After the success of X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past, I’m disappointed to report that the third in the X-Men prequel saga is probably its weakest entry yet.
Moving on from the last film, X-Men: Apocalypse drags our beloved mutants into the big haired world of the eighties, just in time to face off against the first mutant ever Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac).
Joining the mutant messiah are his dreaded horsemen, Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Archangel (Ben Hardy) and Storm (Alexandra Shipp).
Thankfully, James McAvoy’s Professor X has assembled a new team; Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Quicksilver (Evans Peter) and Beast (Nicolas Hoult) to combat this latest threat.
Of course, this involves bringing Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) along for the ride.
And if that brief synopsis has tired you out then you don’t know the half of it…
Now, X-men: Apocalypse has been getting a bit of a kicking from the critics.
While the movie is nowhere near the quality of X-Men 2 or Days of Future Past it’s a solid, if thoroughly average superhero film, that’s going to entertain your casual movie-goer for the most part.
The action’s impressive enough and the visuals are spectacularly over the top, but that’s half the problem.
You see, ultimately X-Men: Apocalypse is proof that bigger isn’t always better.
Apocalypse is a big movie, with a lot going on, in fact there’s so much going on that you have to wonder if the movie’s got attention deficit disorder.
Like the mutant Nightcrawler, the film teleports from plot point to plot point – one minute we’re in a mutant fight club, then Egypt, then the X-mansion, the whole thing is bewildering, and robs the film of any focus.
The biggest victims of this lack of focus are the cast, the majority of whom are given almost no character development, especially the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, who are particularly shallow despite arguably being the more interesting characters.
Rose Byre is criminally wasted in the film and her character Moira is relegated to ineffectually reminding us that she’s a CIA agent and tending to the wounded.
I can’t help but feel that half the problem is that they’ve dug themselves into a bit of a hole by giving Jennifer Lawrence such a big part in the film.
I understand that she’s the most bankable of the film’s stars, but Mystique’s prominence doesn’t serve the story in any way and is just confusing when we consider her later life in the original trilogy.
Meanwhile, the film’s titular villain, who’s built up to be some unknowable deity, turns out to be the usual copy and paste Darwinist villain we’ve seen in other X-Men films, which is just disappointing.
Even worse are Oscar Isaac’s attempts to make Apocalypse larger than life, which make him seem less like an all powerful god and more like an amateur actor trying to impress a casting director.
Seriously, Isaac chews the scenery so much that I imagine he had to go to A&E after every take, just to get the splinters removed from his arse.
Ultimately, X-Men: Apocalypse falls into the same traps as X-Men: The Last Stand did – it got too big for it’s own boots and fumbled the ball. And, while it may not be a world ending failure, it’s still a poor effort from the usually bankable X-Men.