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Nerdlocker Movie Review: X-Men: Apocalypse


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When a single player is making three-pointer after three-pointer it’s generally a rule of thumb to continue to feed the hot hand. Eventually that “hand” will cool and threes will come less frequent. Century Fox revamped their X-Men universe with Matthew Vaughn’s stellar prequel/sequel First Class. Continuing with these younger characters, Days of Future Past hit yet another three-pointer making everyone believe that the days of X3 are long gone and another three points is unquestionably on its way. It’s my opinion that with Apocalypse the “hand” hasn’t necessarily lost the heat entirely but signs of cooling are obvious. Apocalypse is feeding off immense heat with the previous two films but unfortunately it could not maintain. This is by no means X3 level awful but to compare it to DOFP and FC, Apocalypse is lackluster at best.

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First Class integrated actual historical events and meshed them with the fantastical world of mutants creating a fun and highly intriguing alternate reality. These real world events molded the X-Men and made their backgrounds absolutely fascinating and demanded further digging to discover more. With Days of Future Past we are at greater depths as more secrets are unveiled and consequences arise putting characters we’ve grown attached to into unimaginable and history altering situations. Every character in these two films are at some point faced with a decision that will determine the rest of their lives. Some choose a path of helping others while others choose a darker path, one of resentment and inevitable pain. There was heft to these films and decisions made and paths chosen felt important and could shape future films.

Apocalypse tends to take a path more traveled that basically consists of the X-Men facing a foe that no other can defeat; it’s your basic superhero formula. I will admit this is a bit of an oversimplification but the heft this film possess pertains to a few key characters while the rest are seemingly for visual splendor and extending the run time. So many characters are introduced in this one film that all mutants can not possibly have their proper time in the spotlight so we are left with spot fillers, empty vessels meant to look cool but in no way push the plot forward. I have to add that while certain characters were recast, a majority of the characters we are introduced to are ones we’ve already met before, simply in different form. Characters with new actors in their place isn’t exactly enticing; it’s new dog, old tricks.

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Apocalypse awakens from his slumber and wants to cleanse the world of its inadequacies by means of total world destruction. The X-Men of course cannot allow this to happen. And… FIGHT! While set on a massive scale, this never feels bigger than a protagonist fighting an antagonist. There never seems to be more to it than that. A superhuman villain aims to end the human race, yeah thanks Ultron, I mean Loki, I mean Thanos, I mean…
Oh and a team of superheroes will stand in the villain’s way when no one else can, yeah thanks Avengers, I mean Justice League, I mean… I realize this isn’t the fault of this storyline that other “teams” have come along in the movies, but despite these other super groups, First Class and DOFP still managed to stand apart and really shine. This falls into the shadows a bit and leaves you feeling as if you’ve already seen this before and that’s because for the most part, you have.

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This all said, a lot of this film is really entertaining (if nothing else) and manages to keep the audience from getting sleepy. This is a good movie but it’s following two great ones. The most talked about scene in DOFP was Quicksilver’s kitchen scene. As expected a similar scene happens again and much the same as before, this character steals the film for the most part. Where this film manages to momentarily spread its wings are all the scenes featuring Magneto/Erik. After having finally found peace through redemption, his world is yet again shattered and any good left within him is lost forever and Magneto becomes the dominant presence in his life. It’s a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde situation and Mr. Hyde is roaming free. Michael Fassbender once again brings his talents to this emotionally resonant character and creates moments of true tragedy and conveys these moments brilliantly. His character is undoubtedly the most progressed of the film.

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If these strong moments had only been more frequent and prominent then perhaps this could have lived up to its predecessors. I think the greatest failure here is the lack of interest this creates in what comes next. The movie ended and all I wanted to do is see Captain America: Civil War for a second time (I did see it again and it was just as awesome). Apocalypse features a talented cast playing their parts as we are pulled through nearly two and a half hours of familiarity. The familiar parts aren’t bad but they don’t exactly leave one wanting more. Chances are you’ll leave the theater happy but uncaring any further than the parking lot. This franchise suddenly had so much potential and Apocalypse couldn’t raise it any higher. Luckily it didn’t lower it much so maybe this is just a momentary setback destined to bounce back to its former glory. Only time will tell.

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Rated PG-13 For: sequences of violence, action and destruction, brief strong language and some suggestive images
Runtime: 144 minutes
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
After Credits Scene: Yes
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne
Directed By: Bryan Singer

Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 3/ Acting: 4/ Directing: 3.5/ Visuals: 4.5
OVERALL: 3.5 Nerdskulls

Check out the trailer below:

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