Nevermind The Critics

Go see X-Men: Apocalypse

SPOILER ALERT, so don’t get mad.

I didn’t know if X-Men: Apocalypse was going to be good. By the time I got around to seeing it (Memorial Day), the internet was full of negative reviews and bad ratings. Plus, my little brother, who owns a Marvel character encyclopedia, didn’t really like it. My heart sank. I didn’t want it to suck.

I should have know better, though. I learned a long time ago that I shouldn’t read reviews before seeing a movie. But how could I not? X-Men: Apocalypse is the kind of movie that takes over social media on opening day. And thus there was no escaping an onslaught of opinions. Unless I decided to stay off the grid, and that wasn’t happening.

Although reviews swayed to the wrong side of good, I still had hope. X-Men: Apocalypse had a 7.6/10 based on 45,770 votes on IMDb. Rotten Tomatoes’ 49% rating was based 176 votes. So…who to trust?

As you can see from the picture above, all I wanted to see was “dope mutants with dope powers doing dope things.” I care about story, for sure, but it’s less important to me when watching an X-Men movie. From this perspective, X-Men Apocalypse delivers.

What makes X-Men: Apocalypse a movie worth seeing is it’s visual elements. It opens in ancient Egypt where the protagonist Apocalypse is preparing to transfer his consciousness into a new mutant body. This is how he gains new powers, and how he continues to live. The transfer takes place in a pyramid, surrounded by fellow mutants. As the transfer begins, those we can only assume were oppressed by Apocalypse’s reign begin their attack. The pyramid starts to crumble, and the ancient mutants fight to protect their ruler. The scene is gorgeous, and I couldn’t help but saying this is dope in my head. That’s really all I wanted from X-Men: Apocalypse. To see Nightcrawler disappear and reappear in a cloud of blue smoke. To see Storm’s eyes turn white and watch lightning strike down from the sky. To see (or not see) Quicksilver move faster than time. To watch Professor X freeze time. To watch Magneto find a new way to reek havoc. To see Cyclops destroy something with his eyes. You know, cool shit.

“For every lively moment, there’s a reminder that the franchise is tiring. The genre’s emphasis on potential mass death is obsessive and unimaginative,” wrote the critic Glenn Kenny in the New York Times. I get it. X-Men: Apocalypse doesn’t really add anything new to the series. It’s just more of what we’ve seen before — in the world of the X-Men and in film. After spending more than a millennia unconscious and stuck deep underground, Apocalypse wakes up in the 1980’s and is disgusted with the state of the world. He considers himself a God, and the world is unfit for his rule. His plan? To cleanse the earth and start over. He is the great flood. He is Richmond Valentine.

And then there’s our old friend Erik Lehnsherr, better known as Magneto. Magneto has always had a chip on his shoulder, a chip that has led him astray and towards a villainous state of mind. We witnessed this in the first installment of X-Men (2000) where young Lehnsherr was separated from his mother at Auschwitz, and again in X-Men: First Class, when Sebastian Shaw killed his mother. In X-Men: Apocalypse, after trying to lead a normal life, Magneto’s wife and daughter were killed. What happened next was obvious.

X-Men: Apocalypse is like the Fast & Furious series: unoriginal but fun. When the credits started to roll, I asked my girlfriend and her older brother if the movie was worth the $9 we paid to get in. It was. As we walked out of the theater, I texted my littler brother:

Me: X-Men was fucking awesome.

LB: Yeah, but First Class was better.

Me: There’s always going to be a better film no matter what. Lol. You made it seem like the movie was bad.

LB: I disliked more characters than I liked. Idk, Mystique being the leader of X-Men…C’mon…

Me: I know what you mean. But that was like the last minute of the movie. Lol.

LB: It’s what it will become that’s a problem. They got Jean Gray controlling the Phoenix Force, which is nice. But they undermined it by having her kill the greatest threat in X-Men history at 18 years old. Idk, this shit annoyed me and he was just horrible representing apocalypse.

LB sent me two pictures of Apocalypse.

LB: Who’s scarier? His eyes were always white and he was like a 6’10 brute.

Me: I feel you. Same reason why a lot of Harry Potter fans don’t like the movies — because they’re not following the books correctly. I think the movie was good as a movie, and if you don’t think about the comic and how Apocalypse looked, I don’t see an issue with him. He was scary simply because of what he could do. I think it’s fine that Jean killed him because it foreshadows the Dark Phoenix, and nobody is fucking with her. Not even Apocalypse.

LB: Yeah, that’s exactly what I drew as well. Beast needs a reimagining ASAP. Grow up and fill out. He is a wimp.

Me: Lmfao. The first Beast in the earlier movies looked better.

LB: Exactly what I was alluding to.

Like all movies, X-Men: Apocalypse won’t please everyone. But if you’re like me and want to see mutants do dope things, then, thumbs up. Spend the money.

This piece originally appeared on The Arthur Pages.

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