I remember spending much of my teens reading the X-Men comics. The stories were captivating. The questions that they raised – about discrimination, about power, about grace, about compassion – were immensely thought provoking. That’s why I was disappointed by the original trilogy of movies. And then there were all the X-Men origins movies. Which were quite terrible too.
But the more recent X-Men movies have been fantastic. Starting from X-Men: First Class, then with X-Men: Days of Future Past. They had such engaging plots, emotionally moving acting, and the right amount of action. That’s why I have been looking forward to watching X-Men: Apocalypse.
I finally caught it yesterday. It was… not bad. But not as great as the other two.
It is the story of how the X-Men go up against En Sabah Nur, aka Apocalypse, who is the first mutant. His powers are… incredible. Seemingly indestructible, highly destructive, manipulation of matter, able to teleport, projection of energy, and most importantly, he has the ability to amplify the ability of any mutant.
I can understand why some critics say that X-Men: Apocalypse “has a bad case of Batman v Superman disease“. The character of Apocalypse isn’t well developed. Instead, he feels rather one-dimensional. Also, the main characters declare their motivations in monotonous, soporific speeches. As a result, it is difficult for the audience to feel emotionally invested in the actions of the main characters.
The plot is also not as tight as the other two movies. It stumbles forward in starts and stops, ambling haphazardly to its denouement. And that is where the whole show really breaks down. The defection of two of the four horsemen felt really abrupt and forced. Especially that of Storm’s. And the way Apocalypse gets defeated… I personally tend to be put off by denouements that use a deus ex machina. Which is exactly what happened.
That said. I did get goosebumps at that part. I sort of expected what would happen. When Jean finally let go, I gasped. A false god meeting a true god. And all was indeed revealed.
I think it was quite ironic and funny that Jean in this movie quipped: “At least we can agree, the third one’s always the worst”. Because I think this clearly applied to this movie. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy it. I did. Just that I think this movie is a far drop in standard from the X-Men: Days of Future Past.
The ending and the post-credit scene (yes, there is a post-credit scene) gives a hint of what’s coming for the next movie. Which is both exciting and… scary. Considering how Fox flopped the last time they tried to bring that character to the big screen, I am worried that they will botch it up again the next time round.
But. Hopefully they will learn from the mistakes they made from this instalment so that the next movie will have the same standards as X-Men: First Class, or even better, X-Men: Days of Future Past. Hopefully, out of the ashes of this movie, the Phoenix will rise.