Anyone with the phrase “Less is More” hanging in needlepoint above the fireplace needs to run the other way. X-Men: Apocalypse will not go over well.
Actually, anyone who’s even close to being burned out on superhero movies should flee quickly, too. The only people who might enjoy it? Folks who enjoy seeing A-list actors shackled by a D-list script… and people who have a few hours to kill after just completing their latest needlepoint project.
The third of the “young gun” X-Men flicks, Apocalypse is far and away the worst of the bunch. (For comparison, I gave 2011’s First Class 4/5 stars and 2014’s Days of Future Past 4.5/5 stars.) Something clearly happened on the way to the cinema this time, though, and it’s not at all difficult to figure out what.
His name is Bryan Singer.
After directing the first two original X-Men movies, Singer bowed out for a while before returning to helm First Class and its sequel. After those rollicking films, however, he apparently decided he was done playing around, and he forgot to have a little fun. Good heavens, it’s just a comic book movie, people.
Set in 1983 (after a wildly over-the-top prologue set in 3600 BC) Apocalypsebounces back and forth from Berlin to Poland to Egypt to the US, and that’s just in the first twenty minutes. Every step of the way more and more characters are introduced, more subplots are added, and the whole mess just gets more and more muddled.
At its core, Apocalypse revolves around En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac), who we’re led to believe was/is the first mutant. After laying dormant for 5000 years, though, he’s ready to get back to the business of causing mayhem– especially since he wakes up to discover the world now includes things like TVs and cars. And that’s enough to throw anyone over the edge, amiright?
So bad guy Nur amasses his army, and good guy Xavier (James McAvoy) amasses his, and there’s a fight. Ah, if only Apocalypse were that simple, though.
Instead we get prolonged moments of mind-numbingly dull talking, mixed with scenes of melodrama that would make Sarah Bernhardt cry uncle. And it’s impossible to shake the feeling that talented actors like Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, and McAvoy would have avoided this franchise like the plague, had they only known where it was headed. And what on earth convinced X-Men newbies Isaac and Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner to enter the fray? All of them pale, however, to poor Olivia Munn, who’s Psylocke is made to don perhaps the worst, most ridiculous costume in superhero history.
The screenplay by X-Men vet Simon Kinberg is more reminiscent of a throw-away 80s TV show than anything else, except for when he has Fassbender’s Magneto destroy Auschwitz like it was, well– a skyscraper in any other superhero movie. At that point Apocalypse became utterly tasteless.
Worth the 3D glasses?
If you can get past the awful script, amped-up melodrama, and mindless story, sure. There’s a good amount of ooh-worthy 3D moments.