By Josh Krubner
Ignoring all the wacky time travel hijinks from the last installment, X-Men Apocalypse sees our cast ten years later adjusting to the early Reagan years, the threat of the Soviet Union, and the British Invasion- no not that one, the new wave one!
“X-men” serves up a spot on period piece true to the times, spending just the right amount of time in the distant past explaining that “you might have walked out too early” post credits scene with the pale fellow building the pyramids.
The big baddie this time around isn’t so much a villain as a philosophy- a necessary and more importantly, unstoppable one at that. His game is in his name, and Apocalypse does “end the world” (as we know it), just not in the way you might have expected, or been lead to believe from the trailers.
X-Men: Apocalypse breaks from the standard beat-em-up superhero picture where a bunch of people need to believe in each other as team and yay friendship, as the they team up to overcome the odds in the final fifteen minute spectacle as strange lights of portals shoot into the sky. Yes, there are “Action” set-pieces, but if you’re expecting Rock-em-sock-em Robots, don’t be blind-sided by an hour and forty minute of philosophical extensional discussion, biblical metaphors brought to life, and a very SLOW-burn (literally) character study of an unlikely pairing of what could easily become the next generation of heroes/face of the franchise. McAvoy and Fassbender (I seriously typo’d having writing “McKellan” initially, as I can’t even tell them apart at this point) return to form, and you know just what to expect from them by this point. There are some returning friendly faces, some new-comers, and… Jennifer Lawrence is back, and just as bored as ever.
The villain himself is a “love it” or “hate it”, but his followers and acolytes are easily the standouts and action set-piece stealers. They aren’t all given the same amount of rope to play with, but when they do get a moment to themselves, they follow-through on the expected delivery.
“Apocalypse” is massive, and like the columns in the opening scene, if knocked out of place, can’t support its own weight. It’s a different take from the standard fare, and doesn’t exactly end with a pretty little bow. The real-world/real-time implications of events seem to propel these movies forward decade to decade, so it will all likely be addressed in the fourth one.
I would give X-Men: Apocalpyse a 7.5/10 or a C maybe even a C+.
Along with The New Teen Titans, the 1980s Chris Claremont run for the Uncanny X-men is up there with my favorite runs, and my favorite teams in comics history.
X-men (character/comic) fans are often split by generations, the more popular modern 90s team with Wolverine the focus, and the OG team, lead by Scott Summers and focusing on Jean Grey.
Like Jim, who I will let have the entire floor regarding “Storm”, I’m not really a Wolverine fan at all. The only time I didn’t mind him, in his origin book, and in the Weapon X storyline. We get the perfect amount of Wolverine and of Storm and it was handled beautifully. I am however, a HUGE fan of Jean Grey, and of Magneto, with passing dislike/begrudging acceptance of Scott Summers, a general apathy to Nightcrawler, a “no fucks given approach” to Angel or Havoc.
I had a very simple checklist for this movie, (one of the checks being in the post credits territory and therefore unfair/invalid) and by God did it deliver.
1. faithful to the source- CHECK
2. initial phoenix tease/pre phoenix force Jean- CHECK
3. Archangel/believable Horsemen- CHECK
4. faithful to the time period- CHECK
5. Very little Storm and Wolverine- CHECK
6. Magneto is pretty much the main focus but splits it with Charles, Scott, Jean- CHECK
7. they didn’t give the movie away in the trailers – CHECK
8. Asteroid M/Shi’ar Empire post credits – FAIL
ONE fail… I’ll fucking take it!
So do I have any complaints at all, because it easily leapfrogged the first X-Men, and Days of Future Past, coming very close to First Class.
I do… there is SO much foreshadowing and allusion to Return of the Jedi as well as the now TWO movie long “Quicksilver [can we call him that?] is Magneto’s son” thread, I really expected Mags to pull a Vader and intervene to save his son at the very end. The only other thing I can possibly gripe about? They didn’t name/assign names and roles to the Horsemen. That’s literally all I got. Oh, and J-Law was supposed to be 36 lol, but she’s a shapeshifter, so even that is easily explained.
I mean holy Christ what a movie!
“Apocalypse” doesn’t mean “end of the world” it means a “Restructuring of the world”. You can have an apocalypse on salmon, and just buy up all the salmon in the known world…BOOM, salmon apocalypse!
