I love it when the European cup is on, it means when your country has a match, the cinema is relatively quiet, so I got to see Xmen: Apocalypse and it is actually really good fun.
It should be stressed, the film is not perfect, its not the most amazing film you’ll ever see, but it is fun and no where near as bad as it is being made out to be. There are some rather blatant pacing issues, my friend turned to me while in the cinema, reminding me we were just wrapping up on character introductions over half way into the film.
In addition, the feature struggles under the weight of the problem that: some actors performances are tremendous and some are not, some of the cg is really good and some is not. There is a stark variety in quality throughout the film and it simultaneously makes the good look better but the worse look, well worse.
The main problem I have seen people voice is Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse; honestly, I have seen worse. The villain Apocalypse fluctuates between rather interesting and borderline good as villains go to silly, campy and unintentionally funny. Apocalypse genuinely seems more interested in Angel’s – or Archangels’, they never clarify – costume and building pyramids than causing an actual apocalypse.
SPOILERS FOR XMEN: APOCALYPSE BELOW
Soon after Apocalypse has awoken he forces his way into Professor X’s and manipulates the professor’s powers to cause every country with the capability to launch all of their bombs and missiles into the air. Then, losing control of the professor, decides he’s fine with leaving them there. It doesn’t make much sense, as both Apocalypse and Magneto, powered up by Apocalypse, have the capability to bring all the weapons down, wiping out the ‘weak’ as Apocalypse constantly chants. Even Storm, another horseman could retrieve most of them using her weather manipulation abilities.
Instead, Apocalypse employs his vague dust powers, he can actually control matter at the molecular level in the comics, but he seems underpowered here. His armour crafted from alien technology from a downed UFO is never confirmed either, but as he keeps his armour from body to body, it does seem like it is important to him. But then again, as we saw with Angel and co. he is a big fan of fashion.
We all know that Apocalypse and the Horsemen stall and don’t kill the Xmen with a click of their fingers like they actually could, cause everyone dying would probably kind of suck from a franchising point of view. Then again we could have Deadpool (he’s from the 21st Century so maybe time travelling with Cable in tow) and/or Wolverine using their healing factor to survive this actual apocalypse. That would be a pretty good intro for an Old Man Logan style storyline, but it’d also be a good way for them to use time travel to undo the apocalypse, ala: Days of Future Past, but seeing as they already did that, I can see why they chose not to.
Wolverine was in the film however, trapped by Stryker and undergoing a new and improved Weapon X programme, he even wears his classic Weapon X weird experiment garments. There was also a really odd scene, where Wolverine, having gone savage like in the comics – but having preserved his nose this time – meets Jean Grey, who we can assume he remembers sleeping with and killing in a former timeline. Jean seemingly snaps Wolverine out of his violent state by simply removing the helmet, it doesn’t sound silly, but it looked rather silly, like if the helmet would have fell off in his rampage if it was that simple, but there was some psychic intervention at play so I’ll let it slide.
My favourite part of the film by far was Magneto and his extended family, including Quicksilver. When it was revealed before the films release that Fassbender’s Magneto would have developed a family off screen in between films I was wary, it seemed like a cheap way of giving Magneto another tragedy. However, the execution was very well done, I really bought the family dynamic and the fear Magneto had when he realised he had used his powers in public.
When the police came for Magneto’s family, it was a very well done scene, Fassbender is personally my favourite actor in the film. He really brings an otherworldly emotion to the character. Also, I’m guessing his ill-fated daughter wan in fact Scarlett Witch? It was really cool to see her having control over the animals, for the brief moment she did and it genuinely reminded me of young Erik’s outburst in First Class when he bent the gate to try and save his mother. I imagine it was a purposefully done graphical match.
Something I found odd was how Magneto’s family got shot with the arrow, a soldier was holding his bow ready to fire, looking the other way, accidentally let go and admittedly looked shocked but it was just kind of weird, I might have even laughed if it wasn’t for Fassbender’s reaction.
Later, in the steelworks where Magneto had been working, he sinisterly enters and it looks great. The men all look at him, looking like the typical eighties ‘men at work’ kind of calendar, if they had a shocked edition. Fassbender is haunting, telling all of the workers that they should imagine there closest loved one having to go through the pain of losing someone, because that’s about to happen.
