It’s no secret that I absolutely love Michael Fassbender, I think Jennifer Lawrence is amazing, and I’ve a lot of time for the X-Men movies, in general. As far as this particular trilogy goes, I adored both First Class and Days of Future Past, and with Fassbender, Lawrence and James McAvoy (whom I really like as Prof Xavier too, please don’t feel left out of the love-in, James) on board for Apocalypse, this should have been a slam-dunk of a movie for me. From the lengthy opening sequence about the origins of the titular super-villain right through to the big, apocalyptic showdown, though, it felt like there was something missing from this film, and, having wracked my brains to work out what, I think it was joy.
Apocalypse has been criticised for a number of reasons – over-long running time, nonsensical plot, incomprehensible timeline, ridiculous-looking villains in stupid costumes – but let’s face it, these aren’t criticisms so much as the building blocks of almost every superhero movie ever made. But whether it’s the cast that are over it, or the writers, or just me , it felt like there was a distinct lack of fun about this film; I didn’t dislike it but it was surprisingly underwhelming and, at times, curiously flat, making it something of a disappointment after the riotously entertaining two prior instalments which had me smiling from ear to ear.
Fassbender was excellent as usual, but his character has had the same storyline in every one of these films – when he gets upset, he does really bad stuff, and his nicer friends try and talk him back down; he’s basically the Mitchell of the X-Men universe – and deserves much better than being some crazy blue dude’s sidekick. He’s MAGNETO, FFS. Lawrence’s Mystique spent most of the movie being beamed/ transported/ whooshed places, and McAvoy’s Prof X, bless him, was clearly game for a lot of things, but really should have said no to the lavender v-neck and lines like “You’re in my house now!” This is X-Men, not WWE.
Maybe I’m being too harsh. I wanted to love it and the friends I was with thought it was great, so I can’t quite put my finger on why I struggled to get more invested in the film when I’m a bigger X-Men fan than either of them. Sadly, though, while Apocalypse was ok, it just didn’t grab me the way the other two films, or even the original X-Men films did. I wouldn’t say don’t see it, but maybe just don’t expect too much when you do.