The ninth film (if you take Deadpool into account which apparently we’re supposed to) in the X-Men franchise. This one takes place ten years after the events of Days of Future Past and sees the prequel cast returning to reprise their roles however this time there is no crossover with their older counterparts. Hugh Jackman appears but he has more of a cameo role than being key to the story as he was in the last film.
If you stuck around after the credits of Days of Future Past you’d have seen a mutant constructing the pyramids…if you didn’t stick around then there is SO much stuff that you have missed. Seriously with the exception of Incredible Hulk every single Marvel film of recent years has a bit after the credits, go back and watch past the credits, or just watch them on YouTube, or just don’t bother. Anyway, after mutants seemed to have entered a Golden Age following the events of Days of Future Past it appears that there is once again something unpleasant looming on the horizon, but this horizon starts in the past…
In Ancient Egypt a powerful mutant named En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac) is preparing to transfer his consciousness into a body that can regenerate thus ensuring he will live forever, however during the process his followers betray and try to kill him calling him a false god. During the battle Nur’s four mutant followers are killed but one of them encases his sleeping form in a field that protects him as his pyramid collapses around him.
Jumping ahead to 1983 Alex Summers’ (Lucas Till) younger brother Scott (Tye Sheridan) suddenly gains the ability to shoot lasers out of his eyes. Alex takes him to Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) who allows him to enter his school and his friend Hank (Nicholas Hoult) is able to create a pair of glasses for him that will contain the beams so he can see again. Whilst at the mansion Scott meets Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) and the two start to form an attraction.
Meanwhile Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is in East Berlin where she rescues Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) from a death match where Angel (Ben Hardy) is forced to fight other mutants to…well…the death. Magneto has abandoned his former life and lives in hiding under a different name, he has a wife and child, and works a job in a steel mill. On a day like any other a molten vat breaks free of its supports and he uses his powers to save a co-worker’s life, but this also reveals his identity and tragedy strikes him not long afterwards.
CIA agent Moria MacTaggart (Rose Byrne returning from First Class) is investigating a cult and accidently awakens Nur from his centuries long slumber. Venturing out into the modern world Nur discovers another mutant Ororo (Alexandra Shipp) and recruits her to join him, enhancing her powers. Believing that the world has lost its way Nur recruits other mutants Angel, and Psylocke, uses his own powers to enhance theirs then his path crosses with the vengeful and angry Magneto.
Xavier and his friends must once again unite together to stop Nur before he can bring about an Apocalypse that will wipe the world clean of humanity fortunately the X-Men receive a little help from Quicksilver (Evan Peters) and Mystique.
As you have no doubt gathered there is quite a lot going on in Apocalypse but despite that I found the film to be surprisingly boring because it is a very, very, very slow boil. After Days of Future Past in which Wolverine returned to his own time and saw the alternate future in which mutants and humans lived peacefully together after Mystique saved the President it seemed that mutants had been accepted into society. However, Apocalypse once again rehashes the old chestnut that “Mutants have it rough”. I get that is pretty much the only string to X-Men’s bow but it is getting stretched very thin by now…we saw a Golden Age for mutants at the end of Days of Future Past so why are we still going back to the whole: “Mutants are not part of society” idea??
The thing is that Days of Future Past has basically become the answer for any continuity issues or questions about the films…
Why was Colossus in Deadpool Russian not American??…Days of Future Past…
Why are mutants still not accepted into society??…Days of Future Past…
What is the point in this film because we saw all the key characters alive and well at the end of Days of Future Past??…Days of Future Past…
For a film that has a lot going on, not a lot really happens, Mystique is recuing mutants and has become something of an icon for other mutants after seemingly saving the President from Magneto in 1973. But for some reason she is more interested in hiding then being a hero. As the one mutant that all other mutants look up to why does she spend so much time and effort hiding who she is??…Days of Future Past…right I forgot.
As a bad guy I think that Nur is also pretty lame, he is yet another hugely powerful enemy that is looking to take over the world. He talks about purging the world of humanity and from the ashes building a new world, but all he really does is talk, there is moment when Xavier is talking to Magneto through Cerebro, Nur connects with Xavier’s mind and through him actives every nuclear weapon on Earth. He launches every single one…I was staring at the screen waiting to see how our heroes were going to get out of this…however all Nur does is launch the weapons into space where they just float harmlessly away into the void
…You have launched every nuclear weapon on the planet and the best thing you can do is fire them into space. All you do is talk and talk and talk about wiping out humanity and from the ashes the strong will arise so why not use every nuclear weapon on Earth to do just that?? You have launched every nuclear weapon on the planet…game over man…game over. Drop them on the defenceless nations below and you have won…but no he just sends them into space and that’s it.
