, where he has a wife, kid, and a solid job where nobody knows a single thing about him or his checkered past. So yeah, for awhile, it seems like everything’s all fine and dandy for the X-Men, until, after decades upon decades of sleeping, a powerful mutant by the name of Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) wakes up and plans on destroying the world with some of the most ferocious and powerful mutants out there who haven’t already been taken in by Xavier. This means that a battle between two sides of good and evil is about to occur, and who chooses which side is totally up in the air.

He's still a cool hipster-kind of guy.
He’s still a cool hipster-kind of guy.

Bryan Singer clearly loves the X-Men stories and it’s one of the main reasons why he’s been able to not only keep his career alive, but even their own stories. Even when Origins came in and seemed to destroy the franchise for good, he came back to help, and give everyone their favorite mutants that nobody knew that they loved and/or missed. He not only found a way to make their plight a sad and sympathetic one, but to also make their adventures actually interesting to watch and play out, especially when they’re all putting their mutant powers to the test.

And now, with Apocalypse, his fourth X-Men movie to-date, it appears that Singer may have run out of things to actually say about all of these mutants and what makes them tick. While I don’t think it’s necessarily his fault, it’s also hard to wonder where to take this story and these characters next; sure, you can give them plenty more evil-doers to go head-to-head with, but after awhile, it can just become conventional. And also, when all of your drama is about each and everyone of these characters just sitting around and moping about how “the rest of the world doesn’t accept them”, it can get a bit tiring.

So why tell these stories anymore?

Well, obviously, it’s all for money. They still make a pretty penny at the box office and it probably won’t change any time soon, however, I can’t help but think a similar superhero movie like Civil War, where it’s clear that there’s a lot going on, with so many different people, and yet, it all comes together so damn smoothly, will make ones like these pale in comparison. After all, Singer is taking on a whole lot of different plot threads, with a whole lot of characters to deal with and develop over a near two-and-a-half-hour run-time, so it would only make sense that he take care in making sure each and everyone gets their due, right?

Surprisingly, Singer doesn’t quite do this. In a way, it appears that there’s many characters with something to do or say, that after awhile, he just cobbles them all up together, and relies solely on the talented cast’s presence to pick up the pieces whenever they can. It’s not a bad idea, especially when you have such a great cast to work with like this, but there’s also that feeling that Singer doesn’t quite know how to develop this story anymore and just seems to be going through the motions.

We get plenty of action and most of it’s good, but when there’s no heart or emotion surrounding it, does any of it matter? It’s hard to imagine an X-Men universe without some of the core characters and actors that made the original franchise so damn appealing and iconic, but unfortunately, the creative team has set it all up that way. We won’t get many more glimpses of Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, and even Anna Paquin – instead, we’ll just get more and more of James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, Evan Peters, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tye Sheridan, Nicholas Hoult, and Sophie Turner.

New Wave = Villains
Everyone’s favorite New Wave cover band.

Is this necessarily a bad thing? Of course not.

In fact, that cast is so good, I’m honestly surprised that I didn’t care more for these characters once it was all said and done. But that’s the issue with Apocalypse – there’s so much going on, with so many people around and about, that no one person gets enough to do or make a case for why they exist. We’ve got so many great actors here and ready to play, yet, the material’s just not there; it’s all focused on building this villain and this predictable conclusion that will lead to the goodies, facing off against him.

And as the baddie, yes, Oscar Isaac gets to have some fun. However, because he’s so covered and hidden underneath all of that make-up, it really feels like a waste of a good actor. He gets to act all sorts of evil, what with his powers and all, but really, there’s not much else to him; all he wants to do is destroy the world because, well, why not? It’s so typical and it seems like a missed-opportunity for having someone as good as Isaac in a main role. Same goes for Olivia Munn, who literally shows up for pure sex-appeal, is given nothing to do and is expected to be an interesting character for future installments to come.

There will definitely be future installments people, but know this: They have to get better.

They just have to.

