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Apocalypse shares a major problem with Batman v Superman: it got shredded in the editing room. While its predecessor, Days of Future Past apparently has a "Rogue Cut" with a very different storyline, I do feel that the cutting was handled well enough that you don't notice while watching the film.
Here, it's inescapable. Lots of characters don't really have arcs, have badly-truncated arcs, or otherwise just desperately need more screentime. The film is two-and-a-half hours long, and it still feels like it could use more.
And there are a number of scenes that, while occasionally objectively good, could've been sliced out of the movie to make room for them with ease. The entire Alkali Lake sequence was a real treat for the fans (and a boon to the marketeers), but it ultimately adds very little to the overall plot of the film. And letting Magneto cause so much destruction in the climax was everything critics of Man of Steel complained about and more. Heck, considering there it was the straight-up villains of that picture rather than someone we're still supposed to find sympathetic that did the killing, it works less well here than it did in that movie.
That said... it was still an eminently watchable film, and I liked it. The visuals were largely striking, even when some of them were a bit overblown. All the returning actors put in very strong performances, while most of the newer ones are pretty good too, retaining the essences of their characters while still being kids. And Apocalypse, for all the time he spends screaming, still has a striking, menacing aura to him that, paradoxically, works better when he's quietly watching what's going on. His makeup work was also fantastic.
The pacing is a bit... wonky, but never quite enough to make the film boring. And the story really needed a little more pop to match the epic scale and nature of the events occurring onscreen, particularly Apocalypse needing something like a cult of brainwashed, desperate followers more than four supercharged henchmen.
And there were a couple turns I'd hoped the story would take that it didn't, a couple missed opportunities that'd improve the movie, but that's nothing to hold against it. In the film, there's a joke that the third film in a trilogy is always the worst, but this one, though falling short of the tremendous artistic success of Days of Future Past, is still a good movie.
If you're burned out on superhero movies, it won't change your mind, but if you're not it's still worth a watch, crappy editing or no.
...And while Quicksilver might be changed beyond all recognition from his comic counterpart, he's also once again a great character in a vacuum who steals every scene he's in. I've got no complaints about turning him into the Flash.
X Men Apocalypse had an uncommon advantage among superhero franchises. The previous movie had not only done a great job of revitalising a 16 year old film series, but it had pressed a reset button on everything. Apocalypse had a blank canvas to work with and a captive audience to present to. What we end up getting is a 140 minute movie that chooses to crib from goddamn X-Men 3.
Apocalypse is crammed with characters who get far too little time to do anything. Firstly, you have a villain, an ancient Egyptian mutant who wakes from a deep sleep and wants to destroy the world for dimly established reasons; maybe he just wants to wipe it clean for the strongest. Or he wants to kill everyone. Or he just wants to rule it. It's hard to tell. But to do it, he has have his four riders of the apocalypse, because apparently whilst being unconscious for five millennia he had time to learn up on Christian theology. It takes ages of screen time for him to do this, despite never really establishing any character arc for the horsemen & women. Instead they focus on designing coordinating costumes, and posing on top of mountains.
Then the movie introduces the old cast, who outside of new haircuts haven't aged a bit in twenty years. They've realised something is wrong, and they're very slowly trying to do something about it. Thankfully there is a CIA agent who I keep forgetting was a thing in these movies who eventually guides them in the right direction.
Finally there is the new group; the teenage versions of all the characters you loved and cared about, like Nightcrawler. Hell yeah! And Cyclops. Fine. And Jean Grey. Oh, okay. And Jubliee. Oh dear. Well, if its anything like ''First Class', it can surely show us that even the less respected mutant characters can be made likeable.
Unfortunately they are sadly neglected in what should really be their movie. I get the impression Apocalypse was originally written as a handing-over-the-baton style movie, with the "First Class" being too old and knackered to keep fighting, and the young bloods having to find their feet. But that story is stripped away because the makers wanted to cram in fan-service: "Stick in another Quicksilver scene, exactly like the last movie! People liked the last movie!" and later, "Oh, lets shove Wolverine as well! Kids love Wolverine!" The movie is full of these distractions. It increases the cast count and run time, but don't give us any more to care about.The last twenty minutes of Apocalypse is just heroes yelling "AAAARRRGHH!!" and shooting each other with CGI. Meanwhile the entire of Cairo is obliterated, assuredly killing more civilians than any other superhero movie combined, but the movie doesn't reflect on it once. That's Apocalypse in a nut shell; its all loud and showy but it doesn't care one bit about people.
