Ever since 2011’s X-Men First: Class, which saw the X-Men franchise rebooted, the entire series has found new life and a far more ambitious and realized vision the original X-Men trilogy ever had. The original series was good in its own right, it basically blazed the trail for all comic book movies, but the series itself has aged terribly and for me, none of the original X-Men ever had that feel of spectacle that the new series has. After the really, really good X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past hit the peak of the X-Men franchise, with Bryan Singer returning to the franchise and telling a fantastic X-Men story, with spectacle and a great amount of narrative heft.
X-Men: Apocalypse picks up ten years after the events of the previous film and in a nutshell, the film revolves around Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) and Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) leading a young group of super-powered mutants to counter the threat of Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), seemingly the world’s first mutant who used to rule Ancient Egypt before being buried by his followers, who awakens in 1983 to wreck havoc and take over the world.
While X-Men: Apocalypse lacks the same amount of ambition in terms of both story and plot that Days of Future Past had, it still manages to emerge as a more than worthy sequel to its predecessor.
Bryan Singer has never been the greatest director when it comes to crafting great action-set pieces, but surprisingly enough, he’s able to craft a few really amazing ones here, especially the one that culminates towards the end of the film and an even better Quicksilver sequence as compared to Days of Future Past, shot to the tune of Eurythmics’s Sweet Dreams.
But I think, what really works best is the story, which is well-crafted and has enough balance between seriousness and lightheartedness that the story requires to be both entertaining and engaging on anything more than a gut-level. The ensemble is really great. James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Olivia Munn, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Evan Peters complete a really great cast of actors and even though all of them aren’t given a lot of time on-screen, they all manage to shine in their individual moments.
I think Erik’s arc in this film is really interesting even though its elements may feel repetitive and I think Michael Fassbender’s performance really elevates the film as well. Another great thing this film did was giving Evan Peters’s Quicksilver a more expanded role in the film and as a result he pretty much steals the movie.
While Apocalypse as a villain isn’t bad and pretty faithful to the comics themselves, casting Oscar Isaac for the role, which could have virtually played by any other actor and then burying him under makeup seems like waste of his talent.
Altogether though, X-Men: Apocalypse is really entertaining and enjoyable stuff. The story is well-crafted, the set-pieces are really exciting and the fantastic ensemble does really well. It may not even come close to X-Men: Days of Future Past, but it in my opinion, it does occupy a very distant second position in the X-Men franchise.