Review: ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ Lacks The Heart Of ‘Days of Future Past’

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We live in the Golden Age of the superhero film. In a span of five months you can see Deadpool, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Captain America: Civil War, and now X-Men: Apocalypse. This is a blessing and a curse because not all superhero films are created equal. The road is even tougher for X-Men: Apocalypse as it follows Marvel’s big-budget tentpole. The Russo Bros. did a fantastic job balancing a huge cast with new introductions, all in the framework of an extremely tight, well-paced film. Bryan Singer has the same task with X-Men: Apocalypse, but the cleverness of the first two films gets lost in the scope of this third movie; the final product feels like short skits tied together to equal two hours and 24 minutes.

Apocalypse is released from his ancient tomb, and he quickly goes to work building his army to destroy and rebuild the world. This plot on paper sounds like a great film, but unfortunately, Simon Kinberg does not fill in the blank spaces and create rich characters. Also, the time periods in the first two films was such a wonderful aesthetic; it feels like an afterthought in this movie. The eighties was such a great era to portray visually on screen and Singer doesn’t take advantage of this the way he did in Days of Future Past. There are a few songs and some big hair, but the sets and the production design felt like 2016. Although Angel listening to ‘The Four Horsemen’ by Metallica was pretty sweet.

The biggest flaw in the script is no one is memorable; Kurt Wagner (Nightcrawler) is the only one that remotely stood out and with a better script Kodi Smit-McPhee might have stolen the show. Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender are amazing actors, yet their characters never come to life. The times Fassbender does get screen time his skill level dominates the other actors. Singer should have unleashed Isaac and Fassbender to create two villainous heavyweights for the X-Men franchise. The X-Men villains are where Fox can be superior over the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but they miss their chance here.

There will be spoilers after the jump as we break cinematography of the film. There two insanely awesome scenes.

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This wasn’t Singer’s best job tying a film together; there are great skits but not a cohesive product. The two best moments in the film are the visualisation of Quicksilver rescuing the student at Xavier’s mansion and Wolverine’s cameo destroying Col. William Stryker’s base. Evan Peters is brilliant again as Peter Maximoff, and the way Singer translates his speed on camera is so original and inspiring. The Flash is on the CW, so we see a speedster every week, but Singer takes the Flash to school with Quicksilver.

Weapon X

When you finally get to see Wolverine in X-Men: Apocalypse, if you are a fan of Weapon X in the comics, you’re going to jump out of your seat. Singer’s literal translation is perfect and Hugh Jackman’s five minutes of screentime gets you pumped for the third act of the film. The only problem with this cameo is it is a gratuitous attempt to shove Wolverine in the movie. These five minutes could have been used to develop Jean Grey, Scott Summers, and Nightcrawler.

The character development of the new X-Men introduced in the film may have been left on the cutting room floor as the mall scene was cut out of the final product. Which means no Taylor Swift Dazzler magic or screen time for Jubilee. There are no explosive energy “fireworks” from Lana Condor, and that is what every fan of 90s X-Men cartoon wanted to see.

The hope of the X-Men film franchise lies with Sophie Turner as the film has a big reveal in the final battle against Apocalypse. But no one character is able to break out of a weak script and flawed direction to give a memorable performance. X-Men: Apocalypse comes off flat which is a disappointment because of the great cast of characters and 80s potential. Adding insult to injury, there is no end credits scene. If there is a Rogue Cut of X-Men: Apocalypse hopefully Singer can put the heart back into the film that is missing from the theatrical version.

Matthew Sardo
As the founder of Monkeys Fighting Robots, I'm currently training for my next job as an astronaut cowboy. Reformed hockey goon, comic book store owner, video store clerk, an extra in 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon,' 'Welcome Back Freshman,' and for one special day, I was a Ghostbuster.


    I think the main reason that the heart was missing from this is that the pacing of the movie was way off, which is weird considering the movie is almost 2 and a half hours long. Everything felt really rushed especially with apocalypse gathering his horsemen. I get why there was this cult mentality surrounding his followers, but the movie didn’t quite touch into why they would decide to follow him other than he gave them power. They touched on it with Magneto for obvious reasons but the others seemed to be there to just be there as nothing more than henchmen. Also the emotional moments didn’t quite touch their full potential. The good triumph over evil moments felt cliched and seemed to come slightly out of nowhere and the deaths that were supposed to be impactful just stopped short of the emotional weight they were supposed to give off. While I did feel saddened by Magneto’s wife and daughter being killed (due to Fastbender’s performance) everything happens a little too fast for me personally to feel like the heart wrenching feeling that was supposed to be felt. The same for Havoc’s death. He died wrecking havoc (which is a great way for his character to go) but his death got overshadowed by Quicksilver’s humorous rescue of everyone else and when everyone else realized he died there should have been this great sad moment where the full impact of what they’re up against by their first casualty of war like they did in First Class with Darwin’s death. But everyone’s grief is fast tracked to looks of recognition that he didn’t make it by Mystique and Beast, and a barely there sob by his brother which caused me a bit of a disconnect with his death that carried on even when Scott was lamenting about his brother with Jean and Kurt.

    And the other issues with this that contributes to the lack of heart is one dimensionalness of the villain, apocalypse. One of the best things about X-Men is that the villains usually have a point of view that the rationale behind their actions can be seen. Though you don’t agree with it, you can still see why someone would choose to be on their side other than that they’re just evil. Nothing is ever black and white. While Apocalypse is supposed to just be evil, he lacks the charisma to bring others down with him which makes certain aspects of the plot a little unbelievable. But all in all it was a great action packed film, but fell into the pitfall it usually avoids of making the action the main feature instead of the story.

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