Written By: Traves Bezenar
‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ opened domestically in theaters this week. So far the sixth movie in the franchise, eighth if you include the two ‘Wolverine’ stand alone films, has had moderate success raking in about 65 million dollars on its opening weekend. In comparison the last two ‘X-Men’ films opened to 55 and 90 million respectively. So while this isn’t the franchise's worst opening ever, it certainly isn’t the best. Critics have likewise been torn on the film leaving it sitting at a 48% on rotten tomatoes while fans have liked it 74% of the time. Who’s right, who’s wrong, let’s find out.
One of the stand out things about ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ was the visual effects. Unlike some of the other superhero movies released this year ‘X-Men’ does a great job of blending practical and computer generated effects. Without spoiling too much there is one scene involving fan favorite character, Quicksilver, that is simply out of this world. There are a few other stand out scenes in the visual effects department, like the opening scene for instance, that are also visually breathtaking, exciting, and altogether perfect.
Unfortunately we have to move from the good right to the bad and the worst thing about this movie is easily the acting. Allow me to preface this by saying that I love both Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy, but their performance in this installment left a lot to be desired. In my opinion, they both tend to overact in their portrayal of Magneto and Professor Xavier with Fassbender being the worst culprit of all. His character does go through some very emotional stuff in the film, but the way he reacts to the events are overwrought and reek like a teen melodrama better suited for the CW. On the other end of the spectrum we have Jennifer Lawrence, Sophie Turner, and Tye Sheridan who show almost no emotion throughout the entire film. They seem less like the talented actors I know them to be and more like people just reading lines off a script.
The acting wasn’t all bad though. Nicholas Hoult, Ben Hardy, Evan Peters, and Kodi Smit-McPhee all give amazing supporting performances. In fact Evan Peter's’ portrayal of Quicksilver it’s so much better than Disney’s version of the character that I wish he could make the jump over to the official MCU. The other actors mentioned above all have their moments to shine on screen and tell their parts of the story clearly. It;s easy to understand why their characters make the choices they do and even easier to relate to them.
In a bubble, the plot of the movie is fine, but when you take the rest of the series into consideration it starts to look really bad. We revisit events from previous films that don’t mesh timeline wise with the events of this film, we see characters that should not yet exist, or were already introduced in previous under vastly different circumstances in the original X-men trilogy, and perhaps the worst culprit of all is the third or fourth retelling we get of Wolverine’s origin as weapon x. The filmmakers may claim that this movie takes place in an altered timeline due to the events of the last film (X-Men: Days of Future Past) but that’s just a lazy excuse for them to avoid continuity with the rest of the series. Especially since all the movies have been shown to be linked together multiple times.
When everything's said and done I enjoyed ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ but I feel that had more to do with my love for the source material than the quality of the movie. As far as X-Men movies go, it isn't the worst, but I still can't see myself paying to watch it a second time. Hopefully the next installment in the X-Men franchise will focus on moving forward and telling a new story, rather than retconning the past the timeline into meaninglessness.