‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ (Film)

‘X-MEN: APOCALYPSE’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

The End of the World in the 1980s with the X-Men

I saw this ‘X-Men’ superhero film at the cinema on the 11th of June 2016!

That was with my best mate from school, Stephen. At the time, I gave the film a positive review on ‘Bradley’s Basement’. I found it a great cinema experience. I enjoyed the story and I found the film engaging to watch with the characters, the CGI special effects and the action sequences throughout.

Looking back though, perhaps I was a bit too generous in my rating for the film. I still look back on it fondly, but when connecting this film to other films featured in the ‘X-Men’ film series, there are flaws and inconsistencies featured throughout and it’s reflected in the following film ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’.

I try my best to avoid reading any reviews in order to stop spoiling my enjoyment of a film or a TV show made. At the time, the reviews for ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ were scathing. I enjoyed the film at the cinema and I didn’t find any fault in it. It was an enjoyable experience like with ‘Days of Future Past’. 🙂

But looking back, I can see why the film didn’t win many people over, especially in terms of the continuity errors made in tying up to other films featured in the ‘X-Men’ film series. Both ‘Apocalypse’ and ‘Dark Phoenix’ are big offenders to how the ‘X-Men’ film continuity holds together.

‘Apocalypse’ is a step-up from ‘Dark Phoenix’, but you can see where things started to go wrong. It’s a shame as ‘Days of Future Past’ could have been the beginning of many good things in terms of restoring the ‘X-Men’ film series to its full glory. Sadly it didn’t turn out as was hoped in ‘Apocalypse’.

It’s surprising really considering Bryan Singer returned to direct this film after directing ‘Days of Future Past’. You would think he would be able to handle things in a concise and straightforward manner when tying things up together in all of the ‘X-Men’ movies that have been made since 2000.

But it seems Bryan Singer is ignoring things that happened in films like ‘The Last Stand’ and ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ when they have been essential in the ‘X-Men’ film series so far. And yes, I know people hate those movies, but you can’t ignore them. They happened whether you like them or not.

Mind you, this isn’t the first time that Bryan Singer has done something like this. He notoriously ignored the events of ‘Superman III’ and ‘Superman IV: The Quest For Peace’ when he made ‘Superman Returns’ set after ‘Superman II’. Judging by that film’s reception, it didn’t turn out well. 😦

I know I shouldn’t over-think these issues since, at the end of the day, they are movies made to entertain people. But when you consider how ‘Apocalypse’ fits into the continuity of the ‘X-Men’ film series overall, it does turn out to be rather messy and you’re scratching your head a lot of times.

The film’s cast includes James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Olivia Munn and Lucas Till. A lot of the actors’ performances are really good throughout, despite the many inconsistencies I will soon identify here.

This film takes place 10 years after the events of ‘Days of Future Past’ and is set in 1983. I think it would have been better if you’d set the film 5 years after ‘Days of Future Past’ rather than 10 years. This is especially when you consider none of the ‘X-Men’ characters age like you’d expect them to. 😐

I’m not sure why it was decided to jump 10 years ahead from each film into the next in the ‘beginnings’ era without having the cast age like they should. It gets ridiculous when you get to ‘Dark Phoenix’ set in the 1990s. Xavier and Magneto don’t look like Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen yet! 😐

In the film, an evil god-like mutant called En Sabah Nur (also known as Apocalypse) rises from the ashes of Ancient Egypt and is about to take over the world by destroying humanity and have the mutants at his side. Will the X-Men be able to stop this impossible enemy and save the entire world?

At the time of seeing this film at the cinema in 2016, I did wonder whether I would settle back into the ‘X-Men’ world having not seen ‘Days of Future Past’ in a while. But strangely enough, I was able to get into the story, identify with the characters and I wondered who would side with Apocalypse. 🙂

If you were judge this film on its own without having seen the previous ‘X-Men’ films, you might be able to call it decent enough. But after having reviewed the previous ‘X-Men’ films in this series, I’m able to spot the cracks and chinks in the glass surface of this film that stops it from being excellent. 😦

James McAvoy returns as Charles Xavier in the film. Now I like James McAvoy as Xavier and it’s intriguing to see how he ends up becoming bald-headed like he would do in order to become Patrick Stewart. But I stress this film should have happened 5 years instead of 10 after ‘Days of Future Past’.

