X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) – Film Review

Ending aside I really enjoyed this movie

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It all starts to get a little confusing when talking about prequels an sequels with the X-Men franchise so lets not bother.  It’s the early 1980’s and Professor X (James McAvoy) is happily running his school for gifted youngsters while Magneto (Michael Fassbender) has started a new life in Eastern Europe with a wife and child in tow.  Meanwhile CIA agent Moira Mactaggert (Rose Byrne) is back and investigating rumours of a mutant cult in Egypt.  It would appear that an ancient force is about to reawaken and ruin everyone’s day.

The most striking element of this new film is how it relates to modern day terrorism. I say that because of the way in which we see  the character of En Sabah Nur (Apocalypse played by Oscar Isaac) recruiting his Four Horseman to help him achieve his destructive aims.  He seeks out the disenfranchised and fills them with a sense of power and ownership over their own lives.  He gives them a way our of their predicament no matter how negative it might seem to us on the outside.  The strength of the X-Men franchise remains the central tension between Mcvoy and Fassbender and it is no different here although their story feels less intertwined this time around.  I’ve grown to enjoy their chemistry and hope they return for a fourth film.  In terms of the new mutants I remain on the fence as to their ability to carry a future film but was impressed by the debut of Sophie Turner as Jean Grey.  She has something about her and it was great to see her play an important role.  Fingers crossed she emerges as a major character.

I enjoyed the set up of the film and perhaps unsurprisingly felt underwhelmed at the effects heavy final act.drew to a close.  I understand why its there as a crowd pleasing finale but it didn’t feel like a character driven conflict.  I have heard some criticism that Jennifer Lawrence was ‘mailing in’ her performance as Raven but I disagree.  The problem was that she wasn’t given anything to do.  Her character wasn’t developed in any way.  I think her role fell into the category of big named actress needs to be given screen time to sell the movie but the writers didn’t really need her to tell the story so they stick in a few scenes.

A few annoyances aside I remain a devoted fan of this franchise although I fear for the next film.  I don’t think you can have an X-Men film without Professor X and Magneto so if McAvoy and Fassbender don’t return what happens next?  I’ll worry about that when the time comes.  In the meantime there’s a strong chance I’ll go back for a second viewing.  My rating 4/5.

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