Apocy himself is one of the very few villains in comic book movie history to actually carry out his plan. He did it, he ended the “super powers” and “Destroyed” the entire world…by getting rid of all the nukes. Wait that’s a bad thing? Welcome, to the glory that is the slow-burn philosophical character study mind-fuck known as X-Men: Apocalypse. Dude took the heroic deed from Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, and showed it in an entirely different light.
Speaking of “lights”, I guess we should get to the standing ovation moment of the flick, holy shit, we got the Phoenix! I never in a million years saw it coming, mainly due to the lack of setup, and when I realized what they were going for, I got on board.
It’s either the greatest measure in combating the very real and ever-growing “fatigue”, or it’s financial suicide. Point simple, the business model is great for studios, but in regards to the industry as a whole- outside of third party t-shirts- it’s a rousing failure. For almost ten years running, children and adults have been pouring into obscure superhero movie after obscure superhero movie with a less than ONE fucking percent hold that then picked up something from the New 52 or Marvel Now. These people made it clear they didn’t need to read the books, and they weren’t gonna. And for things like most of what the MCU has served up, they were right. It’s watered down, cherry-picked and arranged for their viewing comfort level, like a pre-fix menu for valentines day you know is gonna cost you $80 a plate, but you’d gladly pay $400 for a shot at the full bar and the full menu you know already exists for the restaurant. The fact that you’re “more of a fan” and the people in charge are playing to the lowest common denominator might have pissed you off, and taken the wind out of your Thanos sails. Hell, I was involved in a convo with a very outspoken MCU fan today, about how much he hated the “non fights” in “Apocalypse”. He reaffirmed my walking away, as if the Thanos “fight” isn’t him standing around doing nothing for 4 hours, I’m gonna want my money back!
Enough about those movies, let’s focus on this one! Jean has the pre Phoenix abilities, something I can’t wait to see manifest. We got the best Scott Summers literally ever in the form of Tye Sheridan, who is even better than the dude on animated series. Sophie Turner can act, Nightcrawler is even better than his X2 counterpart…and J-law needs to go away from movies at this point. She’s terrible, and didn’t want to wear the Mystique body paint. Her X-men suit/classic Brotherhood oufit looks horrendous, and it’s the only one that looks bad.
People who hate this movie because they expected “Age of Apocalypse” can blame either the marketing dept or their own reading comprehension, it’s pretty much a scene for scene grab of the X-men episode “Come, the Apocalypse” or his original appearance in the pages of X-factor 5-12ish back in 1986.
Seriously, after seeing the movie, just watch this episode, and tell me what’s different besides the lineup and time period.
Speaking of the Horsemen, I’ve seen so many complaints online about how “they didn’t do anything”, or “Apocalypse was easily betrayed by them”. Welcome to Apocalypse. The is what ALWAYS happens to him. The Horsemen, however, had a feature-length subplot, establishing the matchups or feuds early on, much like a classic Survivor Series brawl- something I’m sure Jim will go into more detail on.
That Quicksilver scene (scuse me, BOTH scenes) were leaps and bounds better than the already perfect one in “Days of Future Past.”
Magneto’s tragic backstory was perfect, and I’m glad they had the balls to go there/proper motivation for him to become War. Seeing him get his full powers and then working in tandem with Jean was perfect, which did I mention Sophie Turner was great? She’s seriously only a shitty Sansa Stark…maybe Sansa Stark is supposed to be that unlikable? I mean I never liked her, but all these years I was blaming poor Sophie!
Rose Byrne returns as Moira, and it’s like she wasn’t even missing from “Days of Future Past”.
If you want to a spot and set-piece beat-em-up, check out Civil War. If you like slow-burn character studies about dudes who don’t give two fucks about ruling the world, they just wanna make cranky old man speeches cause they overslept and missed the early bird special at the Country Kitchen Buffett, Apocalypse is for you.
From the ashes of the initial third movie, they’ve BUILT A BETTER ONE!
and, (even though I was mislead into thinking it would be the post credits scene, Flash Fact: it was NOT ) a Phoenix, will assuredly rise from those ashes.
X-men: Apocalypse is near perfect and one of the best comic book movies I’ve ever seen, made strictly for comic book fans.
I deservedly give it a 9.8/10 or an A+.