X-men : Apocalypse
1 out of 5 stars
It's all of us, against a god! - Professor Charles Xavier
The question for the ages will continue to be, ‘Where did we come from?’ The question of origins has plagued mankind and in X-Men: Apocalypse it is considered by humans and mutants. CIA agent Moira Mactaggert (Rose Byrne) seems to have found the answer in the deep recesses of Cairo, Egypt. Where an ancient tomb holds the remains of the original mutant being, Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), and he is awakened and is looking to make all of the wrongs right in the world. His methodology is to start over with the creation of mankind by eradicating the human race. Then his plan it to start over with the strongest of the mutants which will be lead by the four horseman of the apocalypse. The only thing that could divert this plan would be the forces of the young, but growing student population of Xavier Institute for Higher Learning that is led by Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy). As the mutant battle lines form between these two sides, many of the established X-men force must decide whether to hold onto their prejudices against the human race or if they will become the saviours of the world.
In the pursuit to explore the possibilities of God, director Bryan Singer (X-Men: Days of Future Past) considers that the original mutant was actually a god. Is Apocalypse a god, a fake god or a mutant with a god-like complex? These questions may eventually plague the minds of those who come along to the latest installment of this franchise, even though they are not answered by the film. Putting aside these theological considerations, Singer must be praying that audiences will have had enough of Batman v Superman and Captain America:Civil War and remember the original band of mutants this weekend. The comparisons of these franchises will be plentiful, but this review will attempt to measure this film on its own merits or lack of them.
The beginning of the film shows promise with the attempt to humanise this mutant gang with Magneto (Michael Fassbender) as a husband and father who is a humble steel worker in Poland, Professor Xavier has the potential to reconnect with his lost love, and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is attempting to save abused mutants around the world. Singer gives a softer perception of these heroes by drawing audiences into the plight of this misunderstood race of humanoids, but this is promise is short lived. ‘Love the humans, hate the humans?’ remains as an ingrained tension between the mutated brotherhood of Xavier (Professor X) and Eric (Magneto) and it has proven to have run its course. Even with a super humanoid villain to capture their attention, the familiar argument remains at the heart of the division between these on again / off again comrades in arms. What begins as a fresh start for this pairing's relationship becomes a redundant agrument. It is like watching an old married couple fighting over events of the past.
This is one of many shortcomings of this film and Singer seems unable to keep this X-men outing from falling into the void of mediocrity. A short list of problems are found in the confusing timelines, the excessive monologuing by all of the villains (Did no one learn their lesson from The Incredibles?), the excessive violence against the world's population, but these are minor in comparison to the two primary issues. The first is found in the film’s antagonistic namesake, Apocalypse. Oscar Isaacs cannot be held to account for this glaring example of miscasting or offence to villainy. The blame falls squarely on the head of the director who seems to miss the brief that Apocalypse is a massive presence in the comic book world. Even though Isaacs is a formidable actor, his physical presence is not what most would think of when thinking of a super-villian. He is unrecognisable throughout the film due to poor choices of make-up, special effects and voice distortion. The second issue for Singer is his reliance on Jennifer Lawrence as a leader within the mutant ranks. She seems to be doing a less-than-effective portrayal of Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games. She became the weak link in the chain of mutant leadership. Outside of the inclusion of some new characters, there was not much to praise about Singer's latest creation.
You do have to feel for Bryan Singer and Fox for choosing this release date which follows after Batman v Superman and Captain America:Civil War, but regardless of the timing X-Men: Apocalypse still feels tired and undercooked. This chapter of the mutated warriors should have remained closed and the franchise needs to be shelved for awhile to find new writers and a fresh cast.
REEL DIALOGUE: What are some of the bigger questions to consider from this film?
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. John 1:1-2
X-Men: Apocalypse does provide multiple discussion points for conversations about God. Does He exist, do many roads exist that lead to one God and are we are able to kill God? Fortunately, the Bible does give us the answers to these questions and more. After seeing the comic book adventure, it might be worth picking up a copy of the Bible and searching for the answers to the questions that get left unanswered in the film.
- Is it wrong to have heroes? (John 3:16-17, Romans 12:17-21)
- What does the Bible have to say about division? (Mark 3:24-26, 1 Corinthians 1:10-13)
- Can mankind's hearts change from evil to good? (2 Corinthians 5:17, 2 Timothy 2:21)