Notable Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Evan Peters, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Olivia Munn, Lucas Till, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alexandra Shipp, Josh Helman, Ben Hardy, Lana Condor, Hugh Jackman
Expectations can be a bitch. When a series gets as much critical and fan acclaim as the new “rebooted” X-Men franchise has received, in particular with regard to the previous entry Days of Future Past, it’s only time until one of the entries disappoints and receives the flaming. Enter in X-Men: Apocalypse, the third entry into the latest series featuring a younger X-Men cast, and while it is a disappointment when compared to the previous two it’s hardly worthy of the horrendous (and dare I say, vicious) response from critics that is has received. As it is, Apocalypse is a fine X-Men film filled with plenty of entertaining sequences and fun pieces for audiences even if the film itself is a much more hollow experience compared to the previous two films. It suffers from some of the same issues that have plagued previous X-Men films in the past, but ultimately it moves at such a smooth pace that it never bottoms out the film like it could have.
Xavier’s school for mutants is becoming a bustling refuge for those out casted or looking for a place to hone their abilities. When an ancient evil being (Isaac) is awakened in Cairo though, he looks to take his rightful place as commander of the earth by bringing about the apocalypse with the help of four chosen individuals – including a now rogue Magneto (Fassbender). To cancel the apocalypse, Charles (McAvoy) will have to gather together some of his strongest students to reform the X-Men…but will it be enough to stop an unstoppable force?
Despite its robust cast, Apocalypse does succeed in being an entertaining action flick overall. The story feels occasionally rushed, where they needed to make Magneto’s decision to join Apocalypse a bit more punchy, and it’s occasionally drug out like the opening sequence that’s obviously there to add in some spectacle even if the pyramid trap seems daft, but it moves at a quick enough pace that it’s able to be enjoyed and doesn’t burden the audience too much. The action is remarkably fun at times, even if somewhat unnecessary like Quicksilver’s second time slowing stint, and director Bryan Singer certainly knows how to keep things heartfelt in the meantime. Even an elongated action cameo from High Jackman as Wolverine seems fitting to get that piece in there. The inclusion of the “team taken by Styker” sequence could have easily been cut for time purposes, but Singer handles it so smoothly that it doesn’t feel unnecessary even when it probably is. This is the essence of the fine line that Apocalypse walks and depending on how invested you are in the characters and action it’s either going to feel like an exercise in excess or one that continues to entertain despite its flaws.