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Movie Review: X-Men: Apocalypse

Story by Sarah Baker, Editor

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Bryan Singer’s fourth and latest X-Men movie is a worthy triennial installment to the franchise, albeit less spectacular than its predecessors.

X-Men: Apocalypse, the triennial film in the rebooted X-Men franchise, is set in 1983 and showcases recurring characters, as well as some new ones, including Nightcrawler, Jean Grey and Storm. The film follows many smaller story arcs that later combine into a larger arc.

The believed first-mutant, En Sabah Nur, aka Apocalypse, (Oscar Isaac, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) is awakened in Egypt, recruits his “four horsemen” and goes on a mission to cleanse the earth and rescue the strongest humans from misguided leaders. Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy, The Last King of Scotland), his friends and his students combine forces to stop Apocalypse and the apocalypse. Magneto continues his battle between good and evil and Charles’ path versus his own.

X-Men: Apocalypse opened Memorial Day weekend, receiving mixed reviews from critics and audiences. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a disappointing 49 percent, while audiences rated the film at 75 percent. This is film is making less of a stellar impression on audiences than the previous installments; X-Men: First Class (2011) received an 87 percent and X-Men: Days of Futures Past (2014) received a 91 percent.

X-Men: Apocalypse is not a bad film, nor does it reach the disaster level as 2006’s X-Men: Last Stand (aka X3), which is synonymous among fans as being the worst film in the entire franchise. It likely falls as the third-best to date in the rebooted era of X-Men films, X-Men: Days of Futures Past is considered the best.

Most viewers agree that there is an overfilled or strained quality to the film because of too many story arcs getting set up within the first 20 to 30 minutes. It starts slowly and drags a bit, but the movie steadily grasps more and more of the audiences’ attention building to the big climax at the end of the film. This is sort of a risky movie on Singer’s part, almost like he is saying, “Trust me. Stick with it. It will get better.” And steadily, with each scene, the audience is increasingly invested. This tactic, however, could lose some harsher critics who get bored with the slow progression.

Characters like Jean Grey (Sophie Turner, Game of Thrones) and Quicksilver (Evan Peters, American Horror Story) received more airtime and were allowed to develop more, opening them up to bigger roles in the future. The new character of Jean Grey is captivating since she was given time to develop as a character and time to make a connection with the audience. Fan-favorite Quicksilver shines in his quirky and comedic way, even topping his slow-motion scene from X-Men: Days of Futures Past.

Overall, the film was an enjoyable film and acceptable triquel, despite its labored pace and small plot holes.

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