X-Men Apocalypse review: Failing at franchise

Written 5/28/16

To get this very short list out of the way, let’s start with the pros: I enjoyed the character development given to Mystique and Quicksilver; I did laugh out loud at least three times; Hugh Jackman.

On the other, much larger hand, this film struck out. I’m sorry Bryan Singer, I respect a lot of what you’ve done, but releasing this in the ominous shadow of Civil War was a mistake. Civil War made us forget Dawn of Justice (thank God), but also set the bar ten times higher for any superhero film to follow, and Apocalypse didn’t even tap that bar with its fingertips.

Audiences have seen too much at this point. We’ve watched it happen with comedy, action, fantasy, and especially horror and gore, that audiences are no longer shocked by visuals alone. Once upon a time, setting a car on fire encouraged “ooo”s and “aaaa”s, but now you can blow up the whole U.S. and the audience won’t bat an eye if they don’t care why the U.S. is being blown up. To bring it back to this film specifically: you can raise metal out of the earth to create a pyramid, but no one cares about that unless the pyramid means something. We’ve seen it all. We saw identical special effects in the preview for Independence Day that preceded the feature. The dialogue was flat, the characters were flat, and the story was flat. Make the movie as 3D as you want, no one will care unless the story’s dimensions keep up with the technical ones.

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