First Reviews For X-MEN: APOCALYPSE Are A Mixed Bag; 'Cyclops,' & 'Wolverine' Shine While 'Quicksilver' Steals The Show Once Again

First Reviews For X-MEN: APOCALYPSE Are A Mixed Bag; 'Cyclops,' & 'Wolverine' Shine While 'Quicksilver' Steals The Show Once Again

First Reviews For X-MEN: APOCALYPSE Are A Mixed Bag; 'Cyclops,' & 'Wolverine' Shine While 'Quicksilver' Steals The Show Once Again

Well, the embargo lifted and the first X-Men: Apocalypse reactions are in... and while they trend positive, they're mixed to say the least.

Bryan Singer's last installment, the critically acclaimed X-Men: Days of Future Past was a tough act to follow and by the looks of the first reviews and reactions, it sounds like X-Men: Apocalypse doesn't quite live up to its beloved predecessor. However, despite the few negatives, there is still plenty to like for X-fans as the newcomers consisting of X-Men mainstays - Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm, and Nightcrawler - were all well-received, Evan Peters' Quicksilver steals the show once again with a spectacular sequence, and Hugh Jackman's fan-favorite Wolverine has a scene that's being described as "f**king bananas!" The film also gets some love for being fun, fan service, its comic accuracy as well as comic nods, and is said to easily be the third best comic book movie of the year behind Captain America: Civil War and Deadpool. Check out a handful of reviews below and keep scrolling (or use Command F) for Twitter reactions:

Both Captain America: Civil War and X-Men: Apocalypse are superhero extravaganzas with severe traffic control problems, but while the former keeps things flowing reasonably smoothly, the new film, set to arrive in theaters just weeks later, resembles a bumper-car nightmare. Narratively jumbled and jammed with so many characters that you give up keeping them all straight while simultaneously lamenting not seeing more of those you might actually want around, Bryan Singer's fourth entry in the enormously profitable series he inaugurated 16 years ago undeniably builds to a cataclysmic dramatic reckoning. But mostly it just feels like a bloated, if ambitious attempt to shuffle as many mutants and specially gifted characters as possible into a story of a resurrected god ready to take over the world. Series fans will no doubt have many bones to pick with the choices made here, but that won't stop the film from soaring at the box office; Singer's last franchise outing, X-Men: Days of Future Past two years ago, was, at $748 million worldwide, the highest grosser in the bunch to date.

Although the “X-Men” ensembles are usually large, there are simply too many characters for the action-heavy “Apocalypse” to properly juggle. It’s easy to forget even McAvoy or Fassbender when they’re off screen for too long, and the film functions best when it lets the fresh young trio of Sheridan, Turner and Smit-McPhee take center stage. Still, it’s Peters who emerges as the cast standout in just a handful of scenes, by bringing an offbeat sensibility to a production that otherwise plays campy cartoon material a little too straight.

As a conclusion to a trilogy, Apocalypse falls somewhat short. It marginalises key relationships in favour of establishing new ones, and lacks the depth and distinctive historical flavour of its immediate predecessors. But taken as the next chapter in the series, Apocalypse is an undeniably fun and entertaining adventure and does a pretty good job of establishing Xavier’s next class. Rating: 7.0 out of 10 Grade: C+

With “X-Men: Apocalypse,” however, Singer seems to have acquired a new mutant power of his own: Monotony. Whether it’s the lack of an interesting villain, or the fact that the series’ time-travel element is forcing these mutants to meet each other (and the audience) all over again for the first time, this latest entry marks a shocking letdown from Singer’s earlier contributions; what once soared now slogs.

However, even though the X-Men: Apocalypse narrative ultimately crashes and burns, there’s something to be said for the entertainment value of the film. Singer could and should have shaved at least 30 minutes off the running time, but there are enough successful hero moments and well-timed jokes, especially from Peters and Smit-McPhee, to keep the film afloat and even spark some interest in another installment. Grade: C+

X-Men: Apocalypse can't reach the levels of maturity and sophistication of Civil War, but it has a messy charm all of its own, and maintains the quality set by the post-Last Stand films. With a new team of young X-Men standing by, the future's still looking bright for the franchise.

I can imagine Bryan Singer making an X-Men movie every few years for the rest of his life. Sometimes he’ll get it right. Sometimes it won’t quite work. But it’s clear that he is all-in at this point, and there’s always something to like about one of these films. If familiarity is a problem for you, then you’ll definitely have your issues with the film, but as franchise management goes, this is largely effective spectacle.

