X-Men: Apocalypse Review

X-Men: Apocalypse

The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

Unfortunately, Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Apocalypse has fallen pretty far from its lofty beginnings.

I can’t really remember how the last X-Men film ended, but it doesn’t really matter as this one starts with an opening scene loud enough to make you forget your own name.

Back in ancient Egypt, an even more ancient mutant with the ability to transfer his being into, well, other beings is in the process of doing just that in an equally ancient pyramid.

Loyally protected by his four henchmen, Apocalypse manages to complete his transformation, only for human slaves of the age to rise up and turn his pyramid into a rubble strewn tomb.

A really long time later, let’s say ten thousand years, we find our heroes and anti-heroes from those days of future past getting on with their lives again in the not so swinging 80’s.

Professor Xavier’s still a cripple, Raven’s picking up mutants in clubs and the villain formerly known as Magneto seems to be working as an extra in a YMCA themed smelting factory.

Of course, their happy days are soon interrupted as Apocalypse is woken from his slumber, and seems hell bent on living up to his name.

Will he really bring about the end of the world though?

I’m guessing those bean counters at Fox and friends already planning the next instalment could tell you.

Now, the X-Men have always been my favourite superheroes.

They’re cool, there’s loads of them with a wide range of special powers – none of which make them boringly invincible – and did I mention they’re really cool?

Alas, comic book films these days tend to work on the assumption that they have to be bigger than whatever went before.

This is the case with X-Men: Apocalypse, which is undoubtedly the biggest X-Men film yet.

But it’s not even close to being the best – though as long as it makes a truckload of money, I doubt anyone at Fox will care.

Individual scenes work in isolation, and the story adds up, but by dialling everything up to eleven instead of focusing on insignificant little details like character development, supposedly emotional moments end up falling flat.

X-Men: Apocalypse is horribly predictable too; it really doesn’t take Hank McCoy to work out how Magneto’s new life will pan out, and the latest Hugh Jackman shaped Weapon X vignette just feels like we’ve seen it all before.

Because we have, only it’s never been as unintentionally funny as this.

The same goes for half a dozen other scenes Bryan Singer has lazily rehashed, including yet another flashback to X-Men’s very first scene that witnesses Magneto’s birth at Auschwitz.

But the real problems lie with the new characters.

Oscar Isaac’s Apocalypse is a one dimensional villain so poorly sketched out amongst the incredible special effects that surround him, you simply don’t understand, care or believe in anything he does.

He’s bad, he’s mysteriously all powerful, and that’s about all you need to know.

Incredibly, the new Storm’s cod African accent is far worse, even if Alexandra Shipp isn’t, and we know this latest incarnation of Angel is evil because, well, he drinks whisky and listens to heavy rock music.

Let’s just lynch all those bastards on the spot.

Still, at least Olivia Munn looks ridiculously hot as her dominatrix inspired bad x-girl Psylocke, even if her hotness is the extent of her character’s back story.

I remember when the first X-Men film came out back in the olden days, now known as the year 2000, and how understated and tightly honed the script was.

Back then, comic book films were still a novelty, which meant producers had to make sure these film’s were really good if they wanted to get them made.

Fast forward sixteen years, and anyone who straps a mask on and wears their under-rods on the outside is having their movie green-lit.

I just hope X-Men: Apocalypse is the last film in this franchise for a long while, as watching your heroes going through the motions is anything but super.

Jonathan Campbell

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