Review: Not even Jean Grey can save X-Men: Apocalypse

Only saving grace is the nice tie-ins to the other X-Men movies - like how Charles Xavier lost his hair.

Published: 20th May 2016 03:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th May 2016 11:13 AM   |  A+A-

x men

Snip from the movie trailer

There's no nice way of saying this: X-Men: Apocalypse is a lousy movie. The storytelling is splotchy, drawn-out and meandering. The acting is terrible – quite an achievement, considering the killer movies the same cast has delivered the last couple of times. But the biggest let-down is that the mutant-on-mutant action, the cornerstone of any good Marvel movie, is lackluster, made worse by visual effects that seem almost incomplete. Perhaps it's the curse of making so many awesome movies in the series or maybe it's just sheer boredom on Bryan Singer's part, but the production values are disappointing, given how many millions they probably blew up making this film.

The only saving grace is that you get glimpses of nice tie-ins to the other  X-Men movies – like how Charles Xavier (an uncharacteristically restrained performance by the redoubtable James McAvoy) lost his hair, how Wolverine (Hugh Jackman doing the Hollywood version of an item song, only with claws and bloodshed) and Jean Grey first met, how Magneto gets a new helmet and so on. You also get the origin stories of Cyclops, Nightcrawler and Storm, which no X-Men fan will say no to. The trouble though is that this is too little, too late, to salvage this film. Or even upgrade it to being remotely watchable.

The worst thing about this film is the villain. Apocalypse (Oscar Isaacs in a really weird suit and make-up), this film’s titular character, is an absolute let-down. As if it wasn't bad enough that Bryan Singer attempted to give this mother (or should it be daddy?) of all mutants a seriously rock-of-ages back story by spinning a yarn in which he's an Egyptian God figure who's amassing power before the people bring the pyramid down on him, he also has a dreadful – voice. And that's a huge no-no for all powerful villains. It's also slightly disturbing that he gives his four henchmen – who include Storm and Magneto – new hair-dos, uniforms and a teleportation option that includes them being surrounded by a big, purple ball of light.

This story is set a decade after the previous movie, so we get a sampling of what life was like in 1983. Like any other movie of this kind, it comes down to a battle of wills. Good vs evil. Of friends who have turned into foes into friends into foes, leading to occasional tag-team action. Unfortunately, Apocalypse, who has the bigger will and the desire to destroy almost all human life on earth, has a plan about how he's going to get there. On the face of it, all the elements that you'd like in a Marvel movie are very much present. But the rather long and arduous route they take to get you there is tiresome.

Marred by sloppy screen writing and an editor who was probably kinder than he was talented, X:Men peters down to an insipid end. And this, by a long, long shot, is the reason why the film cannot bounce back towards the end. They really ought to have slapped an X rating on this film. That way, there would have been little risk of young viewers being scarred for life.

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