Film Review – X-Men Apocalypse (2016)

X-Men Apocalypse Oscar Isaac

By use of pastiche and parody, Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey amusingly manages to sum up this film when discussing ‘Return of the Jedi’ with her friends: “The third one’s always the worst”.

X-Men Apocalypse is effectively the end of a trilogy of X-Men films that began with First Class back in 2011, even though this is actually the ninth installment to date. The 80’s set threequal sees our weird and wonderful superheroes battling it out against ancient God-like being, Apocalypse, played by Oscar Isaac.

Visually, X-Men Apocalypse is fairly spectacular, Bryan Singer’s action sequences are impressive, and this certainly does feel like the biggest X-Men film to date. However, whilst being visually impressive, the action sequences were actually slightly too ear shattering as the characters just spend the majority of the fight scenes shouting and screaming at each other.

The whole point of this film seems to be to set up the new younger generation of x-men, and almost the entire first half of the film is spent recruiting new mutants that we have already seen before. For example, mutants like Storm (originally played by Halle Berry), Angel, Nightcrawler, Scott Summers and Jean Grey are all introduced as new characters, but really, we’ve seen it all before.

These new mutants are a mixed bag, Kodi Smit-McPhee is great in offering some comic relief as Nightcrawler and newcomer Alexandra Shipp offers an interesting exotic take on Storm. Some do not work though, Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner is rather bland as Jean Grey, and Tye Sheridan’s take on Scott Summers is equally dull.

Wreaking havoc at the head of all this destruction is Oscar Issac’s Apocalypse who is actually rather terrifying. His booming voice and seemingly indestructible powers contribute to him being arguably one of the best villains of Marvel’s cinematic universe to date.

The real issue with X-Men Apocalypse is its constant feeling of déjà vu, a feeling that is laced throughout. The whole ‘humanizing Magneto’ scenario seems to have been the focus of pretty much every x-men outing of this new franchise, and it’s in play again here, we can only hear McAvoy’s Xavier tell his ‘old pal’ that there’s ‘still some good in him’ so many times. Yet again, the film’s big showdown sees Magneto floating in mid-air, lifting lots of heavy metal things, and yet again, we see Wolverine being held captive in the same building he was four films ago.

First Class successfully rebooted the x-men franchise, cleverly allowing it go in a new direction with new cast members, but this latest entry feels like too much of a blast to the past, laced with sentiments of nostalgia and ‘been-there-done’that’. Although this is an enjoyable, and visually impressive X-Men outing, it eventually becomes confused and lost in the murky waters of balancing new ideas with nostalgia.

|Josh Hall

Action, Comic Book | USA, 2016 | 12A | 20th Century Fox Pictures | Dir.Bryan Singer | James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Issac, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner

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