The year of the disappointing superhero film continues.
“X-Men: Apocalypse” is the ninth installment of the X-Men series and the sequel to 2014’s “Days of Future Past,” a movie that I loved and is universally accepted as one of, if not the, best of the franchise. James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence all reprise their roles from the previous two films and Bryan Singer once again directs. This time around, the X-Men must stop Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), the first-ever mutant, who awakens from a 5,000 year sleep and wants to destroy the world (because, cliché).
Like I said up top, 2016 has been a relatively disappointing year for superhero films. “Deadpool” is a good movie but both “Batman v Superman” and “Civil War” failed to live up to their promised epic showdowns. Add “Apocalypse” to the list of letdowns, as instead of being an emotional layered picture with interesting characters and an engaging plot like the previous X-Men films, it chooses to succumb to CGI destruction porn and a cookie cutter villain.
I love Oscar Isaac. Not to be “that guy” but I’ve liked him for a while, before he was finally thrust into the mainstream last December for starring in “The Force Awakens.” So having him cast as the bad guy in a superhero film should have been a homerun; but it turns out to be a massive swing and a miss. First off, Isaac is buried under a coat of makeup; he is legit unrecognizable and looks like a big blue crayon. Second, his motivations and plan are standard: he wants to destroy the world because he feels humans have ruined it. Yawn. Third, he has three voices: whisper, yelling and autotune. No joke, whenever he starts to yell, his voice sounds like a Britney Spears album. What a waste.
There is a market for mindless destruction films; Michael Bay has made a career off of it. But Bryan Singer is no Michael Bay, and that is a sentence I bet no one ever thought would be typed. Singer’s strengths have always been with his actors and the small, nuanced moments, not the big CGI action sequences. Michael Fassbender again steals the show as Magneto, and has several scenes that really showcase the pain and inner-conflict his character has. But by the end of the film everything is blowing up and the human death count is likely in the millions. If you thought Zach Snyder and “Man of Steel” killed too many civilians then you may want to skip this finale (or this whole movie, if you value your time).
The first act of this movie may be the most boring 60 minutes put on film this year. I am not exaggerating, I rarely check my phone in movies but I glanced at the time three times in the first hour. Nothing happens: pretentious (and clearly bored and done with this franchise) Jennifer Lawrence is doing her boring search for mutants while standard evil bad guy (who clearly signed onto this before he was approached for Star Wars) is doing his boring search for mutants.
“X-Men: Apocalypse” is a very boring film that can’t even succeed on a mindless action entertainment level. The characters are cliché, mundane or just plain wasted (sometimes a combination of the three) and the story is by-the-numbers. I wish the real world apocalypse had taken place while I was in the theater so I would have been put out of my viewing misery; the heavenly hellfire has to be less painful than this.
This isn’t bad in comparison to the fantastic “Days of Future Past;” it’s just plain bad.
Critics Rating: 3/10