SPOILERS: X-MEN: APOCALYPSE - 6 Things It Got Right And 4 Things It Got Wrong
X-Men: Apocalypse has been generating a lot of discussion, but what specifically in the movie does and doesn't work? Well, the answer to that question can be found here, though you may be surprised...
X-Men: Apocalypse has split critics down the middle, and while it's so far only been released in a handful of international locations, chances are it could be every bit as divisive with fans. Of course, the X-Men movies have always split opinions, with many loving Bryan Singer's approach to these characters and plenty of others unhappy that they've so often deviated from the source material.
Personally, I think this may very well be the best X-Men movie yet (it's certainly right up there with X-Men: First Class for me), but that doesn't mean it's without its issues. Despite having a lot of fan pleasing scene and moments to love, X-Men: Apocalypse makes quite a few mistakes, some of which are particularly frustrating and sure to leave moviegoers perplexed when they see this in theaters.
X-Men: Apocalypse doesn't reach the US until May 26th, and ith that in mind, I'm sure many of you are hoping to avoid any big plot reveals. While I don't touch on every story beat and major twist here, I won't be offended if you decide against reading any further because MAJOR SPOILERS do indeed follow in this breakdown of the movie's best and worst moments and creative decisions.
Didn't Work: Nonsensical Continuity
A ten year gap between X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past made at least some sense, but now that we're jumping ahead another decade (without the characters ageing), I pretty much just assumed that this universe is similar to the comics in the sense that time around the characters moves on while they age pretty slowly. Spider-Man for example has, what, aged 10 years in 50?
However, with Quicksilver mentioning that he first met Magneto ten years or so earlier, this timeline has become completely nonsensical. By now, Charles and Erik should be in their late 50s, while Alex Summers' parents must be nearly the same age as him! It's a weird distraction which is made worse by the fact that X-Men: Apocalypse so frequently addresses the gap between this movie and the last.
Did Work: The Phoenix
While it's probably far too soon to jump back into the Dark Phoenix Saga with the next movie, X-Men: Apocalypse does an incredible job of setting that up and finally portrays Jean Grey's powers in a satisfying and exciting way.
That's particularly the case in the final battle with En Sabah Nur when Professor X convinces Jean that she needs to unleash the full extent of her abilities to defeat him, and all of a sudden, she's walking on air with the fiery Phoenix behind her in a very iconic and cool comic book movie moment. Neither of Singer's previous X-Men movies or The Last Stand did Jean justice, but in just one scene (and throughout the rest of the movie to be fair) that's rectified.
Didn't Work: The End Of Magneto's Story
Magneto's story arc in X-Men: Apocalypse is excellent, and seeing him turn on En Sabah Nur to save Professor X and the X-Men is a really satisfying moment. Later hailed as a hero by the media, the Master of Magnetism is given something of a fresh start, but rather than sticking around to help Charles watch over the X-Men, he leaves. And, well, that's pretty much it.
Having Magneto finally join the X-Men to become an anti-hero of sorts would have been awesome (and echoed the comics), but now it feels like another ten year jump could result in him either kept a good guy or predictably turned back into a villain. The third open and unsatisfying ending for Magneto in a row, this is very frustrating and could have been handled better.
Did Work: Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)
Everyone went into X-Men: Days of Future Past expecting Quicksilver to be awful (especially after seeing that costume), but Evan Peters ended up stealing the show. Well, he does so again here in a sequence which is set to the Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This). Zipping through the X-Mansion as it explodes, the speedster inventively saves all of the X-Men and students while time near enough stands still.
As great as Joss Whedon's take on this character was in Avengers: Age of Ultron last year, Singer's version completely blows that one away for a second time, and Quicksilver has a surprisingly emotional arc here too as he wrestles with whether or not to tell Magneto that he's his son.
Did Work: Weapon X, Baby
Wolverine's cameo in X-Men: Apocalypse is brief, but still immensely satisfying. Clearly toned down to avoid an R-Rating, the hero - who is now completely mindless and suited up in a pretty cool version of that iconic Weapon X helmet - bloodily slashes his way through Stryker's men before making his escape.
Before he does though, Logan shares a surprisingly touching moment with Jean Grey, a nice nod to their history in the previous franchise. Does this movie need Wolverine? Absolutely not, but it doesn't feel too shoehorned in and should make fans of the source material very happy. If anything, it would have been nice to spend even more time with the returning Hugh Jackman as Weapon X!
Didn't Work: Angel And Psylocke Wasted
The next X-Men movie needs to make its cast quite a bit smaller as the problem with having so many actors in one movie is that some are inevitably wasted. In X-Men: Apocalypse, it's Angel and Psylocke who suffer, with just a handful of lines between them despite a fair few cool action scenes.
While the door is left open for the latter to reappear in the future (X-Force, hopefully), Angel is killed off, and that's a real disservice to both this version and his comic book counterpart. Despite being a bit of a jerk, it definitely felt like there was more to Warren than meets the eye, but this is now the second time one of the founding X-Men has been completely botched on the big screen.
Did Work: Oscar Isaac's Apocalypse
Ever since that first official image was released, X-Men: Apocalypse's take on its titular villain has been getting a lot of flak. However, he neither looks like Ivan Ooze or sounds as bad as the trailers would have you believe, and if anything, Oscar Isaac's take on En Sabah Nur may have just given us the best villain in the X-Men franchise to date (and one who's up there with the likes of Loki and Zemo).
The actor steals the show in this movie, delivering a fascinatingly complex performance as the twisted and deranged ancient mutant. While his plan is admittedly simplistic - and possibly even a tad clichéd - the whole thing works, particularly in regards to how his powers are portrayed here.
Didn't Work: The 1980s Setting
X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past really took advantage of their period settings and felt very authentic as a result. Sadly, X-Men: Apocalypse does not, and if you removed a handful of very obvious references (Look! They're watching Return of the Jedi!) and some very stylised fashion choices, then you honestly wouldn't be able to guess when and where this one takes place.
Perhaps the 80s were just a boring decade - I wouldn't know - but it now feels like using the 90s as a background in the next instalment will be pointless as it's hard to imagine what that could possibly add to whatever follows X-Men: Apocalypse, especially as we get closer to the present day and these past settings aren't quite so foreign.
Did Work: Essex Corp.
What exactly X-Men: Apocalypse's after-credits scene is setting up remains to be seen, but Mr. Sinister and X-23 seem very likely. The sequence features a very creepy looking guy in a suit walking through Weapon X (as the dead bodies are cleaned up) and into the room Wolverine was being kept in. Once there, he takes a vial of Logan's blood from a hidden safe and places it in a briefcase with the words "Essex Corp." written along the side.
This opens the door to a lot of very exciting possibilities, and may very well reveal both the big bad of The Wolverine 3 and the introduction of a fan-favourite character who can ultimately take Hugh Jackman's place in this world.
Did Work: The Costumes
When the first trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse showed the heroes in more bland, black leather, I kind of wanted to sit in the corner and weep quietly to myself. Had Singer learned nothing? Well, to be fair, the filmmaker finds a good explanation for that (they're flight suits they find in the Weapon X facility), and the movie ends with the team in proper superhero costumes.
It's really just a shame that Fox decided to spoil that big reveal - and pretty much the entire final scene - in the trailers as it would have made for an awesome surprise. As it stands though, it's still a pretty exciting moment, and nicely sets up the future for the young X-Men and original cast members like Professor X and Mystique.
Have you seen X-Men: Apocalypse yet? If so, what do you think were its best and worst moments? As always, let us know your thoughts in the usual place.
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