The reason why I bring that up is that we saw what Xavier looked like when he was Patrick Stewart in ‘X-Men Origins’ and his scenes in that movie took place in 1979. Xavier looking like Patrick Stewart in 1979 and looking like James McAvoy in 1983 don’t compute. How can this aspect be so mucked up?!

Maybe ‘Apocalypse’ and ‘Dark Phoenix’ take place in an alternative reality which diverts from the one already established in the original ‘X-Men’ film trilogy. I would accept that if other things in ‘Apocalypse’ didn’t make sense and it comes across that Bryan Singer’s approach is really haphazard.

An irony is that this film could have taken the opportunity to see James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender transition into Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen for the rest of the film series. A shame that approach wasn’t taken on in both ‘Apocalypse’ and ‘Dark Phoenix’ for us to enjoy in the series!

Speaking of Xavier’s character, he’s mostly a hostage when taken by Apocalypse and his group, which includes Magneto. It’s interesting when Apocalypse wants to transfer his mind into Xavier’s body, which is when Xavier gets his bald head. It does take a while for the bald head to happen here.

Michael Fassbender returns as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto. I did enjoy the character relationship between Magneto and Xavier in the film. Though Xavier and Magneto repeating the exact same lines Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen said at the end of the first ‘X-Men’ film was quite odd and obvious!

I did wonder whether Magneto would become totally evil once he joined Apocalypse or whether Xavier would persuade his old friend otherwise. This is especially following the scene where Magneto lost his wife and daughter, which was very emotional to watch when I saw it at the cinema.

I felt very sad for Magneto in those scenes. Michael Fassbender delivers a spell-binding performance throughout. Again though, had this film take place 5 years after ‘Days of Future Past’ instead of 10 years, the emotional drama of Magneto could have been stronger especially in tying into other films.

Carolina Bartczak plays Madga, Magneto’s wife and T. J. McCibbon plays Nina, Magneto’s daughter in the film. The two seem like a really nice wife and daughter for Magneto to have. A shame they couldn’t have lasted longer. It’s also intriguing how Erik shouts to God due to his Jewish background.

I also think it would have been better for Magneto to remain with the X-Men at the end of the film to reflect on him and Xavier recruiting more mutants for the X-Men as depicted in the opening scene of ‘The Last Stand’. It’s something which also gets mucked up in this film though (more on this later).

Jennifer Lawrence returns as Raven Darkhölme/Mystique. I like Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique. In some respects, she is a better character in the ‘X-Men’ prequel films compared to how she was just a villain in the original ‘X-Men’ trilogy. It’s nice how pre-Mystique gets her own sense of development.

Mind you, Jennifer Lawrence wasn’t very comfortable wearing that blue make-up when she had to look like Mystqiue in certain scenes. This is something that gets echoed in ‘Dark Phoenix’ to a greater extent and doesn’t tie in to what happens in the original ‘X-Men’ film trilogy which is so frustrating.

I enjoyed Oscar Isaac as En Sabah Nur/Apocalypse in the film. He seemed to be a powerful and impossible enemy for the X-Men to defeat. Oscar Isaac played Joseph in ‘The Nativity Story’ 2006 film and he’s perhaps very well-known for playing Poe Dameron in the ‘Star Wars’ sequels trilogy. 😀

The character Apocalypse was created by Louise Simonson and Jackson Guice in the ‘X-Men’ comics. I think it would have been better if Apocalypse appeared as an enemy in a dystopian future like in ‘Days of Future Past’ as opposed to the 1980s. We know the world isn’t going to end there and then.

Nicholas Hoult returns as Hank McCoy/Beast in the film. Like Jennifer Lawrence, I think Nicholas Hoult preferred being not in make-up which he eventually had to don in the film’s second half. Kelsey Grammer was committed to wearing the Beast make-up in ‘The Last Stand’ than Nicholas Hoult. 😦

I still like Nicholas Hoult’s performance as Hank McCoy and it’s intriguing how he builds inventions in preparation of a war between mutants and humankind whilst at Xavier’s school. He shares this with Mystique. Hank is able to keep that feral side down when as Beast – a contrast to the previous films.

