Friday, 20 May 2016

Film Review: "X-Men: Apocalypse" (2016).

Taglines such as "Prepare for the Apocalypse" and "Only the strong will survive" are the warnings that make up X-Men: Apocalypse. This superhero film based on the characters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and published by Marvel Comics. It is the ninth installment in the X-Men film series. Directed by Bryan Singer; written by Simon Kinberg; based on a story conceived by Singer, Kinberg, Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris. Since the dawn of civilization, he was worshiped as a god. Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant, amassed the powers of many other mutants, becoming immortal and invincible. Upon awakening after thousands of years, he is disillusioned with the world as he finds it and recruits a team of powerful mutants to cleanse mankind and create a new world order, over which he will reign. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Raven and Professor X must lead a team of young X-Men to stop their greatest nemesis and save mankind from complete destruction.

The film was announced by Singer in December 2013 the he, along with Kinberg, Dougherty, and Harris, were attached to develop the story. Singer has described the film as "A big monster of a movie." According to Kinberg, this will contain more mass destruction than any of the previous X-Men films. "... The kind of scope and scale we're talking about is like a disaster movie featuring an extinction-level event. We're talking Michael Bay/Roland Emmerich-style moviemaking, which you've never seen in an X-Men movie..." Singer chose Apocalypse as the antagonist to examine the origins of mutants on Earth. In addition, Singer has called this film "kind of a conclusion of six X-Men films...". Casting began in October 2014. By April 2015, along with the previous cast, newcomers Oscar Isaac, Alexandra Shipp, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ben Hardy, Lana Condor and Olivia Munn joined. Principal photography commenced in April 2015 in Montreal, Canada, and wrapped in August of the same year.

The film features an ensemble cast starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Olivia Munn, Lucas Till, Evan Peters, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alexandra Shipp, Ben Hardy, Lana Condor and Josh Helman. The performances, this time round, were varied. McAvoy, Fassbender, Lawrence, Hoult, Byrne and Till gave another round of fine performances, despite having static character relationships, being under-utilised and, at times, delivering performances in the most wooden way possible. As for the newcomers, Sheridan, Turner, Peters and Smit-McPhee shined in their roles. Munn, Shipp, Hardy, Condor and Helman unfortunately suffered to the point where they seemed to serve no purpose to the overall story and were given very little to accomplish. Finally, Isaac gave a fine performance as Apocalypse, despite becoming less menacing as the film progressed.

With X-Men: Apocalypse, what Singer achieves is a sense of grand scale that makes the film fun to watch as an X-Men film. However, it is a cinematic fireworks show without the worthy grand finale. Ultimately, it is a promising setup killed by disaster-film cliches.

Simon says X-Men: Apocalypse receives:

Also, see my review for X-Men: Days of Future Past.

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