[Caution: Some spoiler and plot details]
In the third X-Men film featuring the younger cast of mutants, it is set in 1983; twenty years after First Class, and ten years after Days of Future Past. Just as a slight fatigue starts to settle in on the X-Men franchise, I was nervous that Apocalypse would signal it winding down or set the stage for another changing of the guard. But if anything, X-Men Apocalypse re-introduced enough younger X-Men to justify the continuation of this franchise. In living up to its title, the X-Men are faced with dealing with the original mutant, Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac). He wakes up after being dormant for nearly 4,000 years and he's very disgusted with the state of the world in the late 20th century. As he's coming to his senses, he comes across another mutant, a young Storm (Alexandra Shipp). After Apocalypse has a crash course in getting up to speed on the way things are in the modern world, he sets plans in action to cleanse the world of filthy, war mongering humans, and start anew with just mutants on the planet. But first, he needs a few more human hating X-Men to join his posse.
|Michael Fassbender as Magneto/Erik Lehnsherr|
With electromagnetic chaos occurring all over the world, and with the world's nuclear weapons being destroyed, the X-Men convene at Professor X's School for the Gifted. Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) has matured but her physical appearance is not blue Raven, and the same for Beast (Nicholas Hoult) by using his serum to suppress his blue skinned alter-ego. The newer versions of Cyclops, Night crawler, and Jean are introduced in short back stories which starts to make the movie feel a bit bloated. That's not to be a negative, but it just demonstrates how relevant and interesting each X-Men character is, and to just insert them in the film without explaining who they are would be an injustice, so the film suffers slightly in trying to give intro space for each integral X-Men. Due to the destruction that the Apocalypse crew is causing around the world, Charles/Prof. X (James MacAvoy) uses Cerebro to log on into the minds of mutants and humans to see what's going on. For the first time 10 years, Charles and Erik meet in their minds and Charles comes to understand Erik's newest pain and anger. But with Apocalypse coming to learn about Charles' existence and his powerful mutant skills to enter the minds of anyone on the planet, Apocalypse sets his sights on using Charles' body as his next conscience transfer. Apocalypse uses Cerebro to track down Charles and capture him, and in the process, the school is destroyed.
|Evan Peters as Quicksilver|
The ending was predictable but satisfactory. The heavy reliance on CGI can get a little old, but when it comes to super powerful beings destroying the world, this is when CGI must be employed to simulate the mind blowing destruction that occurs. There will be more X-Men films in the future because the new recruits of Jean Grey, Storm, Cyclops, and Night crawler will be fascinating characters when they are given more room in future films to breathe. Especially Jean Grey, so much more can be done with her character because her mutant powers are untapped and can be horrifying if not controlled.
However excellent Michael Fassbender was in Apocalypse, his turn this time, he really brought his A-game into this role. Michael has clearly demonstrated that he is a superior actor by bringing so much depth and emotion into Erik's world. I almost feel that Apocalypse should be Michael's last time at bat as the younger Magneto because he's so stand out, so commanding on the screen, that anything short of a full blown stand alone Magneto film would feel like 20th Century Fox and Marvel is cheating the integrity of the Magneto character, and the actor, Michael Fassbender. I know I'm biased, but many other fans and reviews of this film think the same way. A two-time Academy award nominated actor portraying a superhero character that is multi-dimensional, and equally loved and feared, deserve so much better than being a supporting X-Men character. So far, only Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) has had a stand alone film. His character is very meat and potatoes and has a crazy military and war background and a strong fan base that was hungry for a solo film. I don't know if Magneto has that same level of interest in a separate film. He's a beloved character, and a very powerful mutant, but his story is more sad (Nazis and Auschwitz) and a bit more high-brow and cerebral - a film plot not for the lowest common denominator.
X-Men Apocalypse is a very entertaining film. There are just too many X-Men to really embrace and appreciate appropriately in this film. I think this is the last time we'll see some of the characters we have enjoyed from these three films, but that's fine because there were some worthy characters re-introduced to us this time. I think James MacAvoy is in this for the long haul because his Prof. X is integral to his school he developed. However, I think Jennifer is done with Mystique because I sensed a lack of interest in her when watching her on screen, she seemed, bored or distracted. And Michael, I think he gave this his all and did a fantastic job in what may and should be his swan song as Magneto. He's just too damn good of an actor to play second or even third fiddle mutant in the X-Men movies - and he has second billing. Maybe Michael will make a cameo appearance in future films, because Quicksilver has something to tell Magneto.
Score: 4/5 stars - go see this!