I was anticipating X-Men Apocalypse since I saw Days of Future Past. I loved that movie and was expecting a strong finish to the First Class trilogy. I don't think it crashed or burned in anyway. Apocalypse was still pretty good movie, even if it is the weakest of the new Trilogy. I was happy with Cyclops and Jean Grey. This was the first time they were developed outside of Wolverine's character and as a result they felt more like actual characters than they ever did in the original trilogy.
Charles was great and this movie ends his character arc well. I think he had the best character arc in First Class trilogy. Quicksilver got another awesome speed scene and his character added needed humor where it was needed to lighten things up when things were getting too heavy. The plot was straight forward enough to follow and I can honestly say I was never bored during the movie. The family theme was handled pretty well. I liked the action scenes we got for the most part.
Now here is where it left me wanting. One thing X-Men films did right was give us good villains or three dimensional ones. Apocalypse wasn't one of them, which surprised me. Despite promising us he wouldn't be a generic doomsday villain he is sadly one. Apocalypse is definitely powerful enough to be a threat. I would argue he was made too powerful that his rather straight forward plan should have worked, but the story didn't do a good enough job to explain to us why he is waiting to enact his plan. Here is where fleshing out his character could have helped. His strongest of the fittest philosophy could have made him a interesting character, but he just didn't get enough time devoted to his character.
That goes into another weakness for me. It spent too much time on Magneto, who was already a well fleshed out character. Out of all the antagonists in this film he gets all the focus and development, leaving Apocalypse, Storm, Angel, and Psylocke as more plot devices. Magneto is overused and he is becoming less sympathetic with each outing. Xavier's hope for his old friend to turn it around feels frustrating to watch, since Magneto can kill millions and still get a free pace. Weapon X act while cool served no purpose in the story and only confuses things since we have no idea how Wolverine still ended up in Weapons X even though Raven saved him in the last movie. I wish they had just made Wolverine a horsemen and had Apocalypse give him the adamantium to make it fit into the plot more and not need to worry about flesh out one horsemen (he has enough development that audience would care even if he didn't get any in this movie). Mystique/Raven I'm neutral to. Didn't dislike or like her in this. I really liked Raven in last movie. I was glad to see she didn't steal as much screen time as trailers made it out to be.
Despite all these problems I had it didn't make me hate the movie. It was still good, but it was disappointed it didn't live up to its potential.
As with most of superhero movies, the plot was lazily written and didn’t make much sense.
On the plus side, the visual effects were nicely made (e.g. the magnetic field), and the movie featured many cute and hip new-gen hollywood stars.
Apocalypse is one of the three most well known storylines in the overall X-Men franchise. With Phoenix and Days already done, this film was inevitable. Despite my apprehension, I can say that it was a pretty good movie, but not without its flaws.
My biggest fear was the acting, but all the actors played their parts well. I really liked Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse. However, Sophie Turner was absolutely horrible as Jean Grey. She had absolutely no range, using the same expression in most scenes she was in. However, she’s evened out by Tye Sheridan as Cyclops, who manages to give a very good performance that makes me believe he’d grow up into James Marsden.
My other concern was the story being overdramatic. While I was wrong, there is a flaw that it’s a little rushed on several points. It felt like several different storylines were meshed together: The Apocalypse story, discovering the original X-Men, and a continuation of the story with the First Class characters. If this was split into another movie, they could have fleshed things out more. However, the story works with what we’re given and it’s an overall good experience.
The effects are amazing, with three specific scenes really shining through with them. I won’t say what they are due to spoilers, but one involves Quicksilver’s superspeed again and the other is pretty much the majority of the climax. While the action is good as well, the one downside is that there isn’t a whole lot of it. Almost all of it is in the trailers so there aren’t a lot of surprises.
Apocalypse is a good movie, but it could have been better. If it was split into two films, the stories could have been fleshed out more with better character and more action. What we get, however, is a good addition to the X-Men franchise and I look forward to what’s next.
Sidenote: I think the film would be interesting to see in 3D, but not a necessity. There IS an after-credits scene, but the reference in it is a little obscure to me, so you may need to have a bit of X-Men knowledge to get it.
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