It seems as though we’re going a little bit superhero mad this year doesn’t it? You literally can’t go to the cinema at the moment without your eyes and ears being bombarded to the point that you begin to question whether we really do live inside a comic book. With big titles such as Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Deadpool and Civil War, It’s easy to think that the sold-off X-Men franchise will struggle to keep its head above the sea of titles. However X-Men: Apocalypse continues the trend of the First Class reboots proving that Marvel don’t always know what’s best for their IP’s. I was pleasantly surprised with this latest addition; dare I say, more so than with the other releases of the year.
The story follows the reawakening of Apocalypse from a failed procedure in ancient Egypt and we follow him attempting to collect a small following of the now-plentiful mutants to wash away human civilization. The X-Men no longer exist and it’s up to a small group of mutants at Xavier’s school to try to avert calamity. The introduction of a character as iconic as Apocalypse could have proved a risky business (as Spiderman 3 serves as a constant reminder). However the film pulls off the character well for the most part. He is incredibly played by Oscar Isaac whom you may remember from the latest Star Wars once you’ve looked him up on IMDb without the make-up. He is made to look as powerful and intimidating as he is in the eyes of the characters, and owns the show whenever he’s on screen. His background is kept reasonably vague which, while giving him an element of mystery, leaves his motives for killing off humanity a little unclear.
The story is without much substance, but the cast of characters is colourful enough to hold your interest regardless. The bringing in of a young Nightcrawler as comic relief ensures that there are enough light-hearted moments, and a young Cyclops means that die-hards will have a fan favourite to cheer for. Quicksilver, played by American Horror Story’s Evan Peters, quietly steals the show with an amazing slow-motion scene midway through to the point you won’t believe that this is the same character that Marvel massacred in Age of Ultron. Sophie Turner on the other hand seems a slightly odd fit for the character of Jean Grey, although perhaps this was intentional as the character is meant to have a slightly odd feeling about her. We see a disappointingly wooden performance from Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique as well, which puts a slight downer on the film. The rest of the cast perform their roles to the high standards of previous instalments, carrying you along with the story even if you aren’t the biggest X-Men fan. Wolverine was unfortunately shoe-horned in for no real reason other than to seemingly try and get the script OK’d by the investors which was something of a disappointment. Listen guys, throwing in a popular face for literally 3 minutes serves as no more than showing you have little to no integrity. It reminds me of Darth Vader’s 3 minute appearance at the end of Episode 3 so they could throw his face on everything, but I digress.
Overall the film is well worth a watch, even if you aren’t a particularly big X-Men fan like myself, as its definitely one of the best super-films this year. An adequate story is all you really need when you deal with comic book characters in the right way. A wonderful showing-off of all the franchise’s best and brightest with excellent action scenes and CGI. When it comes to superheroes, what more do you want?
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