Worshiped as a god since the dawn of civilization, the immortal En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac) becomes the first and most powerful mutant. Awakening after thousands of years, he recruits the disheartened Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and other mutants to create a new world order. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) lead a team of young X-Men to stop their seemingly invincible nemesis from destroying mankind.
Now here’s another one off my list of most anticipated films of 2016. It’s pretty easy to figure out why. I’ve been a big fan of the new X-Men series (from First Class on) so I was looking forward to this next entry. The trailers looked exciting enough and I was also excited to finally see the clips I posted come to life (you can still watch those here). I am well aware of the mixed reviews this film got (and I can understand where they are coming from) but I wanted to see it for myself.
There have been many superhero team up films this year in Batman v Superman and Captain America: Civil War, now you can kind of add this one to the list. Since this series has mostly taken place in the past, with every new film we are inching closer and closer to the formation of the X-Men we all know and love and this was the case here. With that came reintroductions to characters we are all familiar with in their younger incarnations most notably Scott Summers/Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) and Ororo Munroe/Storm (Alexandra Shipp). As well as introducing us to new characters, it had to update us on returning characters.
With that and the emergence of En Sabah Nur (Isaac), there was definitely a lot going on early. During this, the film did a lot of jumping back and forth between characters and different locations where was definitely a lot to follow. We obviously all knew where this was going to lead but the film did take quite a long time to get there. Nothing really notable happened until at least halfway through the film and seeing that it was already almost 2.5 hours, that’s too long.
When compared to the previous two films in the series, First Class and Days of Future Past, this plot in this was very simple and lacked the depth which made the previous two so compelling thus making it a little more dull in comparison. Again, there was only really two big plot lines here with the formation of the team fighting against the rise of Apocalypse (I don’t know why I keep calling him Apocalypse because he never called himself that in the film). Each of those plot lines contained many subplots of their own. The main problem with this film is that it lacked any balance between the two plot lines.
Because of all the characters in the subplots it had to juggle, it did not often get the chance to gain any momentum. Buildup is okay when it actually leads to something, but it didn’t really happen here. There were definitely some parallels here between this and the most recent Fantastic Four film where the film consisted of 95% buildup and 5% disappointment. Don’t worry, this film is much better but the thought was always there. This film follows a similar formula plot-wise with the majority of it being buildup, with some lighter moments featuring a lot of forced humor, to a good big battle sequence but it did not have big enough of an impact.
All of it would have meant more if the film’s villain En Sabah Nur/Apocalypse was better established. He never really got his footing here as we never really got a sense of how evil he was. His plans weren’t exactly clear either so it was hard to ever take him seriously. Why does he want to blow up the world? How can he build a new one if it’s blown up? What didn’t help his case was that everything about him just felt silly. From his look and his cheesy dialogue, this made him hard to care about as a character. Instead of a real foil, he just felt like more of a means to an end which was to bring all the characters together to form the team which will inevitably make up future films.
Overall, while being a step back in the new X-Men series, this is still a good action film with good special effects and good performances but the story and pacing are what hold this one back from joining First Class and Days of Future Past.