I want to like the X-Men movies. I really do. I feel like I personally have an attachment to the series as I spent a good deal of time in the 90s watching the animated series, I have always had a head of naturally silver hair and heterochromia (eyes are different colors), and have been basically waiting my entire life to find out what powers come with my mutation so that I can enroll in Xavier’s School. Unfortunately for me, neither of my wishes have come true yet.
X-Men: Apocalypse follows suit with a number of the previous live-action X-Men films in that it spends about 90% of its time building a backstory for upwards of 7 main characters, and then gives the last 10-20 minutes pushing the storyline forward. It may be safe to assume everyone knows that Xavier and Magneto have a troubled past and that really through it all, sure they’re friends when it comes down to it. That’s played out, and continues to be in this film. Had some of this stuff gotten cut, maybe the film wouldn’t have felt quite so long.
Apocalypse does finally tease the 90s cartoon, which I got quite excited about. Being a Jubilee fan, the moment she came on screen I held my breath. But don’t get your hopes too high, she is barely in this movie. On the other hand, we do get a good dose of a young Night Crawler. His character is pretty interesting, and comes along with some pretty neat special effects. Another highlight for was the return of young Quicksilver. In Days of Futures Past, the Quicksilver slow-motion sequences were a personal highlight. So when we find him still residing in his mom’s basement, most of the audience let out a small laugh.
I’m petitioning for a feature length Evan Peters, Quicksilver movie. Who is with me?!
As I’m sure you’re noticing, the things I liked left me wanting more. The movie feels like a trailer full of ideas that could be really cool for individual movies, but none ever come to fruition. We get the chance to see where Magento went for a few minutes. We spend a few more minutes watching Mystic wander around in her free time. Then, we return to the themes of being misunderstood and trying to hone your powers. The film never spends too much time in any one single place or on one single character, but instead hops around in a very oddly paced fashion. I was waiting on a cliche ‘Meanwhile…’ to come up on the screen every time we made a jump. I was left thinking the story felt more like a kid telling you a story: “and then Mystic changed into her blue form, and then this Egyptian guy used the sun, and Wolverine was there!…” It’s all over the place.
On a side note, if you haven’t seen this movie yet, please be sure to pay attention to Wolverine’s exit. The camera oddly hangs on this shot for a little extra long, and it really made me laugh. It’s like a deranged Hugh Jackman running through the woods in weird shorts. Why is this one of the only things about this movie that I remember so vividly? Bad sign.
The relationship between Cyclops and Jean begins in this film as well. (Yeah they really packed a lot of storylines in this thing). I’m interested to see where that goes in this series, but they’ll have a good deal of chemistry between the two to build before they’re much of a believable item. I know as much as I didn’t care for this movie, I’ll still likely go to the next one just to see how they flesh out this new troop and in hopes to see more of my old familiar 90s X-Men.
Written by: Carrie Cates