X-Men: Apocalypse does nothing to discredit an already enormous franchise, and will appease fans who want more of the same mutant thrills. Comic diehards get their dug-in references (Wolverine mirrors an entrance straight from illustrated pages, Jubilee flashes her legendary yellow jacket, Xavier finally goes bald), movie lovers have some tremendous set pieces to gander at, and X-lovers spend more time with earlier versions of characters they already enjoy. The film isn’t underwhelming, it’s just same old free-wheeling, Cerebro-smashing, Wolvie-berserker style antics that basely sustain franchise advancement. The X-Men are back, without a doubt. I can’t say they’re better than ever, but they’re certainly back! Rating: 3 stars out of 5

X-Men: Apocalypse has a lot of action, balanced with humor and emotion that make you think of more than just “When’s the next superpower?” There’s a ton of fan-service, especially for longtime fans of the X-Men (whether from comics, videogames, the 90s animated series, or the films) and in-jokes (including one laugh out loud one at their own expense) that should make X-fans extremely happy. From the climactic battle all the way through the final scene of the movie, my inner ten-year-old was screaming out loud. The audience of oft-jaded press and guests were whooping and left the theater smiling – a telling indication of a flat-out fun time.

Messier and heavier than Days Of Future Past, this is not so much the next step in the X-Men’s evolution as a failed callback to past glories. Rating: 2 stars out of 5

X-Men: Apocalypse is by no means a terrible film - the quality of the cast, from Fassbender to McAvoy to Lawrence to Kodi Smit-McPhee to Evan Peters (again great as Quicksilver) ensures there’s always someone worth watching in the quieter moments. But compared to this year’s last big superhero movie, Captain America: Civil War, Apocalypse feels less assured, less fleet-footed at moving between the earnest, the dramatic and the outright camp. When a superhero gets all these elements right, the result can seem effortless; when the balance is wrong, the difference is plain to see. Rating: 2 stars out of 5

It’s not all bad, though. There are some funny in-jokes, like a swipe at the terrible X-Men 3 (aka Last Stand). Turner is promising as Jean Grey, and Evan Peters’ Quicksilver gets another super-slo-mo showstopper scored to Eurythmics’ period-appropriate synth-jam “Sweet Dreams.” But all in all, Apocalypse is a third-tier X-Men movie that arrives at a time when studios and filmmakers who traffic in spandex need to be at the top of their game. We know all of the clichés and all of the tropes too well at this point to settle for place-holding mediocrity. We know the difference between an instant classic and a dog. Apocalypse isn’t quite a dog. But it is a movie with way too much of everything except the things that should matter the most—novelty, creativity, and fun. Rating: C

This will probably come as a shock to nobody who has seen the trailer, but poor Oscar Isaac is completely wasted as Apocalypse, a powerful mutant who has been awakened after about 5,000 years of being buried alive – which is fitting because Isaac is buried under a ton of makeup. To be fair, he seems to be having a blast, way down there under all of that makeup. So maybe it shouldn’t be “poor Oscar Isaac” and more like, “poor us, who don’t really ever get to see Oscar Isaac, yet he’s in this movie a lot.”

Apocalypse is the film that finally realizes the full big-screen potential of Marvel’s X-Men franchise and elevates it to a level on par (or pretty close anyway) to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The “X-Men” series has truly begun to churn as it comes full circle to characters introduced sixteen years ago. In superficial terms, these visions of classic X-Men are “better,” in that they appear much more like their comic book counterparts, but as heroes able to command any emotional connection they are far inferior. The grand X-Men soap opera has often created compelling allegories to help comic readers and film audiences make sense of their own sense of alienation and separation, whatever the underlying reasons might be. However, ‘Apocalypse’ feels like a cog in Fox’s perpetual-motion blockbuster machine, paying lip service to the story’s allegorical potential as it grinds our interest to dust. [C-]

At this point the X-MEN movies have really settled into a predictable rhythm; while you could of course say the same for some other big franchises, these particular movies just don't inspire a lot of excitement in me. That said, if you really enjoyed the last two films, you'll likely find plenty to appreciate in APOCALYPSE, even though its villain is a drag and the heroes are going through the motions once again. I'm giving it a 6, but you may well bump the grade up higher if you're an X-Men fanatic.

But for the most part, X-Men: Apocalypse weaves its ongoing plotlines from previous films and new characters in a fun and spirited manner. Anchored by Isaac’s strong performance as En Sabah Nur, the film also has a momentum as the essential group of characters form up to face down the threat of Apocalypse. And with these characters, the X-Men film series finally feels like the X-Men comics of the era … even if some of the mutants are younger or older than they should be.

X-Men: Apocalypse plays more like an overblown episode of the 1990s cartoon series than anything else, and I wouldn’t consider that a compliment. Then again, your mileage might vary. If you always wanted the X-Men movies to be over the top and hard to take seriously, maybe X-Men: Apocalypse is the film you've always been waiting for. The rest of us will have to just keep waiting.

X-Men basically invented the modern superhero movie. But this franchise needs to make a choice: evolve or die.

