May 26, 2016

CINEMA | 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Loses Power

Michael Fassbender Bryan Singer | X-Men: Apocoplyse

The X-Men film franchise at this point defies so much logic and sense. The series has been revived so many times with younger actors and a timeline reboot as original and X-Men: Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer as well as writer/producer Simon Kinberg return to pay off many of their previous films and slightly remake the first X-Men for good measure. X-Men: Apocalypse also happens to be by far the most cartoonish and goofiest cinematic mutant effort to date thanks to its sprawling and seemingly ageless cast.

James McAvoy feels rather lost as Professor X as he tries to complete his evolution over three films while hinting at his future self. Michael Fassbender's Magneto is able to still carry the weight and struggles of humanity's flaws on his face, but he's given another unfortunate set of losses to further motivate his already dour, pessimistic motivations against humanity.

The franchise has slowly shifted towards Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, no doubt thanks to her rising star power since First Class, who transforms completely from villain to hero while barely using her powers this time around or appearing in her trademark blue skin. Oscar Isaac as the titular ancient villain (aka En Sabah Nur) is menacing enough but it's absurd to bury one of the most charismatic actors under so much makeup and costuming as to remove all of his power as an actor and make him unrecognizable when it feels as though anyone could have played the role.

All of Apocalypse ultimately culminates in a long, goofy mess of CGI action. Singer also continues the disturbing trend of remaking elements from his previous films over and over again aping re-introducing character beats from Wolverine to Nightcrawler and Archangel once again. There's just no balance as we start with a silly, extended prologue set in ancient Egypt moving to a Polish steel mill, an East Berlin fight club, and then an American high school to setup the action.

Jennifer Lawrence Evan Peters Bryan Singer | X-Men: Apocoplyse

Nicholas Hoult as Beast is mostly relegated to the side and used to fill in other character interactions while Rose Byrne is again wasted returning as CIA Agent Moira MacTaggert who is essentially an exposition device and one of many unnecessary callbacks to First ClassOlivia Munn as Psylocke looks fun and sexy but doesn't have much to do aside from standing around looking cool and backing up Apocalypse and his four inexplicably chosen horseman. Evan Peters returns to steal the show again as Quicksilver while very much reoding his highlight performance from Days of Future Past while being a welcome comic relief amidst so much grief.

Apocalypse also introduces a new cast of young actors as familiar future X-Men in training as Tye Sheridan as Cyclops, Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, and Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler. The trio serve as a bridge between the confusing generations of X-Men characters. Alexandra Shipp as a young Storm has a enigmatic, charming quality but it's hard not to think how wildly different she is than the future Halle Berry future version.

X-Men: Apocalypse spends so much time building an end of the world showdown instead of focusing on its evolved characters and their struggle for acceptance. Singer needlessly redoes far too many bits and pieces from previous X-films over and over again just as the world ending plot comes out of nowhere and falls flat despite a mostly enjoyable cast of veteran actors blended together with their newer counterparts.

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