The X-Men have often used their mutants for an allegory for racism or sexism -- but in X-Men: Apocalypse this is mostly cast aside for introducing large numbers of characters and having the good guys and bad guys fight.

It's 1983, and the characters from X-Men: Days of Future Past have been busy.  Charles Xavier/Professor X (James McAvoy) has his School for Gifted Youngsters, teaching mutants and humans alike along with Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult); two of their new teenage students are Scott Summers/Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) and Jean Grey (Sophie Turner).  Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) has become a hero to mutants, and while she resists that title she helps other imutants -- most recently Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee).  Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (Michael Fassbender) has created a family life for himself, until tragedy takes it away.  And Moira Mactaggert (Rose Byrne) has been investigating a group that seem to worship an ancient, almost all-powerful mutant,
The latter is Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), a mutant who was imprisoned in a pyramid in ancient Egypt but has returned to the modern world.  He has numerous powers, including the ability to transfer his mind to another body (and gain that being's powers) and enhance the powers of other mutants.  He uses these to make his "four horsemen": Storm (Alexandra Shipp), who can control the weather; Psylocke (Olivia Munn), who wields an energy beam; Angel (Ben Hardy), whose metallic wings let him both fly and shoot metal spikes; and Magneto, whose grief turns to the need for revenge.  Apocalypse plans to use his four followers to almost destroy the world, with any survivors following Aoocalypse in his new world.
There are also numerous other characters introduced, whether it's Quicksilver (Evan Peters), Magneto's son and a super-speedster, not one but two nigh-obligatory cameos, or Jubilee (Lana Condor), who seems to be there solely to show off her '80s fashion.

Unfortunately, there's nothing really different in X-Men: Apocalypse that we haven't seen in other movies: Professor X wants everyone to get along and for the strong to protect the weak, Magneto's suffering makes him believe humans and mutants, and the villains wants to conquer the world.  Most of the far too numerous characters have powers instead of personalities (even the usually terrific Jenifer Lawrence feels flat here), and the movie is far too long (especially with a tangential trip to a military base that seems to be solely for a character cameo).  This movie may be setting up future films with teenage versions of the X-Men, but on its own X-Men: Apocalypse is mediocre.

Overall grade: C
Reviewed by James Lynch

No comments: