I won’t lie to you humans, this film wasn’t half bad. Which I guess also says that it wasn’t half good either. The third instalment of the X-Men prequel film series saw disposable villain En Sabah Nur, attempt to flatten the Earth and begin sowing anew with the strongest seeds. Roped into a bid to save the earth is Professor Xavier and his band O’ Merry Mutants which included some younger but familiar faces.
The opening scenes served as an introduction to En Sabah Nur; who he was, where he came from and what he wanted etc. However although I found it fitting that the events took place in Ancient Egypt – as opposed to say the Prehistoric Era or something – it foretold the antagonists storyline, ultimately making the film too predictability.
It’s been roughly ten years since X-Men: Day’s of Future Past, and Mystique has become a beacon of hope and self identification for the new generation of mutants – not that she wants the responsibility, instead she chooses to go on a one woman mission across the globe to save vulnerable mutants from peril… Even though by doing that she is actually reconfirming and strengthening herself as a symbol of hope…. but that’s none of my business.
Okay so long story short, En Sabah Nur is supposed to possess a great wealth of power absorbed from aeons of essence transference, however I only noticed one power; the ability to turn people and things into dust, and use this dust to build pyramids, and clothing etc. Anyway, En Sabah Nur (henceforth known as Particle Accelerator) can’t do anything without his Squad, who he replaces and recruits throughout the ages. In 1983 he has blindly put his faith in an impressionable Egyptian who can control the weather, a drunk angel, a man who has nothing left to live for and a woman who is a little too eager for the taste of destruction.
I mean sure they look great standing there, in their dust made outfits and I suppose Squad Goals are 80% about the aesthetics, but my issue comes from the fact that for someone who talked so much about wanting the best, he sort of just picked the first four mutants he stumbled across. Searching for the strongest henchmen could have been another (and more interesting) story arc.
They were really grasping at straws it seems for this film, as they brought back the complete liability that was Moira MacTaggert – Charles’ love interest from the first film, that nobody even thought to miss in the second film.
I liked that the fashion was subtle, no one was trying to force us to “really believe” it was the eighties, it was just background noise. The art department may have been on point, but whoever was in charge of the blue paint really messed up. Mystique and Beast looked distractingly awful in this movie, their costumes looking like…. well, costumes. An obvious change from previous films.
Olivia Munn did a great and heavily underrated job as the unquestioning soldier Psylocke, and looked fierce in dust couture . Although there were a dozen hints too many about the eventual fate of the characters, it was interesting getting the chance to observe the ‘new class’ if you will, noting traits and decisions that will make them who they will become in another twenty years. Finally, despite the studio basically pimping out Sophie Turner as Jean Grey to us; she did a very convincing job of playing the simultaneously unhinged and powerful Phoenix, and I begrudgingly look forward to her being in the sequel.
The film as a whole was pretty meh, the plot was thin and the characters weren’t particularly endearing. I watched it with a detached interest nodding with approval during the odd fight scene, and laughing at a one liner here and there. To be honest X-Men: Apocalypse was just a reconfiguration of its predecessors, and as such bubbled just below average for the entire length of the film. Quicksilver had his funny slow motion scene, Erik, Raven and Charles were still Frenemies stuck having the same, Us vs Them issues, and there was a comfortingly predictable Wolverine cameo.
They say good things happen in threes. The X-men First Class trilogy thus far is a clear exception to that rule.