X-Men: Apocalypse Review

X:Men: Apocalypse is a mixed bag, literally. If you took the recent comic book movies and shook them around in a bag for a while, X-Men: Apocalypse would pop out. This isn’t inherently positive or negative. Different people like different things. I personally see it as a positive because X-Men: Apocalypse provides a distinctly different film in the supposedly “fatigued” superhero genre.

How do you feel about tone? Do you like movies that are dark and serious? Light and funny? X-Men: Apocalypse sits in the middle of that range. It’s not a dour ode to seriousness like Batman v Superman but not a lighthearted quip-fest like Captain America: Civil War. And it’s definitely not an irreverent barrage of dick jokes like Deadpool. It’s a generally serious movie with many humorous moments. I’d call that a positive.

X-Men Quicksilver Sweet Dreams

Are you a stickler for story? You want something easy or something to chew on? Once again we find ourselves in the middle. X-Men: Apocalypse doesn’t have a simple cookie-cutter story like Deadpool but it doesn’t quite have a complex (and often convoluted) story like Batman v Superman or Civil War. The story here is pretty straightforward with a few interesting twists. Again, another positive.

But what about the action? I mean, it’s a superhero movie. It better bring the goods! Well, unfortunately I think X-Men: Apocalypse brings up the rear in this category. There are a few great action sequences and everything is passable. But aside from the Quicksilver sequence, I have a hard time remembering specific set pieces that wowed me. Since the most powerful mutants control stuff with their mind, a lot of the action gets reduced to people holding up a hand and/or scrunching their face.

X-Men Jean Grey

But I would not consider the action in X-Men: Apocalypse to be a negative. The negatives I have with the movie might border on minutia, but they are things that just bug me. If you don’t like it, well tough. You can leave– WAIT! Come back, finish the article, write me a mean comment and then leave. But please comeback later when I write a review you agree with, which will be never because you’re a jerk. Moving on…

One of my biggest problems with X-Men: Apocalypse (and all the X-Men movies for that matter) is that we haven’t been given one good reason why mankind should be saved. Professor X keeps going on about “seeing the good in mankind”, but all regular humans ever do is kill mutants and muck up the world. Wipe them clean I say, wipe them clean.

I mean, Xavier says he has mutant-kind’s back, but does he really? Magneto’s life as been absolute garbage thanks to humans. And Professor X hasn’t really done anything to help him. And now along comes Apocalypse who cares deeply for mutants.

It’s so common for an all powerful movie villain to say, “I’m gonna destroy the world… just cause.” In this particular instance, Apocalypse is given some pretty legit reasons to destroy the world. We suck, especially when compared to a super evolved being like Apocalypse. So it would stand to reason that he is pro evolution for the entire planet. Sure he doesn’t HAVE to kick start it the way he does, but I think his heart is in the right place.

X-Men Apocalypse (2)

I almost entirely liked Apocalypse. He’s well acted. He sounds powerful. His powers seem unstoppable. But he looks… well, he looks kind of stupid. There were moments when I was able to overlook his appearance, but more often than not his stupid face makeup distracted me. Why does he have so much crap on this head? Why are there so many demarcations on his face?

But this is nothing new. The character designs in X-Men movies have often suffered from over-zealous face textures. Apocalypse suffers from it. Mystique’s got a bad case of it. Nightcrawler has recently contracted it. I don’t know why but for some reason the production designers keep thinking, “Ya know what’ll really make these character designs pop? Tons of bumps and lines and shit all over their face!”

“And what about their hair?”

“Oh, that’ll be stupid too. It’ll all be so dumb and such a pain to apply that Jennifer Lawrence will BEG for her character to be in human form for 90% of the movie.”

X-Men Mystique

Speaking of Mystique and crap, about half-way through the movie I was hoping that Mystique would die in some sort of grand, world-saving gesture. Not because it would serve the story, no. I was hoping that the Jennifer Lawrence era would end. She has completely grown tired of playing Mystique and it shows, big time.

But all was not lost with the old-new mutants. Magneto, Professor X, Quicksilver and Beast return with passion. Some a little more than others, but they all get a plus in my book.

And I’m happy to report that the new-old X-Men are rather enjoyable. Cyclops is actually given something to do. Nightcrawler (despite his stupid face patterns) is humorous and exciting to see in action. Storm gets a well-rounded (albeit slightly truncated) arc and seems rather powerful. Jean Grey is… well she’s not given a ton to do for most of the movie… But when she finally does something, she is rather formidable and has a promising future.

X-Men Storm

X-Men: Apocalypse does an admirable job balancing the plethora of characters. The depth does appear to be a bit shallow, but when you have like 100 main characters, it’s a tough job to achieve any real, substantial depth. The fact that I felt emotions for a couple characters at certain moments is a testament to the hard work done to balance everything out. Unfortunately I think a side effect of all the characters getting time is that the movie seems a bit long. But I’m  appreciative of the character building so I can live with a bit of extra length.

I also appreciate the work done to keep the X-Men movies from morphing into Marvel’s homogenized Disney superhero factory or getting swallowed into DC’s pit of despair. I really like most of the Marvel movies and I’m a fan of the DC movies. But I’m an even bigger fan of variety. So, thanks 20th Century Fox! Keep up the good work (aside from Fant4stic).

X-Men: Apocalypse is a good movie. It’s basically an extra long episode of the 90s cartoon if the 90s cartoon took place in the 80s and featured technology from the 2000s. It’s got over-the-top hairstyles, well placed humor, and a distinct feeling of childhood nostalgia. But I was quickly reminded of my current age when blood sprays hit the wall. I don’t remember seeing that on Saturday mornings.

X-Men Cyclops

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