Movie Review: X-Men: Apocalypse

Not bad.

|

X-Men
Twentieth Century Fox

Do we really need a fourth super-hero movie in a year that isn't even half over yet? Maybe not. But despite some nose-holding early reviews, X-Men: Apocalypse turns out to be a pretty good one, rivaling its well-regarded predecessor, X-Men: Days of Future Past.

For the new movie, returning director Bryan Singer and his co-writing team have worked up a richly pulpy story, launching it in ancient Egypt and then leaping ahead to 1983 to skulk around the back alleys of Cairo (scenes that have a decided Indiana Jones feel) and a dank underground fight club in Cold War East Berlin. Singer is careful to allot sufficient screen time to his many super-characters, but he also keeps things moving along at a crisp pace—a blessing in a film that runs the usual two and a half hours in length. Until the picture wanders off into the shop-worn clichés of digital Armageddon toward the end, there's not really a lot to gripe about.

The bad guy this time around is an all-powerful brute called Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac, entombed in Golem-like prosthetics). Apocalypse, we're told, was the world's first mutant—the original X-Man, you might say. Created in the valley of the Nile circa 3600 BCE, he awakes in a bad mood from a dirt nap of many millennia. Looking around at the modern world, he finds it disgusting, filled with weaklings and in desperate need of remaking. (He's the Doug Neidermeyer of the super-set.) Is there anyone who can stop him? Possibly.

The X-Men, still in franchise prequel mode, are largely a familiar bunch. Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) is still running his mutant school in upstate New York, and his charges still include Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult), super-speedy Peter Maximoff/Quicksilver (Evan Peters), and the power-blasting Alex Summers/Havok (Lucas Till). Shape-shifting Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is around, too; but Xavier's longtime on-and-off friend Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender)—the formidable Magneto, commander of metals—has retired to his native Poland, where he works in a lowly iron foundry to support his wife and small daughter. (Also back on the scene, although she's not a mutant, is Xavier's old squeeze, the brainy CIA agent Moira Mactaggart, played again by Rose Byrne.)

Freshening things up are several X-Men newbies: the young mind-messer Jean Grey (Sophie Turner, of Game of Thrones); the teleporting Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee); the explosive Jubilee (Lana Condor); and Havok's brother, the laser-eyed Scott Summers/Cyclops (Tye Sheridan). In addition, Apocalypse has recruited his own mutant crew: the wing-flapping Angel (Ben Hardy), weather girl Storm (Alexandra Shipp), and the ninja-esque Psylocke (Olivia Munn, carrying the flag for the old-school super-babe body suit).

Okay, so what are all these people up to? Well, Apocalypse just wants to control and then destroy the world, of course, and he believes he can do it by laying hold of Xavier and his telepathic observatory, Cerebro. Jean Grey senses the emergence of "some dark power," and soon the X-Men bound into action—lots and lots of action. Soon, though, they find themselves being dogged by their old adversary, the mutant-hating Colonel Stryker (Josh Helman). (There's also a grunting cameo by a popular super-being with very large sideburns, but that passes in a few blinks of an eye.)

Director Singer holds confusion at bay as Apocalypse gains the upper hand, and it couldn't have been easy. He smoothes out the frequent uproar with infusions of humor (there's a witty period potshot at Return of the Jedi, and Quicksilver has a brilliantly constructed scene zipping around in a slow-mo battle to the strains of an old Eurythmics hit). Singer also gives quite a bit of free rein to primal feelings—seldom before have so many super-tears been shed in this sort of picture. (The long scene in which Lehnsherr and his family are lethally confronted by a contingent of police is an unexpected oasis of emotion.)

Even the familiar world-wrecking destruction at the end of the movie has its moments (the undersea eruptions are CGI at its least-hackneyed). But do we really need to see the Sydney Opera House taken out one more time, or Magneto floating up in the smoky sky? Not really, I'd say. But despite Jennifer Lawrence's apparent disinclination to continue appearing in these money-gushing movies, much more is surely on the way.

Advertisement

NEXT: What's the Libertarian Party's Problem with Isolationism and Ladies?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. and he believes he can do it by laying hold of Xavier and his telepathic observatory, Cerebro.

    Another XMen movie based on this premise? Maybe it’s time to kill Xavier, as he seems to be every other superbaddy’s preferred weapon to destroy the world.

    1. I can’t remember that being the premise in any of the previous X-men movies. Which one are you thinking of?

      1. Have you seen X2?

        1. That’s the one where they go back in time and kill his father, thereby killing him, right?

        2. Oh, right. I did forget about that plot point.

      2. The one with the hot chick in the blue body paint.

  2. I never felt like Singer really embraced the super aspect of these super heroes. His X-men movies have generally been good, but have failed to really excite me.

  3. I think it’s time for a cross-over: “X-men: Apocalypse Now” starring Martin Sheen.

    1. The horror.

    2. I, for one, look forward to X-Men Avengers Star Wars Spiderman League vs. Deadpool Transformers: Episode 8: A Newer Hope: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

  4. The movie is flawed, but the reviewers who are attacking it are kind of morons. The Last Stand and New Class were both praised despite large flaws. The Last Stand in particular was just comic movie with no real climax, if you ask me. Magneto being Magneto for the umpteenth time in these movies. The big bad Sentinels ignored.

