For the full Movie Bears Podcast review of ‘X-Men: Apocalypse,’ check out the video below! Read on for our mini-review:
There’s something about the X-Men, the team of mutant superheroes from Marvel comics, that resonates with many gay comic book and movie fans. After all, the mutants of their universe strive to protect a world that ‘fears and hates them’ for who they are, a plight the LGBT movement knows all too well. ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ is the 9th film set in the film universe helmed by 20th Century Fox (including 6 X-Men movies, two Wolverine spin-offs, and the wildly popular Deadpool), and unfortunately, it is neither good enough nor bad enough to stand out from the pack.
As a film, ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ takes one stumble back for every leap forward that it makes. Part of the film features cutting edge CGI, while other parts feel poorly animated and obviously artificial. Some of the new cast (including Alexandra Shipp as Storm and Tye Sheridan as Cyclops) turn in captivating performances but are given too little development to showcase their talents, while some of the old guard (Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, Michael Fassbender as Magneto) are shoe-horned into roles that don’t fit the story and, as a result, feel as though they are ‘sleepwalking’ through the film. The villain of the film, Apocalypse, is underwhelmingly portrayed by Oscar Isaac, whose talents are wasted in this film.
Perhaps the most damning aspect of ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ is the lack of confidence it demonstrates in its narrative direction. The parts of the film that showcase where the franchise is heading, especially the parts with the new cast of mutants, are engaging and interesting. However, these scenes are not given a chance to fully blossom because of an insistence on callbacks to former films. Every time the story really starts to gain momentum, things are brought to a screeching halt by narrative clutter. Do we really need to see another slow-motion Quicksilver scene a la ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past?’ Do we really need the unnecessary sidetrack that appears in the second act of the film? And really, this many films into the franchise, do we really need more scenes of Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) comparing and contrasting their philosophies?
By the time the explosive third act comes along, an act that is admittedly exciting and entertaining, the stakes don’t feel real and the characters don’t matter as much as they should. That’s the travesty of ‘X-Men: Apocalypse;’ with more focus, this could have been a great film. Instead, and perhaps partly because it comes on the heels of the critically successful ‘Captain America: Civil War,’ the most enthusiasm we can muster for the film is a loud ‘meh.’
Written by Will Lindus, Movie Bears Podcast