The 'Apocalypse' Comes

The 'Apocalypse' Comes
Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo | X-Men: Apocalypse, the third in the X-Men: First Class series, is now in theaters.

X-Men: Apocalypse, the third entry into the re-written timeline of the X-Men movies, was released in the U.S. over the weekend to a decent box office and, considering the reactions to Batman V. Superman, decent reviews as well.

When a mutant that ruled over ancient Egypt is resurrected in the modern day, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) have to lead a group of Xavier’s students into a battle to determine the fate of the world.

Overall, the movie was only okay. It was miles beyond DC’s aforementioned attempt at heroes pummeling each other, but still had more than its fair share of faults, not the least of which being Apocalypse himself.

In the comics, Apocalypse manages to come off imposing while sporting a fairly goofy look, especially for someone who is supposed to be an ancient Egyptian. In the film, this formula just doesn’t work. Early publicity shots that hit the internet were derided for their resemblance to Ivan Ooze (the purple bad guy in “Mighty Morphing Power Rangers”), and while that problem doesn’t extend to the movie itself, the soft-spoken man and his tech-laden rubber suit and blue makeup doesn’t lend itself to the imposing figure they need it to.

Despite their villain issue, there is plenty in Apocalypse to love, especially if you’re a fan of X-Men books in general. It’s very nice to have another X-Men movie in which Wolverine is a delightful, short-lived treat rather than a central focus. I grew up with all of these characters, as did many others, and any fan of the comics or the old Fox Kids show can tell you that Wolverine isn’t that huge a feature, that X-Men like Jean Grey, Cyclops, and Beast are all just as important to the story.

Jean has always been shortchanged in the movies. Famke Janssen’s performance was fantastic, but Brett Ratner ruined anything good about her characterization with the much maligned X-Men: The Last Stand. Sophie Turner, known for her role as Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones, does a fantastic job as Jean Grey in X-Men Apocalypse. Along with Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) and Nightcrawler (Kurt Smit-McPhee), they round out a trio of newcomers who regularly steal the show. Though Cyclops’ rank arrogance is a bit off-putting, that’s perfectly in line with the comics.

Returning players James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are as great as they’ve ever been, and even Rose Byrne’s return as Moira Mactaggert is spot on. No one compares to Evan Peters and his take on Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver. After Days of Future Past, his slow-motion scene was the most talked about thing, and everyone wondered how it would be topped. Marvel went so far as to kill off their Quicksilver, in my mind forever ceding the victory to the X-Men in terms of whose was better.

Apocalypse manages to top everything from the previous movie though, in a spectacular scene lasting roughly five minutes as Quicksilver saves everyone in the school from an explosion. The scene is an absolute blast, no pun intended.

Since First Class, one star in particular has risen above the others in the new crop of X-Men films, Jennifer Lawrence. Sadly, this rise in notoriety seems to accompany a total lack of desire to be in these movies anymore, which bleeds through in her performance constantly. Thankfully, her co-stars more than make up for her lack of enthusiasm.

Apocalypse, in both the comics and the movies, usually creates four “horsemen” to help him in his endeavors. This outing is no different, as Alexandra Shipp delivers us a pitch-perfect Storm (who is likely being controlled, and only dangerous to a point) and Olivia Munn and Ben Hardy deliver totally forgettable takes on Psylocke and Angel. As I said, the movie is only okay when it’s all said and done.

There is a lot in Apocalypse to love, and there’s a lot to be disappointed in. The world-ending catastrophes are nothing new, and turning the screen into a CGI wet dream that would make Roland Emmerich blush doesn’t really do much for general audiences anymore. It needed to happen, and the seeds planted in this film promise to grow and blaze brilliant in whatever comes next.

X-Men: Apocalypse is in theaters now and makes for a fun popcorn flick. If you are an X fan, it’s a must, as there are plenty of moments in the movie that will delight and thrill any fan of the comics.

Categories: Commentary