“X-men Apocalypse” is a film in 20th Century Fox’s Marvel Universe. The last film was “X-Men Days of Future Past”, which I liked overall. I did have problems with the end because of the way time travel works in this universe. Fox has never seemed to care about continuity or timelines, so I’m pretty much ignoring them for a future X-Men related films, including this one. That is a main problem for a lot of people and fed into the disagreement with this film. I would say the overall feelings of this film were negative. Honestly, I didn’t think it was bad… I loved it and below is a commentary like what I did for “Captain America: Civil War”.
This opening scene is brutal as the Four Horsemen attack revolting Egyptian Soldiers. The fact that these people would sacrifice their lives for Apocalypse shows the power he holds over his followers. The credits are fantastic as always with these X-Men films. We see the emergence of Scott Summers’s powers and Mystique, or rather Raven, scoping out a fight between Angel and Nightcrawler. One of my biggest issues with the film is the fact that Jennifer Lawrence is barely Mystique in the film. She was supposed to be Mutant and Proud after the last film. Why the change? Was it the publicity after The White House attack? It’s never explained. Even as Raven, Nightcrawler recognized her.
Now, we get to the Erik sequence in Poland. Michael Fassbender was fantastic as a Magneto on the lam. I love the dynamic of being a father. It shows that Mutants are human too. Havok brings Scott to the mansion. The new cast is fantastic. I hate Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones, but Sophie Turner is great as Jean Grey. McAvoy does his best impression of the Stewart Xavier by teaching the class and then helping Scott with his powers.
Moira McTaggart is back and does her own impression of Indiana Jones by stumbling upon Apocalypse’s Tomb. Some hate this scene, but she isn’t the one responsible for Apocalypse waking up. It’s the guys praying. It’s nitpicking really and unwarranted. The tremor Apocalypse sets off triggers Jean to have visions of the end of the world and for Charles to seek out Moira.
Erik, earlier, had used his powers to save a co-worker. Now the police have come to take him in. His daughter starts to use her powers, which causes an officer to shoot her, and subsequently his wife, with an arrow. In rage, Erik uses a pendant to kill all the officers. This is the best scene of the film and shows the struggle within himself that feeds his struggle with the cause for mutant kind. Our first glimpse at Storm comes with another brutal murder by Apocalypse.
Charles and Havok visits Moira, where they learn about Apocalypse. There are some scenes with Apocalypse and storm as well as Mystique meeting Psylock and Hank outfitting Scott with his signature glasses. Mystique is back at the mansion after hearing about Erik. While Apocalypse recruits Psylock and Angel, the younger X-Men go to the Mall. The infamous mall scene that was cut and shortened to a third film in the series joke.
Apocalypse comes to see Erik as he attempts to kill his co-workers. Apocalypse brings Erik to Auschwitz and helps him harness his powers, where Magneto destroys the buildings and fences. Quicksilver sees that his father shows up on the news and decides to pay Charles a visit. Meanwhile, Charles finds Raven in his office. She gives him some ridiculous answer for why she doesn’t walk around blue.
This all leads to Charles contacting Erik through Cerebro. This allows Apocalypse to use Charles as a conduit to launch every Nuclear missile into the air making all of the Superpower nations powerless. The tension of this scene and the abduction of Charles is greatly broken up with another fun Quicksilver scene, like in X-Men Days of Future Past. And… finally we get Mystique a little over an hour in for a minute or so. In comes Stryker and takes Hank, Moira, Quicksilver and Raven as Scott, Jean and Kurt mourned for Havok, who died in the mansion explosion. Jubilee was wasted in this film. Without the mall scene, she’s basically cut out of the film. She easily could’ve joined Scott, Jean and Kurt on their mission to save the others.
Stryker keeps his prisoners in a room while the young mutants try to find a way in. After Apocalypse uses Charles to deliver a message to the world, the young mutants let loose Logan, who slices and dices everyone in the Weapon X facility. Some people hate this scene and call it a throwaway scene. I like it. It’s a nice way to create a distraction while forming new canon for this timeline. I know Singer doesn’t care for continuity, but it’s a nice scene. Plus, it gets you ready for the brutality of “Logan” coming out in 2017.
The X-Men head to Egypt to save Charles and stop Apocalypse. Magneto begins to destroy the world as Charles is strapped to the table that we allow Apocalypse to transfer his consciousness into Charles. And now another hour into the film, Mystique is back as Raven tells the kids to embrace their powers. Hank leads the kids to save Charles as Mystique and Quicksilver go for Erik. We get to see some awesome fight scenes like Nightcrawler and Angel and Hank and Psylock. It’s a little disappointing that Quicksilver doesn’t tell Erik that he’s his son. As Apocalypse begins the transfer, we get bald Charles. The kids save Charles and head back to the plane. As Psylock and Angel break into the plane, Nightcrawler teleports everyone out of the plane.
Quicksilver starts the fight against Apocalypse, but Apocalypse stops him. Mystique tries to sneak attack but it also fails. This leads to an awesome psychic battle between Charles and Apocalypse. Erik comes and saves his old friend. He leads the physical battle and Jean joins the psychic one, unleashing the Phoenix. This allows the youngsters to beat him physically. I will say the ending was great in this film, besides of course the exclusion of the Mall Scene. The final shot got me very giddy as the X-Men are in their comic book outfits, instead of the black leather from the first X-Men film.
After watching the deleted and extended scenes on the bluray, I wish a lot of them were in the film. Mist involve the Summers brothers or the young cast. They easily could’ve put these into the film without disrupting the tone, especially the ones that give a little more emotional punch to the Alex death. Honestly, the extra ten-ish minutes wouldn’t have hurt. I still love the film, but I think with those scenes added there would be more that do. It’s also amazing to see how much of this film used practical effects. The blend between that and digital is seamless.
Overall, I’d score this at 93%. Even with its faults, it’s a great story that digs into what makes us strong as opposed to weak and what we do when faced with adversity. We can buckle and follow people like Apocalypse or we can stand tall and fight like hell to do what we feel is right. As a comics fan and an X-Men fan, I see the negatives others give like Apocalypse and Mystique and offer up the themes and new cast. I’ve seen it three times and still feel the same way about the film. It reminds me of the Claremont run of “Uncanny X-Men” in the 80s and the Animated Series in the 90s. Is it as well written as those? Maybe not, but it takes the feeling you have watching it and adds it to this half end of trilogy and half origin film.