The latest film to the X-Men franchise, X-Men: Apocalypse exploded on the big screen in a huge way. The follow-up to Days of Future Past brought its own twists to the X-Men universe and was a delight to watch. This installment is targeted to the series fans, and is not really made for the casual filmgoer. Now if you haven’t seen the other X-men films you really will want to check out First Class and Days of Future Past to fully understand the film but it is not necessary and you will be able to follow the film without any problems.
One thing they did right was to build up pivotal characters in moving ways. We were able to see Magneto as a normal and productive member of society with a loving family. Seeing this torn away from him is the most moving and saddening scene of the whole movie. Michael Fassbender truly captured the spirit of the complex character, who isn’t bad at heart, but finds himself caught up in doing things that are horrible for what he feels is the greater good. It was also delightful to see the relationship between Charles and Magneto; they give off the impression of blood brothers. No matter how much I dislike what my brother is doing or stands for, NO ONE will hurt my brother.
With a running time of a little over 2-½ hours I wish they would have been able to show a more in depth backstory of the new Horsemen of Apocalypse. We get a wonderful telling for Magneto, but due to this the lack of backstory for Psylocke doesn’t do the character any justice. I feel filmgoers will just be left wondering why she was even picked. Angel is given a better story with some early film interaction with Nightcrawler which helps set up his willingness to join Apocalypse.
The action scenes in the film are well put together with a decent amount of fan service. We are given a few scenes of Quicksilver’s blazing speed done in the same fashion as they did in Days of Future Past. Series fans well be thrilled by the savage Hugh Jackman cameo as Weapon X. The film does a nice job of letting the young mutants show the utility of their abilities for the first time on a mission. While the final battle of the movie was visually impressive and offered a good selection of unique fights between the different X-men and Horsemen serious fans of the series will see the end coming. We also get some well-placed laughs that help break up the heavy overtone of the movie.
Overall, I quite enjoyed the movie, it offered a good balance between storytelling and action sequences. The CGI and visual effects are top notch with some really impressive displays of multiple effects in the same scene. The character development was a little hit or miss, with some characters having profound and moving reasons for what they were doing and others that seemed to just be along for the ride. The need to watch the two previous movies to get a full understanding of the character interactions could be a setback for some although the backstory isn’t required for the plot to move along.
It is a must see film for fans of comic/ superhero movies with the casual fan finding it to be hit or miss.