20th Century Fox
“I’m just saying Empire is still the best. It’s the most complex, the most sophisticated. Wasn’t afraid to have a dark ending.”
“Yeah but come on, if it wasn’t for the first one, you wouldn’t have any of the rest of the movies.”
“Well, at least we can all agree the third one’s always the worst.”
Worshiped as a god since the dawn of civilization, the immortal Apocalypse becomes the firt and most powerful mutant. Awakening after thousands of years, he recruits the disheartened Magneto and other mutants to create a new world order. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Professor X and Raven lead a team of young X-Men to stop the seemingly invincible nemesis from destroying mankind.
It’s been another two years, and here we are at the third movie in the second X-Men trilogy, this are set in the 1980s and involving the Apocalypse storyline.
Of all the comic book exploits that have been adapted for the big screen for Marvel’s Merry Mutants, the one involving the oldest mutant Apocalypse is the one I’m least familiar with. I’m not completely ignorant of the story arc, just not as much as the Days Of Future Past story. So it was, going in to watch this movie with the other Exalted Geeks (we then recorded a podcast about it, right here), I didn’t have a very high expectation, except for having it as good a quality as both First Class and Days Of Future Past.
X-Men: Apocalypse seems to continue on in the grand Hollywood tradition of having the third in the trilogy be the one that’s either underwhelming or outright sucking so hard no light can escape its event horizon. Fortunately, this one only falls under the former category, meaning that while I found the movie entertaining enough, it just didn’t feel up to the level that the previous two entries in the series were.
And yes, I realize they lampshaded this in the movie itself (see above quote).
The story involves a millennia old mutant that, over the eons, has been worshiped as a god in older cultures. His secret to staying alive for so very long? Well, it’s not exactly living right, not smoking or drinking, and exercising daily, let’s just say. Eventually, he’s finally betrayed by the ancient Egyptian empire he was lording over, and was entombed until some FBI agent accidentally lets him loose in 1983. Apocalypse decides that humanity has lost its way, and thus sets out to destroy the world and remake it into his own image, gathering together his “Four Horsemen” (of course), which includes Magneto, who recently discovered how true the phrase “no good deed goes unpunished” is. Meanwhile, in upstate New York, Professor Xavier has his own hands full with some new entries in his school for gifted children, when rumblings of this ancient mutant’s desire to do an episode of Extreme Makeover: Planet Earth Edition comes through (among other things), and he has to band together his X-Men to try and take down a god. Easy peasy.
Overall, there’s a lot to like about X-Men: Apocalypse. The visuals were up to the high standard, yes, the interaction between the characters were stellar, and I didn’t really see too many anachronism to the period it was set in. Mainly, the use of the Metallica tune, “The Four Horsemen”; while very much apropos (it played over a scene where Apocalypse was recruiting one of his Horsemen), I don’t know exactly which month this is set in the year 1983, and thus have no idea if the scene in question was set before July of 1983, which is when Kill ‘Em All–the album “The Four Horsemen” appear on–was released, and thus have no fuel for my NERD RAGE!!1! On the other hand, favorite scene, hands down. Also, I feel that this is the one time in all the series where they got the right person to play Storm.
But, when it’s all said and done, X-Men: Apocalypse felt like a lot of build up to a bit of a let-down. For a mutant with aspirations of destroying the entire planet and rebuilding from scratch, there wasn’t a lot of that to be had. At least, not in the “oh, crap, we’re boned” sense that I had with Days Of Future Past. That, and the fact that the method of bringing Magneto back to the dark side was rather arbitrary.
That all said, in the end X-Men: Apocalypse is a good movie for pure sci-fi escapism. It’s an X-Men movie, what more can I really say? If you like the X-Men movies, you’re gonna like this one.