For me the last two X-Men films have been the best so far in this series. While “First Class” was terrific, Brian Singer did one better in “Days of the Future Past”. It was a film of grand scale and immense intelligence that for a very long time I thought was not possible. But they did it alright and did it in style. Apocalypse was thus burdened at first by the weight of its predecessor’s greatness. Expectations skyrocketed even before the promos where out. Knowing that it will have an immortal playing the bad guy was even more alluring. New mutants, new secrets to unlock and a bigger, meaner and gruesome baddie to work with. The film was already looking good.
The story starts in Egypt where we see the rise of Apocalypse or atleast the transfer of his soul into a new body. Thus at the very onset they clear the first doubt about how he has been moving through the ages without dying. Next in a series of disjointed events we are introduced to some of the mutants like Mystic, Archangel, Cyclops, Storm and Nightcrawler who would be taking up the mantle on different sides. Magneto is living a happy life which is quickly destroyed when he tries to save a life. Apocalypse comes to life and recruits four other mutants including Magneto to cleanse the earth from the disease of humanity.
He speaks in a Hitler-isc tone growling that only the strong should survive meaning the strongest of the mutants. Quick Silver comes to the picture and joins the X-Men. He is looking for Magneto who happens to be his father. Xavier is quickly kidnapped and with him in his pocket, Apocalypse now has the power to control the minds of one and all. That’s one power he never had before. Now with his four horsemen and Xavier in his captivity, Apocalypse moves to destroy humanity and raise a stronger and more ruthless breed of mutants. Oh! And I forgot to mention, he elevates the powers of every mutant that he takes under his wings.
This is a great looking film. The action is spellbinding and the visual effects dazzling. There are moments of thundering physicality when certain mutants do certain things. There are lots of moments to cheer and shout your guts out. The film is colorful. It’s a lot less dark than “Days of the Future Past” and the added colors and vitality only add to the charm of the visuals. Ancient Egypt is always a great place to be and it visits it with power and vigor. The city milieu is no less wonderful. The film boasts of great cinematography throughout. The action works because of the amount of detailing and the physicality about it. Even the fight that unfolds in the mind of Xavier is laced with murdering ferocity. The final battle involving all the mutants is great to look at. Each of them have been given due attention.
The editing is top notch. It lingers where it has to and makes the fast cuts where it has to. There is a scene of tragedy involving Magneto in a jungle. That I believe is by far the most defining scene of the film and it goes on to define which side he will take in the war. It totally justifies his action in the next two hours. The piece involving Quick Silver is hilarious and yet absorbing. Mystic is again well fleshed out. She is one of the key players this time. And finally you get to know how Xavier went bald. Its also a film which gives you a peek into the prowess of Jean Grey which we know better from the films of the future timeline which were made in the past. The timelines in this franchise are a nightmare. You just have to watch them all to get an idea of what I meant here.
Each of the performances is spot on. I would like to single out a few of them primarily because of the importance of their characters in the narrative. Michael Fassbender steals the show again as he has the most badass and also the most emotionally ravaged character. He emotes and the audience will connect with him. Jennifer Lawrence as Mystic is the next thing. She has a great screen presence be it with or without her blue makeup. Oscar Isaac plays Apocalypse with conviction. He does as much as could have been done with that kind of makeup and voice alterations. I loved Evan Peters as Quick Silver. He is just a screen stealer. Sophie Turner makes a mark as Jean Grey.
Now let’s duel on the facts that take this film down. After “Days of the Future Past”, this film was just not intelligent enough to make the kind of impression its predecessor made. This film doesn’t really affect you emotionally as much as its predecessor did and that is one of its biggest failures. It’s just some good and silly entertainment. It never rises above the popcorn pleasure sort. The climax is too far-fetched. Three people fighting inside a common head is just too much to fathom. Also it could have worked had the process been reasoned out but that never happens. We have seen and believed far more stretched theories but they were always better explained. The film gets repetitive in many sequences which hurts its pull. The dark and gritty feel of the predecessor is missed at many junctures. The film is also unable to make you care for many of its characters and that really hurts the emotional connect with the film.
Having said that, this film is still mighty entertaining. It has all the ingredients that will make you sit through it with a wicked grin on your face. It has terrific action, great visuals and enough power in the acting department to enjoy the ride without looking at your watches. After the first twenty minutes, it’s a breathtaking run to the finish line. Watch X-Men: Apocalypse for what it is and you will be mighty pleased.
Rating: 3.5/5 (3.5 out of 5 Stars)