If I could access the launch codes of every nuclear weapon on Earth I'd fire them off and be here with my feet up when my people finally arrive after picking up the phone...so why doesn't Nur just blow up the world already??
Did Nur just think that using weapons of mass destruction to purge the world just wasn’t sporting or something??
Plus I am not exactly sure how Nur is able to transfer his consciousness and all of his powers into a new body, they do some bullshit with the sun and a ritual or something but it is not made clear how this feat is accomplished especially back in Ancient Egypt.
The cast all do a decent enough job and Evan Peters is easily the highlight as the scene stealing Quicksilver and he is the best thing on screen whenever he is on. The sequence in which he evacuates the X-Mansion to the tune Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics is an absolute joy to watch. Plus Hugh Jackman is given the opportunity to really go berserk when Wolverine is found during his Weapon X phase. The rest of the cast are obviously pretty comfortable in their roles by now but there is nothing as good as the amazing scene in Days of Future Past in which young Xavier and old Xavier talk to one another through Wolverine’s mind. Magneto has spent 10 years hiding under the radar but his family is killed and he returns to being the vengeful Magneto within minutes of reappearing on screen. Begs the question of why he even had a family if he was just going to try and destroy the world again anyway, plus his transition from enemy to ally is faster than Batman becoming Superman’s friend in Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice so it makes it a bit pointless. What have the makers of the X-Men films got against Xavier and Magneto being on the same side, they keep referring to one another as friends but we almost never get to see them together just having a beer and, you know, just being friends.
Quick question: Why does Xavier’s hair fall out when Nur attempts to enter his mind and body??…Days of Future Past…oh, right…
One of the biggest disappointments in terms of potential was the sequence in which Xavier enters Nur’s mind. The two have a fight and Xavier seems to be using humanity’s pain (the pain he feels all the time) to weaken Nur which initially seems to be working yet very quickly Nur recovers and starts to kick the crap out of him. Xavier then begs Jean to unleash her power (the power of the Dark Phoenix) to destroy him, something she does, but why the hell doesn’t she just do that one her own??…Days of Future etcetera, etcetera…she literally waits until Xavier is almost dead before she enters Xavier’s mind and purges Nur from there before destroying him in the physical world too.
Fundamentally the biggest problem with this film is it takes too long to go anywhere, Nur just wanders around talking big but doing nothing much else, the X-Men naturally joining forces manage to defeat him with Nur’s followers also turning against him in the end.
Following Days of Future Past was always going to be difficult and more importantly it did not need to be done. Days of Future Past was a great way to finish the franchise, the old cast and the new cast united to give audiences one kickass movie and now we have carried on when there was no need to do so. We had a happily ever after in which Xavier, Jean Grey and Scott Summers (Patrick Stewart, Famke Janssen and James Marsden reprising their roles from X-Men: The Last Stand) were alive and well so why has this film series carried on going??…Days of…no, that answer doesn’t work…the X-Men franchise manage to resurrect itself after The Last Stand but now filmmakers seems determined to ruin things again.
There is already another Wolverine film in the works and another X-Men film is also being developed…where we go from here I don’t know…all in all I spent the majority of X-Men: Apocalypse just waiting for something to happen and the final battle was ultimately pretty disappointing. When your enemy has the opportunity to drop hundreds of nuclear weapons on the planet and he chooses not to you get the impression that he is not as committed to destroying the world as he claims to be.
Evan Peters is great as Quicksilver and whilst the rest of the cast are all good, the film itself is just dull and for a film about mutants with superhuman abilities and one that has lived for hundreds of years that is not a word you want associated with the film. My Thumb is Down, because this film had potential but this franchise seems to have run out of steam after its second wind…perhaps it is time to let this franchise die…but of course Hollywood won’t let that happen.
6.5/10 – Good cast and Quicksilver is great, the sequence in which he rescues everyone in the X-Mansion is awesome but that is an oasis of cool in a sea of dull story, a weak ass villain, and mutants once again being the downtrodden members of society.