Posted May 19 2016

X Men: Apoacalypse - This Movie Thuds More Than It Rocks

Dir; Bryan Singer

Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nichiolas Hoult, Oscar Isaac, Sophie Turner, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Evan Peters, Tye Sheridan

“If Jesus came back and saw what’s going on in his name, he’d never stop throwing up” – and that in a nutshell – admittedly a Max Von Sydow in Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters shaped nutshell – is the plot of the latest X Men movie. Bryan Singer resurrects the OM (Original Mutant) Apocalypse, gives him Four Horsemen, and sets him loose amongst the 1983 iteration of the First Class. And, sad to say, it’s all a bit of a mess really.

To give the man his due, Singer has played a major role in establishing the world of the superhero comic on screen. He may not have been the first to show the potential of the genre if taken seriously – arguably Norrington and Del Toro did that with Blade 1 & 2 – but he certainly brought the outsider quality to it (playing on, and incorporating, his own experiences as a gay man) in X 1 & 2. He walked away for X3 to father another outsider – Superman; let Matthew Vaughn introduce the new cast of First Class, but returned to claim his mutant-fashioned crown with the epic Days of Future Past.

Apocalypse should be the homecoming dance. But it’s more a DJ working his way through a Greatest Hits album than anything else. More than that, for so adept and understanding a filmmaker, it’s a remarkably clumsy film. The ball is dropped – and more than once.

In terms of the greatest hits – we get references galore, Auschwitz revisited, Magneto’s is he/isn’t he? stuff, Quicksilver does another standalone moment – with accompanying song, Stryker returns, as does the inevitable Jackman as Wolverine,  the Dark Phoenix is prophesised – meet the new X Men, same as the old X Men.

Plus Singer manages to fall in to the trap all superhero should have learned by now – (a failing that Civil War managed to brilliantly side step) – too many characters, not enough screen time. The great Olivia Munn has bugger all to do here, Evan Peters' Quicksilver is gone too soon (yes, we know!), and Oscar Isaac as the titular villain never really connects, merely comes across as an actor in a bad make up job, rather than a world-leveling God.

 Overall, the most amazing thing about this movie, is how uneven it is, how pedestrian it is, how little its director seems to have bothered with it. Yes, there are – inevitably as franchises continue – some character beats that can’t help but make you smile. But any movie that recasts Fassbender’s metal bender as a happy family man in a Polish out of time forest is really missing something. And this is missing even more than that.

Hugely disappointing – in a Spider-Man 3, nipples on the Batsuit kinda way.


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