Movie Review 'X-Men Apocalypse'

In a world filled with one comic book based action flick after another, the benchmark gets set higher and harder to surpass with each new superhero film.  X-MEN: APOCALYPSE already had big shoes to fill with its last critically successful film of the franchise ‘DAYS OF FUTURE’ PAST and a few of other big releases of the year, ie: CIVIL WAR, DEADPOOL and BATMAN VS SUPERMAN.  This latest installment in the X-Men related catalogue strives to be no less than astonishing yet slightly over-the-top.  Bryan Singer returns to the franchise with the biggest, most epic X-Men to date.  Regardless of what others are saying, this one is more powerful and inconceivably stunning than any other superhero film (period).  Oh, are you doubting me because you have seen some other low ratings?  Well then, let get to it.

X-Men: Apocalypse has an unfair advantage trying to stick out in already mutant superhero genre heavy year.  Competing against similar themes with a team of already well-known superhero’s fighting against each other or together against a bigger villain out for world domination, X-Men: Apocalypes is able to join the two in an incredibly convoluted if not complicated storyline, but I mean it in the very best of ways.

Jumping into an already very large cast of mutants, the film faces difficulties starting with several smaller groups of X-Men and merging into a larger story where everyone melds in to each others subplot one way or another.   ‘Days of Future Past’ has already successfully completed the task, but now ‘Apocalypse’ is able to build upon a now more known set of characters with a bigger backstory for each.  While this is nothing like how Disney has assembled Avengers in all of their own movies before bringing them together, X-Men has been able to get there by means of a smart structure in its last couple of films.  Smaller origin stories are sprinkled throughout and deeper understandings of some X-Mens future statuses are explained.  A very challenging interwoven plot can get messy, but Singer has been able to keep it together while being able to touch upon what every X-Men fan should have been wanting.

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE

Set in the late 80’s, the first and most powerful mutant from the Marvel’s X-Men universe, Apocalypse, is accumulating the powers of other mutants as he awakens after thousands of years trapped in a deep unconsciousness.  When awoken by mistake by the unwarranted return of Moira (the delightful Rose Byrne), Apocalypse recruits his own team of mutants including Magneto (Michael Fassbender), to cleanse the Earth in order to start anew with only the most powerful mutants this world has seen.  The younger X-Men generation along with Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Professor X (James McAvoy), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Quicksilver (Evan Peters) and many more including several surprises  must come together to defeat the all powerful God with the self-inflicting name, Apocalypse.

Perhaps some negativity could be had at the expense of a not-so-linear storytelling method, but this has already become the expectation of the series.  As seen within a brief synopsis, the general theme is constant, but why single out this movie from the rest?  Bad timing may have resulted in less appreciation than this film deserves!

Even with a giant cast with some characters having a far less of a chance of having validity for being featured, like Olivia Munn’s almost silent character Psylocke, the film features great performances by all the mutants.  While many may knock Apocalypse’s poorly done aesthetics and make-up heavy design, the film doesn’t take itself for more than what it is.  Often poking fun at itself, it knows comedy is needed in what has become a darker, grittier lump of a genre films these days.  From BATMAN BEGINS, to IRONMAN, to Netflix’s DAREDEVIL; superhero movies have gotten dark.  Compare the first X-Men, or HULK, or the first Fantastic 4 with today’s style.  X-Men: Apocalypse has become slightly darker than it’s predecessors, but it still knows it’s a movie based upon a comic book.  So let’s keep this little fact in mind when picking apart some of the flaws in these films.   I mean, I can complain as much as I want that each new character is somehow able to find a seamstress within minutes and appears later in some badass costume as if they were able to go to Joann’s to make these outfits.  Some of this I have learned to look past or else I would hate everyone of these films.

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE

Fox and Singer have successfully made a film filled with impressive CGI filled action sequences that doesn’t become tired half-way through.  Every sequence is massive with what appears to have been a tiresome task of the creation of these computer generated scenes of destruction.  Every effect if gorgeous and intricate to the point of finding myself in awe in every battle scene.

While I usually do not suggest 3-D as being a necessity, I do find the need to seek out a quality theater as sound mixing plays an integral part of this film.  Think MAD MAX meets the high-flying, powerful superhero universe.  Every punch, every superpower zap, every death defying leap, every piece of wizardry is felt within the sound mixing.  From Cyclops’s loud jolts of laser beams to the rumbling of Magneto’s magical forces to control metal, every piece of sound is loud and thunderous.  This is not something you should just stream to your phone at a later date.

At the end of this ride, my buddy and I simply leaned back in our chairs and looked at each other in pure laughter of how unbelievably impressive it was from start to finish.  We had no other way to react but to laugh in enjoyment.  I know you don’t want to hear it, but I have to say it and must apologize for my cringeworthy cliche that I am about to bestow upon your eyes.  So good, it was funny.

It’s a mighty long film and can be noticeable, not due to a slowness of pace or boredom, but rather because so much takes place.  I am seriously at a loss to how some are not praising this film.  This is exactly what one should crave for in a superhero movie.  Not only is it simply epic, but holds meaning if anyone has any investment in anyone of these characters.  This genre will always be faced with either dealing with villain wanting to takeover the world or the internal conflicts faced with a superhero’s past.  It’s the nature of the beast and truly what every film of its kind is ultimately about.  While deeper meanings and self-reflecting themes will play out, X-Men will always remain true to its tolerance and acceptance moralities.

X-Men: Apocalypse makes no mistake of what its trying to be.  It knows its self-worth and doesn’t try to preach.  Instead, audiences will find a massively entertaining, action-adventure, with rounded characters and a larger story that will leave you waiting in anticipation for the next (X-Men related) installment.

Watch the Official Trailer:

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Joel Covey

Joel has been writing for SoCalThrills for the past decade covering entertainment, events, and theater since joining the site. He is a CSUF alum, studying within the Communication and Radio / TV / Film colleges.