Rose Byrne returns as Moira MacTaggert, who was previously in ‘X-Men: First Class’. She doesn’t seem to have aged either. Now this is getting rather ridiculous. Maybe with mutants, they have the ability to not age greatly. But Moira is human, not a mutant. Shouldn’t she age significantly by 1983?

Another intriguing aspect about Moira is that Xavier took her memories of ‘First Class’ away from her at the end of that film. So Moira doesn’t know Xavier and Alex Summers as well as she should when they come to meet her at the CIA. Yet Xavier gives her memories back to her by the film’s end.

Tye Sheridan makes his debut as Scott Summers/Cyclops and Sophie Turner makes her debut as Jean Grey. This was before I saw Tye Sheridan in the film ‘Ready Player One’ and yes, Sophie Turner, is well-known for her role in ‘Game of Thrones’. I’m sure Sophie Turner is good in that particular series.

At the time of seeing ‘Apocalypse’ at the cinema, I was pleased to see the first chronological appearances of Cyclops and Jean Grey in the ‘X-Men’ prequels. The two have intriguing backstories in coming to Xavier’s school and how they first meet. 🙂 I like how their relationship developed here.

It’s also intriguing how they get to use their powers in the film. However, big continuity errors afoot for these two! First of all, Scott Summers. Shouldn’t he be at Xavier’s mansion already after Xavier picked him and other mutants up from ‘X-Men Origins’? That occurred in 1979 right before 1983, right?

Also, Jean Grey shouldn’t be at Xavier’s mansion yet since Xavier and Magneto haven’t recruited her yet in ‘The Last Stand’s opening scene which took place in 1986. And she was a young girl in that? How come she’s grown up in 1983 before she’s a young girl in 1986? NONE OF THIS MAKES SENSE?!!

One of the mutants that Apocalypse recruits into his ‘brotherhood’ is Olivia Munn as Psylocke. Except Psylocke was in ‘The Last Stand’ which took place years after ‘Apocalypse’. So how come she’s here in ‘Apocalypse’ when she shouldn’t be as she’s meant to appear in ‘The Last Stand’ later?!

Maybe this Psylocke isn’t the same one as in ‘The Last Stand’ and she’s perhaps an ancestor of that Psylocke in that movie. It would make sense, although this Psylocke only appears in this particular ‘X-Men’ movie. She doesn’t make a return in ‘Dark Phoenix’, which is odd as you would think she would. 😐

Another mutant Apocalypse recruits is Alexandra Shipp as Ororo Munro a.k.a. Storm. It was intriguing to see Storm introduced in ‘Apocalypse’ and how she ended up being a villain working for Apocalypse before becoming a hero in the end. Apparently, Storm regards Mystique to be her hero.

I would point out that Storm was in Nigeria in a deleted scene in ‘X-Men Origins’ before she came to Cairo, Egypt in ‘Apocalypse’. Granted that deleted scene took place in 1973 during the Vietnam War, yet Storm had white hair already as a little girl before Apocalypse gave her new white hair in 1983. 😐

Also joining Apocalypse, Magneto, Storm and Psylocke is Ben Hardy as Angel. I assume this is a different Angel compared to the one we saw in ‘The Last Stand’. I don’t think Angel in 1976 from ‘Last Stand’ matches in terms of the age he’s meant to be once we meet him in 1983 in ‘Apocalypse’.

Also, Angel is played out more a villain in ‘Apocalypse’ as opposed to a hero in ‘The Last Stand’. Angel also must have died at the end of ‘Apocalypse’. I’m getting an impression Bryan Singer didn’t want the cure storyline to happen once it came to the events of ‘The Last Stand’ in the changed timeline.

Lucas Till makes a return as Alex Summers/Havok in the film. I like that Alex’s brotherly connection with Scott Summers is established in the film. It’s also nice that Lucas Till gets a bigger role in ‘Apocalypse’ compared to when he had a small role in ‘Days of Future Past’, which is rather unusual.

Mind you, Alex Summers ended up getting killed in the film. It’s lucky that he went with Charles Xavier to meet up with Moira MacTaggert at the CIA. Alex does get to look out for his brother at times and he gets to blow up Cerebro at Xavier’s instructions. It does cause the house to blow up though.