This might not be the best superhero movie for the youngest of kids, because there are moments that are darker and more violent than other Marvel fare. Otherwise, "X-Men: Apocalypse" offers a lot of entertainment value for your movie-spending buck, and it's very consistent with the previous two movies in terms of its impressive CG-enhanced action. In the end, shifting the focus to the younger characters works well. Unlike some of the cheesier remnants of the '80s, we'll probably want to see more of these new X-Men. Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Most importantly, the character of Apocalypse galvanizes these last three X-Men movies into an actual trilogy rather than a cynical hodgepodge of contractually obligated blockbusters — the first X-Men series asked who we are, and this one deepened that inquiry by asking what we must make of ourselves. "Apocalypse," for all its faults, has the audacity to make the MCU look small, and the conviction to make the DCU — if there even is such a thing — look foolish for confusing self-seriousness with gravity. If only these characters were allowed to be as complex as the ideas they fight for, "Apocalypse" could have represented a new beginning for superhero cinema. It's one thing to show Magneto destroying Auschwitz; it would have been quite another to show him rebuilding it. Grade: B-

Some of our favourite characters are wasted in the charge to reinvigorate the X-Men franchise yet again. The weakest of Singer's recent trilogy, but not without its engaging moments.

Even if you don't agree with how terrible DOFP was, that's just even better news for you. This film is leagues above DOFP in terms of story, character development, visuals, AND there is some amount of closure. The most exciting part of X-men: Apocalypse is that now we have wrapped up the origin stories and we have our key players back. Presumably the next astonishing adventure will pick up sometime shortly before the first X-men (2000). DOFP reset some things, but in a way, we're moving toward some events previously attempted. Let's hope this new team of uncanny heroes get more of this treatment from Singer and Kinberg. And, who would be surprised if a mercenary who just made big bucks showed up for a goof?

The idea of an apocalypse means every dial has to be turned up to 11 and this film certainly provides bangs for your buck, although there is less space for the surreal strangeness of the X-Men to breathe, less dialogue interest, and they do not have the looser, wittier joy of the Avengers. But the more playful episodes with Cyclops and Quicksilver are welcome and everything hangs together. But in the future X-Men films have to mutate into something with fewer characters and more characterisation. Rating: 3 stars out of 5

What makes X-Men: Apocalypse so exciting isn’t really any one thing but rather its cohesion, its storytelling verve. Where other recent superhero films have struggled to jam-pack their unwieldy plots with characters and incident and meaning, this film nimbly mixes narrative exuberance and emotional depth, flamboyant displays of power with quietly terrifying exchanges. It zips along, combining the highs and lows of a real comic book – all the feeling, color, and wonder, even some of the dopiness – with gloriously cinematic storytelling.
 
Fassbender brings impressive dramatic weight to Magneto’s transformation back into a super-villain, at least until the movie abandons any interest in its protagonists’ mental states to make room for an extended but underwhelming action finale set against yet another montage of the world’s great cities getting demolished by big swarms of CGI junk from the skies. The balance between emotion and action is not as precise as Captain America: Civil War or X-Men: Days of Future Past, and some of the best moments are lifted, occasionally word for word, from previous X-Men films. (A key exchange between Xavier and Magneto, for example, comes from Singer’s original X-Men all the way back in 2000.) For the second straight movie, the best setpiece belongs to Peters’ Quicksilver, who steals the show with an exciting and funny showcase for his powers. If we’re being totally honest, though, it’s not all that different than his showcase scene in the last movie. Rating: 5 out of 10

There are no memorable action scenes – the closest we get is a virtual rerun of the time-freeze sequence from the previous movie. And the script is just nonsense, comprised entirely of sarcastic asides, portentous gobbledygook – ‘the dawn of a new age will rise!’ cries Isaac – and insider references that only the faithful will appreciate. Unless that’s you, it’s probably best to stay clear.
 
SchmoesKnow

Check out the Twitter reactions below:
Since the dawn of civilization, he was worshipped as a god. Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant from Marvel's X-Men universe, amassed the powers of many other mutants, becoming immortal and invincible. Upon awakening after thousands of years, he is disillusioned with the world as he finds it and recruits a team of powerful mutants, including a disheartened Magneto (Michael Fassbender), to cleanse mankind and create a new world order, over which he will reign. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) with the help of Professor X (James McAvoy) must lead a team of young X-Men to stop their greatest nemesis and save mankind from complete destruction.


X-Men: Apocalypse features:
Director: Bryan Singer
James McAvoy as Charles Xavier/Professor X
Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto
Jennifer Lawrence as Raven Darkhölme/Mystique
Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy/Beast
Oscar Isaac as En Sabah Nur/Apocalypse
Rose Byrne as Moira MacTaggert
Tye Sheridan as Scott Summers/Cyclops
Sophie Turner as Jean Grey
Alexandra Shipp as Ororo Munroe/Storm
Kodi Smit-McPhee as Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler
Evan Peters as Peter Maximoff/Quicksilver
Lucas Till as Alex Summers/Havok
Ben Hardy as Warren Worthington III/Angel
Lana Condor as Jubilation Lee/Jubilee
Olivia Munn as Betsy Braddock/Psylocke
Tómas Lemarquis as Caliban
Josh Helman as William Stryker
Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine
 
X-Men: Apocalypse builds a better world May 27


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