    The movie’s biggest mistakes are:
    1. Too much set-up at the beginning. This series of X-Men movies all spend way too much time re-introducing familiar characters.
    2. I’ll disagree with Loder – we didn’t need Magneto to have a family. At the least they could have done more with it.
    3. They treat Apocalypse like your typical monster. Magneto is a villain they let be human and have a personality beyond destroy everything.
    4. The entire Stryker/Wolverine scene – just disjointed from the rest of the movie and there to set-up the next film.

    Sinister should have been in this movie.

    Also, Sophie Turner isn’t bad to look at, but she’s a shitty actress and always sounds like a stuck up bitch no matter what she’s saying. It works in Game of Thrones (at least, it did before they had to reinvent her because girl power). But she’s a hot red head so she’ll do.

    1. On Mr. Sinister – include him, and don’t blow your wad with Apocalypse in one film. The backstory they gave Apocalypse was a lazy waste and ruined a lot of potential paths they could have gone on that would have been better.

  5. Olivia Munn, carrying the flag for the old-school super-babe body suit

    Go on…

  6. Do we really need a fourth super-hero movie in a year that isn’t even half over yet?

    No.

    Next.

    1. Let me guess, there’s too many brands of deodorant, too.

  7. there’s a witty period potshot at Return of the Jedi

    That was a a fourth-wall breaking postshot at the third X-men movie.

    Jean is even the one who makes it!

  8. Looking around at the modern world, he finds it disgusting, filled with weaklings and in desperate need of remaking.

    I like this guy already! Oh, wait, you mean he’s the villain? Awkward.

    1. That’s actually kind of how I feel about Reason magazine these days.

  9. But despite Jennifer Lawrence’s apparent disinclination to continue appearing in these money-gushing movies…

    This is why we need socialism. So we can force Jennifer Lawrence to continue to bouncing around in head-to-toe blue makeup. “From each according to [her] ability….”

    1. I wonder how much trouble Twentieth Century Fox will have trying to find another cute blonde willing to work for $10 million a picture?

      1. To ask the question is to answer it. 🙂

    2. well done, sir (or madam).

      I’m going to steal that, with your permission.

      🙂

  10. My Co-Worker’s step-sister made $13285 the previous week. She gets paid on the laptop and moved in a $557000 condo. All she did was get blessed and apply the guide leaked on this web site.
    Browse this site….
    This is what I do,—————– http://www.earnmore9.com

  11. Start working at home with GOOGLE!YAHOO. ABCNEWS AND MORE GLOBAL SITES.It’s by far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this 4 weeks past. I began this 7-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $97 per hour.

    I work through this link.——————— http://www.earnmore9.com

  12. Most of us want to have good income but don’t know how to do thaat on Internet there are a lot of methods to earn money at home, so I thought to share with you a genuine and guaranteed method for free to earn huge sum of money at home anyone of you interested should visit the site. More than sure that you will get best result.OI3..

    ====== http://www.CashPost7.com

  13. My Buddy’s Mother Makes $96/hr on the laptop. She has been out of work for six months but last month her paycheck was $15480 just working on the laptop for a few hours.
    I work through this URL.
    Read more on this web site.—– http://www.earnmore9.com

  14. My Buddy’s Mother Makes $96/hr on the laptop. She has been out of work for six months but last month her paycheck was $15480 just working on the laptop for a few hours.
    I work through this URL.
    Read more on this web site.—– http://www.earnmore9.com

  15. up to I looked at the check of $4791 , I did not believe …that…my neighbour could actualie earning money in there spare time on their laptop. . there friend brother has been doing this for less than 7 months and resently cleard the morgage on their mini mansion and purchased a great Bugatti Veyron . you could look here ……..

    Click This Link inYour Browser….

    ?????? http://www.Reportmax20.com

  16. Make 7500 bucks every month? Start doing online computer-based work through our website. I have been working from home for 4 years now and I love it. I don’t have a boss standing over my shoulder and I make my own hours. The tips below are very informative and anyone currently working from home or planning to in the future could use this website??

    ~~~~~~~~~ http://www.NetSelf70.com

  17. I’m making $86 an hour working from home. I was shocked when my neighbour told me she was averaging $98 but I see how it works now. I feel so much freedom now that I’m my own boss…
    I work through this URL. Go here,,,
    This is what I do.————- http://www.earnmore9.com

  18. Make 7500 bucks every month? Start doing online computer-based work through our website. I have been working from home for 4 years now and I love it. I don’t have a boss standing over my shoulder and I make my own hours. The tips below are very informative and anyone currently working from home or planning to in the future could use this website??

    ~~~~~~~~~ http://www.NetSelf70.com

  19. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.

    Click This Link inYour Browser

    ========== http://www.path50.com

  20. Start making more money weekly. This is a valuable part time work for everyone. The best part work from comfort of your house and get paid from $100-$2k each week.Start today and have your first cash at the end of this week. For more details Check this link??

    Clik This Link inYour Browser?

    ???? http://www.selfCash10.com

  21. This application is really good and very easy to use because you can never get an app which streams way of the latest and even the oldest videos. showbox

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.