X-Men: Apocalypse is the 8th film in Fox’s X-Men franchise. The outcry of X3 and Wolverine: Origins has prompted the studio to be more conscientious in their filming decisions. As is evident in Days of Futures Past, X3 and bits of Origin have been ret-conned. Due to this, I was curious what Apocalypse would bring.
Being the first mutant in the canon-verse, Apocalypse (En Sabah Nur – The First One) has always been the Big Bad in X-Men media and his primary goal is to rid the world of the weak and implement Survival of the Fittest whether you are a mutant or not.
The film opens in Eygpt and the citizens are in the midst of the ritual made when En Sabah Nur is in need of a new body. The ritual is interrupted by a mutiny and the pyramid is destroyed and caves on top of Apocalypse where he lays buried for centuries until he is awakened in the 80s by Moira Taggart doing some snooping around in modern Egypt.
Meanwhile, Eric/Magneto has gone into hiding and created a life for himself in Poland. He has a job and a wife and daughter. One day a work accident causes him to use his powers to save a coworker’s life. Another coworker reports what they saw and sends the police to investigate. Scared, his daughter’s powers react and the police panic and accidentally kill both his wife and daughter. Enraged, Eric kills all the police. He is about to kill all his fellow workers when Apocalypse shows up to recruit him to be part of his horsemen and bring about the cleansing of the world – only the strong will survive.
When Mystique brings the news to Charles about Eric’s unfortunate events, Charles uses Cerebro to locate him. Unbeknownst to him, En Sabah Nur is on the other end to take over and use Charles to communicate with everyone in the world to warn of the Apocalypse that is coming. En Sabah Nur warps to the school and kidnaps Charles with the intention of using him as his new body.
Mystique rally’s the new generation of X-Men that had been trickling in since the start of film with Hank and they battle with the Four Horsemen.
When it seems like all hope is lost – Eric’s new ability to manipulate earth, En Sabah Nur is nearing transferring bodies with Charles, and the new X-Men are injured – young Jean Grey uses her unstable psychic abilities to enter the mindlink of Charles and En Sabah Nur and is able to restrain him with enough force for the rest of the X-Men to fire all their abilities at once to defeat him for good.
While Apocalypse lacked the umph that Civil War did, I don’t think it deserves the bad ratings it’s receiving. Underwhelming, but not terrible. I wish I could pinpoint why it fell short. Well, personally I found it more coherent of a movie than Days of Future’s Past. I also have a thing against Wolverine, so that may be part of it.
Speaking of Wolverine, there’s a scene where the young X-Men, Mystique, and Hank get kidnapped and they have a run in with Weapon X. You do see him on screen, so you know who it is by then, but a neat nod to the new future/past of these films.
I was impressed by the cast of the younger generation; all new blood. I still find it strange to have such an age gap between canons, but we’ll see what the next installment has as far as that goes. They resemble their older counterparts, well. Curious what they’ll do with Nightcrawler, seeing as how in X-2 he hadn’t met the other X-Men, prior. Oscar Isaac’s performance as Apocalypse was fantastic. The mannerisms and makeup make it hard to believe that that’s him under there!
Other great things about the film include: 80s aesthetics that weren’t as ridiculous as promos made them out to be once in motion, Archangel, Charles finally loses his hair, awkward flirting Charles, young Cyclops discovering his powers, Quicksilver’s rescue sequence, decent score, pretty visuals, and the film not revolving around Wolverine.
Maybe Apocalypse hasn’t been as well received because every film revolves around Eric doing a thing and then Charles has to convince him to not do the thing and it works for a time, but then Eric keeps proving his point of how bad humans are and then the X-Men have to stop him. Even when he’s not directly the villain. Repetitive, perhaps, but what comic book movie isn’t at this point? Or could it be that due to it being a prequel, nothing feels very dire because you’ve seen the future. Or it’s just the over-saturation already this year for these action/destructive blockbusters.
3 out of 5 Stars