Monday, 30 May 2016
Review: X-Men: Apocalypse (UK Cert 12A)
After tackling the 1960s in First Class and the 1970s in Days Of Future Past, the new X-Men franchise reaches the 1980s with Apocalypse.
It's 1983 and an ancient mutant, En Sabah Nur/Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), is awoken in Cairo. Recruiting mutants- including a grieving Magneto (Michael Fassbender)- to serve as his Four Horsemen, Apocalypse seeks to raze the world and rebuild it. Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and his mutant charges must help to stop Apocalypse from completing his plan.
There are some particularly strong action setpieces- one shows off the speedster skills of Quicksilver (Evan Peters) to the tune of 'Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)' by the Eurythmics, whilst another shows exactly how Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) get out of the Weapon X facility; a moment sadly spoiled by the latest trailer to be released. If that particular reveal had been left secret, it would have made a really brilliant moment even more so.
Performances are generally strong across the board, especially amongst the younger generation of mutants with Sophie Turner a real standout as the young Jean Grey. The returning cast- Fassbender, McAvoy, Hoult and Lawrence- fit back into their roles with no issues, with Fassbender really giving an air of gravitas and woundedness to his role. The only bum note is Oscar Isaac's curiously uncharismatic Apocalypse (but that's more to do with the writing than his performance, I think).
My main gripe about X-Men: Apocalypse is that it never seems to kick into top gear. Both First Class and especially Days Of Future Past crank up the adrenaline towards the final act, but Apocalypse never seems to quite get there. The final smackdown between Apocalypse and his Horsemen and the X-Men is good- especially its resolution- but it never feels epic. It also doesn't help that several characters really get shortchanged, with Angel/Archangel (Ben Hardy) and Psylocke (Olivia Munn) virtually relegated to the sidelines.
The film is a lot of fun and is enjoyable, and is a perfectly good ending to this trilogy. And hey any film that's content to throw a bit of shade at X-Men: The Last Stand is good with me.
Rating: 4 out of 5