Evan Peters makes a return as Peter Maximoff/Quicksilver in the film. It’s intriguing how it gets revealed that he’s the son of Magneto, which had been sort-of hinted at in ‘Days of Future Past’. Quicksilver also gets to save the lives of everybody inside the X-Mansion when it’s being blown up. 🙂

This is while the ‘Sweet Dreams’ song performed by Eurythmics is played. I only recognised the tune from that song from hearing ‘Whorythmics’ by JeX which is used in the Babelcolour ‘Doctor Who’ tribute videos on YouTube. It was fun to hear the ‘Sweet Dreams’ song in Quicksilver’s rescue scene.

Kodi Smith-McPhee makes his debut as Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler whom Mystique rescues and he befriends mutants like Cyclops, Jean Grey and Jubilee at the X-Mansion. I like Kodi Smith-McPhee’s performance as Nightcrawler and how he makes his first chronological appearance here for this film.

Mind you, some aspects of Nightcrawler’s appearance in ‘Apocalypse’ don’t reflect how he ends up being Alan Cumming’s Nightcrawler in ‘X-Men 2’. I mean, did Xavier, Cyclops and Jean forget Nightcrawler was with them in ‘Apocalypse’ before they met up with him years later in ‘X-Men 2’? 😐

Lana Condor stars as Jubilee in the film. This is another peculiarity. Jubilee made cameo appearances in the original ‘X-Men’ trilogy which presumably took place from the years 2000 to 2006. How come Jubilee is there in 1983, unless this is a different Jubilee and she’s an ancestor to the one in later films?!

I know this is all very nitpicky but the continuity of the ‘X-Men’ films is way all over the place by this point and it’s like Bryan Singer and the filmmakers had the attitude of not caring about getting the continuity right. Jubilee also doesn’t do much when she interacts with Jean, Cyclops and Nightcrawler.

The film also features Josh Helman as Colonel William Stryker, who has been promoted since he was a major in ‘Days of Future Past’. His appearance in this movie does seem to be out-of-nowhere and the only reason (I think) he made an appearance in this film was so that Wolverine can be in the film.

Mind you, it was Mystique disguised as Stryker who picked Wolverine up at the end of ‘Days of Future Past’ instead of the real Stryker. It doesn’t get explained why Mystique disguised herself as Stryker to pick Wolverine up and it never gets followed up here. What happened to these movies?! 😦

That’s right! Hugh Jackman makes another appearance as Logan/Wolverine in this ‘X-Men’ film. At the time, I was delighted and found it intriguing to see at what point Wolverine was in his life when he was Weapon X and being mistreated by Stryker. It was also nice to see how Jean Grey tamed him.

Mind you, looking back and after seeing the previous ‘X-Men’ films, the continuity of Wolverine’s appearance in this film doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t tie in to what’s echoed in flashbacks in ‘X-Men 2’; what was established in ‘X-Men Origins’ and shouldn’t those scenes take place in 1979 instead? 😐

The wrestler ‘Giant’ Gustav Claude Ouimet makes a cameo as the Blob in this movie when he’s fighting Angel in an underground fight club. I would point out that the Blob in this movie doesn’t echo the one in ‘X-Men Origins’, but like that even matters by this point when watching the series. 😐

Stan Lee and his wife Joan Lee make a cameo appearance together in this film. I wondered when Stan would make another cameo in an ‘X-Men’ film. Compared to the Spider-Man and the MCU films, Stan has only made cameos for three ‘X-Men’ films – ‘X-Men’, ‘The Last Stand’ and this one! 😐

Incidentally, a clip from the ‘Star Trek’ episode ‘Who Mourns For Adonais?’ gets shown in this ‘X-Men’ film. Just as there was a clip from the ‘Star Trek’ episode ‘The Naked Time’ in ‘Days of Future Past’. I think it’s made clear by this point in the ‘X-Men’ films that Bryan Singer is a ‘Star Trek’ fan. 😀

A criticism regarding ‘Days of Future Past’ is that this isn’t an epic action-packed fight sequence at the end of that movie. This gets made up for in ‘Apocalypse’ where we have an epic action-packed fight sequence at the film’s end as the X-Men and Magneto fight against Apocalypse and his evil scheme.

