Vol. 9, No. 18 – June 8 – June 21, 2016 – Movie Review

X-Men: Apocalypse/ 2 and ½ Palm Trees
by Eduardo Victoria/eduardovictory@yahoo.com

The latest feature in the X-Men franchise finds a younger version of familiar characters. This time around, the team is up against big bad Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) as he tries to destroy humanity to create a world fit for mutants. The stakes aren’t high, it’s really nothing we haven’t seen before but the film’s character moments and lightness make it worth a visit, even if you have to shell out a few bucks you may not want during matinee hours.

10 years after the evens of Days of Future Past, the film picks up in the 80s following Scott Summers (Tye Sheridan), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), (Kody Smit-McPhee) as they get to know each other and their respective powers. This, in many ways, represents the heart of the film as the gets to know the extent of their respective talents in order to help their fellow students at Charles Xavier’s School for the Gifted (James McAvoy returns in a stellar performance). From the seasoned team of the past two films are Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) and Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult).

Though the plot is simple, the stakes – as I mentioned prior – never feel high. Cities are smashed, buildings tossed around, and we see no connection to people on the ground or feel the severity of Apocalypse’s actions. Isaac, who is enjoying a prosperous career phones in his performance in this film, buried deep underneath blue makeup and a hideous suit of armor.

As in the last film, Evan Peters steals the entire film as the dorky character Quicksilver, who has one of the more interesting arcs in this film. Supporting Apocalypse are his “four horseman”, one of which is Erik Lensherr (James McAvoy). As Magneto, he destroys Egypt probably killing millions (there are those stakes again), yet Xavier still thinks there is a streak of good in his buddy. Perhaps time to let go of the notion that he’s still a decent human being, at least story-wise.

Behind the camera, director Bryan Singer brings a humor and energy that reminds us why he has been the best director to grace the series thus far (Ironically, he didn’t direct the best film in the series, First Class) but proves to be running out of steam this go around.

With all of that said, the film proves to be more fun than its predecessor – which is one of the most famous story arcs from Marvel Comics’ “X-Men” series. Some very cool action set pieces involving Quicksilver and an exploding building, the assembly of the Four Horseman, and Magneto’s backstory in this film prove to be the highlights of an otherwise dull film. Fans of the series will be divided while the average movie-goer may end up bored. Something I wouldn’t expect from filmmakers this talented.

Rated PG13, 144 minutes, now playing at Century Downtown 10.

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