Coming off of the heels of one of the best films of the X-Men franchise in “X-Men: Days of Futures Past” Director Bryan Singer and co. failed to deliver in the latest installment, “X-Men: Apocalypse.”
The films explores the origins of mutants as En Sabah Nur, aka Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) is resurrected from a near 5,600 year slumber and seeks to destroy Earth and rebuild it in his own image. While this is going on, Erik Lensherr, aka Magneto (Michael Fassbender) is in hiding in Poland following the events of “Days of Futures Past,” Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is back to teaching at his school and Raven Darkholme, aka Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), now seen by other mutants as a hero, is traveling across the world saving mutants.
The film also introduces several new characters, including those we have seen before (Jean Grey, Cyclops), but the film fails at character development. One confusing aspect of the film franchise is that the events of the original X-Men trilogy has not happened now due to the events of “Days of Futures Past.” Because of this, the origins of all characters, even the ones we have seen before, must be re-explored. Despite the film lasting two hours and 24 minutes, there just isn’t enough screen time to go in-depth sufficiently.
To make matters worse, the film almost spends too much time exploring the current activities of Xavier, Magneto and Mystique, leading to a very slow start to the film. Very little action happens within the first two hours despite the fact that this is a comic film.
Also, although there was a decent amount of press surrounding the announcement of the character, Jubilee (Lana Condor) is a throwaway character in this film. You never see her use her abilities and she has very few lines, causing viewers to basically forget that she is there. Only those who watched the animated series on Fox in the ’90s may even realize it is her.
Singer also rehashes a piece of “Days of Futures Past” when Quicksilver (Evan Peters) arrives at Xavier’s school, using his powers as a bit of comic relief, likely due to the high praise that was received the first time around. While entertaining, it felt lazy to essentially see the same scene again in a different setting. There was a bit of redemption, however, as we were able to see more of an expanded role for Quicksilver and therefore a different presentation of his powers.
The bar was raised in “Days of Futures Past” and “Apocalypse,” unfortunately, failed to live up to the billing. Though the film was entertaining, it was bleak compared not only to other X-Men films, but also to “Captain America: Civil War” which was also released earlier this month.
“Apocalypse” will ultimately be seen as a bridge piece, putting to bed the First Class trilogy while kickstarting the next trilogy of films, likely focusing on Jean Grey and Cyclops. The film also releases a teaser to a significant foe for the next Wolverine film, which will be Hugh Jackman’s last. (Spoiler alert here if you are interested.)