I know aspects of this fight sequence don’t make sense, especially with Jean Grey becoming Phoenix-like at the film’s end, which isn’t quite reflected in ‘Dark Phoenix’. At the time of watching this at the cinema though, I found it quite compelling and it was really good to see on the big screen back then.

There is a post-credits scene at the end of the film where men in black suits visit the Weapon X facility where they retrieve an X-ray and a blood sample of Wolverine (I believe) on behalf of the Essex Corporation. I’m not sure who the Essex Corporation are. Are they based in Essex, England? 😐

I think this is meant to connect to the film ‘Logan’ as well as ‘The New Mutants’ (I believe), but I’m not sure at this point as I haven’t seen those movies yet. It would have been better if the film ended with a post-credits scene leading into ‘Dark Phoenix’ and perhaps have Jean Grey’s character in it. 😐

The DVD special features are as follows. There’s a gag reel for the film; an audio commentary with director Bryan Singer and producer/writer Simon Kinberg; and gallery including concept art and unit photography.

On Blu-ray, as well as the gag reel, the audio commentary and the gallery, there are deleted and extended scenes which feature optional introductions by director Bryan Singer. There’s a wrap party video; the ‘X-Men Apocalypse: Unearthed’ multi-part set of behind-the-scenes featurettes; and theatrical trailers.

At the time, I enjoyed ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ as a film at the cinema in 2016. Having re-watched the previously ‘X-Men’ films recently though, I can see how flawed it is and how there are many inconsistencies when connecting to other films. I hoped the ‘X-Men’ film saga would have been reshaped by this point.

It’s still a decent effort and I can’t blame the cast for trying with the performances they deliver. I’m still fond of this movie and I know my best mate Stephen loved ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ when he saw it at the cinema. But knowing what’s to come with ‘Dark Phoenix’, the ‘X-Men’ films would end soon. 😦

‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ rating – 7/10


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2 thoughts on “‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ (Film)

  1. Timelord 007

    I enjoy Apocalypse as the action is well choreographed & i love Wolverine’s cameo where he just goes feral, i also like Magneto’s arc with having a wife & daughter , Fassbender completely sells the scene when they are murdered & his vengeance was chilling.

    However as you quite rightly pointed out Tim, THIS MAKES NO SENSE THE CONTINUITY IS A UNFATHOMABLE INCOHERENT MESS, Wolverine Weapon X different origin, Scott joined Xavier’s school in Origins & Jean Grey was visited by Xavier & Magneto but now that’s changed………ARGH MY ARMS MY LEGS MY EVERYTHING I NEED LIE DOWN IN A DARK ZERO ROOM.

    I just have to assume DOFP changed the timeline but even so it wouldn’t change that THE CHARACTERS STILL AGE & SHOULD BE STEWART & MCKELLEN NOW.

    This is all too timey wimey for me, excellent detailed review Tim you pointed out the inconsistencies of the timeline & characters perfectly i didn’t realise there was so many until reading this review you certainly done your homework.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’. I still enjoyed this film when I saw it recently on DVD and on Disney+. Wolverine’s cameo is fun to watch and the story of Magento with his wife and daughter was nice to see. Michael Fassbender delivers his scenes in spades.

      It’s such a shame the continuity of the ‘X-Men’ films is all over the place as the continuity errors could have easily been fixed with what’s already been established in films like ‘X-Men 2’, ‘The Last Stand’ and ‘X-Men Origins’. I’m glad you agree with what I’ve pointed out regarding Wolverine’s Weapon X origin, Cyclops’ origins and Jean Grey’s origins. I wish the film had gone in the direction of being set five years after ‘Days of Future Past’ and having characters like Xavier transition from James McAvoy into Patrick Stewart and Magneto transition from Michael Fassbender into Ian McKellen before we get to Scott Summers and Jean Grey at the X-Mansion.

      I’ve done my new review on ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ which I’ve scheduled for next Friday. I’m looking forward to checking out ‘The New Mutants’ next.

      Many thanks for your comments.

      Tim. 🙂

      Like

      Reply

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