3 Thoughts On… X-Men: Apocalypse
It’s the end of the world as we know it… again
PLOT: With the emergence of the world’s first mutant, Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), the X-Men must unite to defeat his extinction level plan.
Stop bringing Wolverine back for these things
X-Men fans were understandably riled when Days of Future Past shoved original protagonist Kitty Pride to one side in favour of Wolverine to make sure they could put Hugh Jackman on all the posters. But that seems almost subtle compared to the way that the plot of Apocalypse grinds to a halt for 20 minutes to jam him into the film with a crowbar and half a tub of Vaseline. He doesn’t do anything to help the other characters, and doesn’t get so much as a line of dialogue. That’s not changing your plot to make it more marketable, that’s just pandering to your audience.
Absolutely nobody looks like they want to be here
Rebooting the X-Men to their younger selves in First Class was exactly the shot in the arm the franchise needed, but now that they’ve all grown up (sorry) and moved on to bigger things, it’s getting more and more obvious that they’re just coming back for the paycheck. Jennifer Lawrence looks like she’s about to fall asleep, Oscar Isaac tries his best as Apocalypse but looks visibly uncomfortable under all that blue makeup, and most of the female characters have nothing to do but mill around and react to things. Olivia Munn deserves way better than this.
The plot is almost shockingly blasé
The theme of persecution has always been a big part of the X-Men. Bryan Singer has openly admitted his films use mutants as an allegory for gay rights, and this recent trilogy pays a lot of memory to Magento’s history as a survivor of the Holocaust. So it feels more than a little uncomfortable to see entire cities being levelled for the finale and no mention given to the presumably massive death toll. That’s without mentioning the one scene taking place in Auschwitz itself which feels so incredibly tasteless it’s hard to believe it got past the first draft.
For a series all about the next steps in human evolution, X-Men: Apocalypse feels like a huge step backwards. The franchise has never felt so tired.