By Jonathan Decker
WHAT IS X-MEN: APOCALYPSE ABOUT?
Professor X, Beast, and Mystique lead the battle against Apocalypse, a nearly-omnipotent being intent on mutant domination of the world.
IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE: C+)
Overstuffed with under-developed characters and murky motivations, X-Men: Apocalypse didn’t grip me like the franchise’s best installments (X2, First Class, and Days of Future Past). That said, this is hardly a train wreck like X-Men Origins: Wolverine and instead shares the “good-but-not-great” middle ground with The Last Stand and The Wolverine. The film is anchored by another pair of brilliant turns by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender (as Professor X and Magneto, respectively) whose ideological conflict continues to drive the series. Both actors elevate the material they’re given here.
Unfortunately Jennifer Lawrence and Nicolas Holt are underutilized this time. The new characters (technically younger versions of characters we know from the originals) are undercooked, the great Oscar Isaac gets lost under bad makeup and hammy dialogue, and Oliva Munn is laughably one-note as Psylocke. Still, the action gets the blood pumping (watch for a fury-filled cameo and another standout scene with Quicksilver), the visual effects are terrific, the 80’s setting is fun, and there are some moments of real poignancy. All this, along with the aforementioned turns by Fassbender and McAvoy, make it worth recommending to fans. If you’ve not seen the other films, however, you will be utterly lost.
IS IT OKAY FOR YOUR KIDS?
X-Men: Apocalypse is rated PG-13, but the violence is brutal and bloody enough to warrant an R. A metal piece flies through the necks of multiple victims, a character’s throat is cut (we see the bloody wound before he heals himself), multiple characters are stabbed while blood splatters on the walls, soldiers are crushed beneath giant stones, and there is fighting aplenty. There is one f-word and several other profanities scattered here and there. A woman wears a revealing leather catsuit.
ANY WORTHWHILE MESSAGES?
Those with power and strength have the duty to defend those who do not. The path to peace requires sacrifice. Don’t be afraid to unleash your talents on the world; just be sure to use them for good purposes. Doing what’s right sometimes requires that we endure persecution.
When I was in Divine Comedy at Brigham Young University we did a parody of the X-Men. If you understand BYU culture, I think you’ll have a blast with it. I play Wolverine 🙂