It was chilling and I was ready to see Magneto snap, but unceremoniously Apocalypse and his groupies show up, Magneto obviously thought it was mistimed too, exclaiming: ‘Who the f*ck are you?’ continuing the Xmen tradition of using their only F-bomb really well. I personally think Apocalypse should have let Magneto kill the workers instead of doing it for him, because of this Magneto never really snaps and that probably feeds into him betraying Apocalypse later on.
Magneto’s son: Quicksilver is also magnificent, Peters has really grown into the role and given the comics notes to take. We all knew it was coming, the second Quicksilver slowmo scene and I have no words. It was much better than I had ever hoped for and I thought it would be good. I don’t know if describing the scene even remotely gives it justice, so I won’t. Just know you need to see it, you just need to if you’re a fan of film. It’s three minutes long and took three months to film and it is easily the best scene in the film.
And it doesn’t even stop there, there’s a scene where Quicksilver straight up beats the snot out of Apocalypse after laughing in his face. Apocalypse manages to stop him in his tracks and break his leg. That is when I felt like Apocalypse truly became villainous.
Outside of Magneto and Quicksilver the best performance is from McAvoy as Professor X who is trying to court Moira Mctaggart, prevent the Apocalypse and maintain a very weird student/teacher relationship with the new Jean Grey. However, McAvoy is as always fantastic in the role.
Speaking of Jean Grey, she is the one to take down the big bad Apocalypse, by unleashing the power of foreshadowing, I mean the Phoenix, the dark entity that has the power of creating mutants that secretly possesses her. She seemingly strips away Apocalypse further than the bare bones, there is literally nothing left, not even Apocalypses signature dust.
However, I have a theory that he may live on. Apocalypse had tried to move his consciousness into Professor X’s body to harness his psychic powers. What if part of Apocalypse still lingers there? When Professor X first encountered Apocalypse via Cerebro, he seemingly enjoyed the power. Could this become the live action version of the villainous Onslaught?
In the comics, Onslaught is when Magneto’s and Professor X’s psychic energies merge but turn hateful and evil. It would make sense that, as Apocalypse is definitely more inherently bad than Magneto that he becomes the second half of the new Onslaught, or, maybe in the upcoming New Mutants, Professor X has to look into Magneto’s mind again, but as Apocalypse lingers he could pull some strings and cause a fusion of the three. But, I’m just theorising.
Other than Magneto, the Horsemen don’t fair too well, Storm has barely any lines and doesn’t really help Apocalypse. She just uses her wind a couple of times, she and Psylocke, who also has barely any lines, but a couple of cool action shots, just bail on Apocalypse when they realise that Apocalypse actually wants to cause an Apocalypse. Storm joins the Xmen, cause they are very forgiving of attempted mass muderers – example a: Magneto – and Psylocke just wonders off scowling, presumably not to rejoin SWORD like in the comics, but something much more nefarious.
Angel gets it the worst, after informing Nightcrawler he has to fight to save both their lives, Nightcrawler burns his wings off. Angel starts drinking, is forcibly given metal wings and is then seemingly killed without a mention. Then again Havok, a recurring character throughout the new trilogy got a whole frame of Cyclops crying after he passed and Jubilee never even used her powers. I don’t think she even spoke.
Ps. Why does Stryker have Wolverine? I get that ten years have passed but Mystique saved him, oh well, she is supposed to be a villain in the comics after all, she probably sold him for her ‘Need to find Erik’ fund.
SPOILERS FOR XMEN: APOCALYPSE ABOVE, NONE BELOW
Overall, Xmen: Apocalypse is a very fun movie, it’s weirdly like the subverted version of the two Avengers films. Avengers: Age of Ultron felt like it was a superior film and directed better, but Avengers Assemble felt like it had more that movie magic and fun. Days of Future Past feels like it was directed better than Apocalypse, but Apocalypse was an extremely fun viewing experience, I would recommend seeing it, just don’t expect a ten out of ten, but certainly not a bad film like critics are suggesting.