X-Men: Apocalypse has been in cinemas for a couple of weeks now and is receiving some heavy criticism, with some calling it one of the weaker movies in the popular X-Men series, ahead of only X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Granted, it was always going to be a task to top X-Men: Days Of Future Past, but I think director Bryan Singer did a fantastic job at following up his magnum opus. Heck, I think X-Men: Apocalypse is one of the better X-Men films out there! While the movie will continue to divide audiences and serve as a punching bag for critics everywhere, I’m here to list down 12 things X-Men: Apocalypse did incredibly well.
Sure, it isn’t a perfect movie. It starts out a little slow and takes its time with introducing us to characters we’re already all too familiar with, but when it gets going, it goes ape-sh*t crazy and takes us on a roller-coaster ride of bombastic visual effects and all-out mutant mayhem. And I say that in a good way. At the end of the day, don’t trust what others have to say… go see X-Men: Apocalypse for yourself and if you’re like me, you’ll want to see it a few more times once you’re out of the cinema.
One of the best scenes in X-Men: Days of Future Past was Quicksilver’s epic “Time in a Bottle” sequence in the kitchen of The Pentagon. We get a similar scene in X-Men: Apocalypse, and it’s just as good if not better than its predecessor. The character, brilliantly reprised by Evan Peters, is given more to do this time around and truly cements himself as one of the best additions to the X-Men franchise. We get a better look at the silver-haired mutant and what makes him tick, and a lot of the best sequences in the movie itself involve this fan favorite speed demon.
11. Wolverine’s Cameo
In my opinion, this golden nugget should have been kept a secret for all intents and purposes, but unfortunately it was ruined by the film’s final trailer. Nevertheless, Wolverine’s cameo is handled extremely well in X-Men: Apocalypse. I can’t say anything without ruining it, but I was genuinely surprised by how intense and violent the sequence was for a PG13 movie. The scene may be pure fan service that could potentially create issues in the renewed X-timeline, but just seeing Hugh Jackman unleash those claws again in an X-Men movie was a treat. It was an especially bittersweet moment, since this is the last time we’ll see Jackman as the feral mutant in an ensemble X-Men movie, before he bids the franchise farewell in his third solo movie due in 2017.
10. Post-Credits Tease
Marvel Studios aren’t the only ones who know how to set up a great tease for future movies. The post-credits scene in X-Men: Apocalypse isn’t as in-your-face as any of the ones from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but anyone who has ever been a fan of the X-Men cartoons and comic books will instantly recognize what’s being hinted for the next movie… and it’s big! I can’t say anymore, so you’ll have to patiently wait for the credits to roll to witness this little gem for yourself.
9. It’s Action-Packed!
Apocalypse may have some pacing issues, but you’ll never be able to fault them when it comes to the action. Some of the visual effects may be iffy, but once the action gets started the movie loses its mind…in a good way. The action doesn’t stop and things just get more and more intense. Apocalypse himself is a worthy adversary to the X-Men as a whole, which makes the massive action scenes a lot of fun to watch. Bryan Singer may be a lot of things, but boring he is not. The man knows how to direct an action scene and he amps up the crazy in this movie.
A lot of people will argue about Apocalypse being a tad ridiculous, but hey, if you’re watching a movie about an ancient mutant God coming back to destroy the world… maybe it’s better if you dial the logic meter back a few notches to really enjoy what is a fun-filled time at the movies. The entire plot gets more intense as it moves along, culminating in such an extravagant ending that it’s hard to not get lost in the grandeur of it all.
8. Charles Xavier – Erik Lehnsherr Relationship
The core of the X-Men franchise has always been the complicated relationship between Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr. Granted, it would make a lot more sense for Charles to just wipe Erik’s memory so that he isn’t a lethal threat to millions of innocent people, but I guess that’s what makes it such a complex dynamic; they won’t use their powers to destroy the other, but they’ll do everything in their power to stop the other from succeeding.
The Charles-Erik relationship is explored and put on the line once again in X-Men: Apocalypse. Although Magneto is reduced – but not significantly – to the role of a supporting villain this time around, his character is deepened with a fresh new perspective, giving us a better glimpse into an already complex character. As always, watching Xavier and Lehnsherr share such a powerful bond from opposite ends of the same spectrum is both fun and also bittersweet, because we know that they’ll hardly ever share the same ideology, and we can’t really say that either one is completely wrong in their arguments.
7. Music, Score, and Soundtrack
One aspect I’ve always enjoyed when it comes to the X-Men franchise is the music by composer John Ottman. There’s something about the signature X-Men opening theme that gets my blood rushing and has me pumped for all the mutant awesomeness that’s about to unfold on screen. I dare say I even like the music in most X-Men movies better than anything I’ve heard from the Marvel Cinematic Universe… except for Guardians of the Galaxy, of course, because let’s just all agree that the score and song selection for Guardians was beyond perfect.
