Directed by: Bryan Singer
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Olivia Munn, Lucas Till, Evan Peters, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alexandra Shipp, Josh Helman, Lana Condor, Ben Hardy
Runtime: 136 min
X-Men: Apocalypse has the cast of 1983s X-Men, like Michael Fassbender as Magneto and James McAvoy as Professor X, along with some new actors portraying the younger versions of the characters we know. This is the story of Apocalypse's (Oscar Isaac) attempt to destroy the planet along with some mutants that he tries to recruit, called The Four Horsemen (including Magneto). He is considered the first mutant ever, created in ancient Egypt.
After X-Men: Days of Future Past, I was excited to watch this movie, Bryan Singer has directed all the good X-Men films and this one had the potential to be another one. Now, when I saw the critic's reviews for this I was really concerned, but I really think they overreacted on this one. It's actually a good movie, with some issues that I'm going to discuss further, but it's not the disaster that they're trying to display.
I'll start with what I think was the main problem of this movie and what I think made the critics disconnect from it: Apocalypse. This character should have been so much better. In the first 30min of the film, we are told his backstory in Egypt and it's not captivating or interesting ... At all. It's really slow paced and I didn't feel like I was caring for any of that. Also, Apocalypse isn't intimidating at all, there are several scenes where he's standing side-to-side with other characters and he's barely taller than them. His voice worked for me, but his motivations weren't clear. Oscar Isaac already proved he's a good actor, so I don't think it was his fault that Apocalypse looked like that, he just did what he had to do.
This is the main reason why I think critics gave such bad reviews because, after a scene with Magneto and his family in a forest, I didn't take my eyes off the screen for one second. Some critics might have just shut down before this scene happened and that's why the reviews are so negative. The movie really builds up from here and it ends with the most action-heavy sequence of all X-Men films.
First, the actors: Fassbender and McAvoy work brilliantly together, their scenes are always the best for me and Fassbender is amazing, I was awed by his performance. Tye Sheridan as Scott Summers/Cyclops and Sophie Turner as Jean Grey are great, I can't wait to watch more movies with them. Jennifer Lawrence as Raven/Mystique is fine, but I don't understand why they needed to show more of Raven than Mystique, I guess the actress didn't like the blue skin so much. Alexandra Shipp finally brings an accent to Storm that fans always criticized Halle Berry for and Evan Peters as Quiksilver ... He's just awesome. I didn't believe they would be able to make a better speed-scene than in the previous movie, but they did! IT'S AWESOME!
Now, the end scene is the most action-heavy of all the X-Men movies, like I said before. It's really well shot and I have to say that there's a lot of fan service throughout the film, but in this last act, there are two scenes that they spoiled in the last trailer ... I didn't watch the last trailer, actually, I didn't watch any trailer, so I was really pleased with those particular scenes, involving a known character and all (stop watching trailers, it's way more interesting and captivating this way). Usually, ending a movie with a lot of fights, explosions and all that stuff can take away the film's focus in the story, but I don't think it did because of all the personal scenes that they were able to introduce between the fights.
One big issue of this movie is clearly the pacing, they take a lot of time to introduce all these characters and to start building up. In one scene, Apocalypse is looking for mutants, then it's Mystique looking for mutants ... There's a lot of looking and no action whatsoever and that bothered me a little. Apocalypse's motivations remain unclear until the last 10 minutes of the movie and that's a long time. It's a bold move from Bryan Singer because he makes me spend the entire movie worried about something that I shouldn't have been. Re-watching this film, I'll probably understand better this character, but I don't know if it was the right decision to organize the story like this.
It's not the best X-Men movie for sure, but it's far better than most of the others. It has some narrative problems and the character of Apocalypse is not the best possible, but it's still a good movie. It's probably more captivating watching a second time ...