Consensus: With so much going on, Apocalypse becomes a mess that Bryan Singer tries so desperately to save, but only gets by because of a good cast and solid-looking action. But in a year of already two great superhero movies, it’s going to take a lot for this franchise to make its presence felt.

6 / 10

"Hey guys! If we look close enough, we may be able to see other superhero movies coming very, very soon!"
“Hey guys! If we look close enough, we may be able to see more superhero movies coming very, very soon!”

Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire


  1. Good review Dan. I agree with this 100%. Nothing about this movie made me all that excited. I felt as if it was mostly dull and was going nowhere. Hopefully the next movie can make everyone forget about this!

  2. I loved the first two movies of this new trilogy (especially the second one, which ranks among my favorite superhero movies ever alongside the The Dark Knight Returns and Civil War), I love the main actors, and I love the X-Men universe. However, this movie left me completely cold with the exception of the Magneto storyline. It’s a shame.

  3. Rated this way lower than you did. I was excited for Apocalypse because I love the 90’s cartoons and read some of the comics, and then he was used as some plot device for the erik-charles bromance and mystique hero story (I have a feeling that they made her one of the good guys because of Jennifer Lawrence).

  4. Probably wont see this till next week but I’m definitely gonna see it. Thanks for adding the Olivia Munn part, I been wondering how she did. Good review!

  5. I was really disappointed by this movie, I love the X-Men Films, and was really excited with the idea of Apocalypse finally making his mark on the series, but I felt that Apocalypse himself was under done/used. Isaac does play it well and at times Apocalypse and Isaac are the ground basis for some of the film’s biggest and best moments, but, for such a character like Apocalypse, we get to see very little of his true abilities, mostly residing to be this prophet, not the power house he is.

    I really did enjoy Sophie Turner in this film. The main leads of this film really were struggling and were really toned down an uninteresting and were involved in some really stupid plots, like McAvoy and Byrne, but Turner really shined for me, particularly in the third act.

    For the most part, it was like nothing was going on, There were moments where an interesting story was happening, but then it would be 10-15 minutes before it would be mentioned again. It all did not start coming together until the third act, where again there were moments where it was just slow, with no real action.

    A big disappointment for me, especially because I was so excited for it. I have hope that the series will get better, because it has shown that A} it can and B} do it in a big way. But I also hope that Apocalypse can make an appearance again, because I like him as a character, and because they were so close with him in this one. Despite all the issues though, his film did one amazing thing (in my opinion), it created the best Movie Quote this year.

    “Everything they built will fall. And from the ashes of their world; we’ll build a better one.”

  6. We agree on parts of this, especially with respect to Olivia Munn. I don’t think Oscar Isaac’s talents were wasted, though. I think a lesser actor would’ve made Apocalypse feel a bit cartoonish, whereas Isaac made him badass, even with the terrible makeup/costume design. I gave it higher marks with my review, but I’m glad you didn’t flush this one like a lot of critics did. Nice write-up, as always, even if we didn’t fully agree! And I think Bryan Singer’s career has stalled a bit because of his love for comic book movies. He directed Usual Suspects, after all!

  7. Still haven’t seen it and will only probably see it because of Evan Peters. I have a bad feeling about too many stars cast in this movie.

    But great review, as per usual.

  8. I think following a solid film like X-men: Days of Future Past set this movie at a disadvantage. I’m so far into franchises like this that it doesn’t really matter what comes out, I’m probably still going to enjoy films like this. However, we’ve seen super hero films a lot better than this one and I know they can do better.

    I came out of this movie more excited for future films as indicated by certain scenes in this film than I was from the actual film. That is a little bit of a shame because I think they had a lot going for this film and it was just underwhelming.

  9. I left the cinema feeling really bored, Apocalypse didn’t convey the sense of dread you want in a villain. I felt that his own “horsemen” were just background except for Magneto. I found it all repetitive really. After Days of Futures Past, there was so much energy and fun, It reminded me of the cartoon series, It feels like it was all left behind for the mess of cgi and talking that bored the s*** out of me at times that I was laughing at some scenes. I will give it one plus, it was slightly better than Jupiter Ascending which only had one thing going for it – Kunis.

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