Since X-Men: Apocalypse is meant to be a bigger movie than its predecessors in terms of size and scale, it only makes sense that the score follows suit and goes big with its delivery. The thunderous tunes accompany the grandiose visuals on screen to bring us a satisfyingly epic piece in the X-Men saga.
6. New Mutants
While we’re not exactly introduced to new mutants we haven’t seen before (with the exception of Psylocke), the re-introduction of Nightcrawler, Cyclops and Storm was a good move on director Bryan Singer’s part. The new Storm, brilliantly played by Alexandra Shipp, is far more accurate than Halle Berry’s incarnation ever was. And while Alan Cumming’s Nightcrawler was damn near perfect, Kodi Smit-Mcphee does a commendable job at keeping that vibe from X2 intact. We also get glimpses of a new Jubilee, a character that has been hinted at since the first X-Men came out in 2000. If they’re keeping with the trend, the next movie should take place in the ’90s, so it’ll be fun to see Lana Condor display her powers as Jubilation “Jubilee” Lee and finally become a staple piece of the X-Men franchise.
5. Sophie Turner as Jean Grey
There was a lot of skepticism when Sophie Turner, famous for her role as Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones, was handed the role of Jean Grey, a prominent and extremely powerful mutant in the X-Men universe. Fortunately, Sophie slips into the shoes of Jean Grey almost naturally and makes the character her own. It’s always a treat when an actor can be two major characters at the same time and not have you confuse the two. After the initial introduction, I never once viewed Jean Grey as Sansa Stark throughout the movie. Remember, Famke Janssen is iconic as Jean Grey, so anyone who had to follow in her footsteps must have had a lot of pressure on their shoulders. Sophie Turner not only deals with that pressure extremely well, but she plays Jean so well that I can’t wait to see what she does in future X-Men films!
4. Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse
From Poe Dameron to the first mutant to ever live… is there anything Oscar Isaac can’t do? The filmmakers have received a lot of criticism for not utilizing Isaac enough in the role, which is crazy-talk in my opinion. First of all, did you see Oscar Isaac in there? Did you once go to yourself, “That’s totally Oscar Isaac”? If the answer to both questions is “No”, then Oscar Isaac did a fantastic job at playing Apocalypse, much like Tom Hardy did when he played Bane. The trait of an excellent actor is not to make you know it’s them on screen, but rather the character that they’re playing. When I see Apocalypse, I don’t see Oscar Isaac, I see En Sabah Nur… and I’m not sure I’d be able to say the same had anyone else accepted the role.
3. The Tone Is Perfect
What I love most about X-Men: Apocalypse is that it feels like an episode from the ’90s X-Men animated series. I’m sure that won’t sit well with some folks, and that’s all right… different strokes and all that. But when I think about the X-Men, the first thing that comes to mind is undoubtedly the ’90s cartoon and the action figures I had as a kid.
For the first time in the X-Men live-action movies, I felt like I was playing with those action figures again. Yes, I love what Bryan Singer has done with the movies, but there’s just something about the colorfulness and simplicity of X-Men: Apocalypse that makes me appreciate it as one of the better X-movies. It’s thematically different from most of the other X-Men films, which to me is great because now we have a variety of vibes to pick from. I can only hope that the next film is a hybrid of both styles; an amalgamation of Days Of Future Past and Apocalypse, to create the perfect adaptation of the ’90s animated series.
2. The Future Is X-Citing
Apologies for the terrible pun, but I saw an opportunity and I took it. Back to topic, the future does look exciting for the X-Men franchise. Not only have they brought our favorite mutants back into the fold, but the franchise is heading into the ’90s, which means we may finally get classic costumes that resemble what we were so accustomed to as kids in the 90s. Not only that, the franchise will finally come full circle with the first X-Men, completing the circle and resetting the timeline in bittersweet fashion. Will we see a new Wolverine? Will we finally see the Savage Land? How about the Dark Phoenix Saga? The possibilities are endless, and I can’t wait to see where our favorite band of mutants head to next.
1. Magneto is Even More Human
Arguably one of the most human elements of the X-Men films has always been Magneto’s story. When the first X-Men movie came out 16 years ago, it opened with a tragic scene from Magneto’s past. Just when you thought they couldn’t humanize the “Master of Magnetism” any more, they go ahead and give you even more reason to like him. Michael Fassbender couldn’t be more perfect as the metal-wielding force to be reckoned with, and he brings that same genuine intensity to the character yet again in X-Men: Apocalypse. It wasn’t like we needed more reason to care about Magneto’s place in this series, but Singer’s latest take on Erik Lensher’s complex character is most welcome.