There’s boredom, a reflection on a franchise that has been repeating itself for years. There’s also frustration, perhaps at the creative lethargy of filmmakers unwilling to match her talent. And there’s fatigue.
At this point in a franchise – this is the ninth film involved in 20th Century Fox’s extended X-Men series – each entry had better either provide a fresh understanding of the material, as X-Men: First Class did, or propel the characters and narrative forward, as X-Men: Days of Future Past did.
Otherwise, what’s the point? Apocalypse does neither.
X-Men: Apocalypse reeks of apathy. That’s unfortunate in any art form but unforgivable when the price tag for the art is over $230 million.
Bryan Singer, the director who launched the X-Men franchise in 2000 and has directed four of the films in the series, has never been an inspired filmmaker.
His failures are glaring and his successes are never convincing. Singer’s lack of insight here isn’t so much surprising as it is unfortunate.
The plot, the characters, the action set pieces and the dialogue in X-Men: Apocalypse are the product of amateur-level filmmaking.
The world’s first mutant, a menacing figure named El Sabah Nur, is worshipped as a god in ancient Egypt.
Betrayed by disloyal followers and imprisoned in a tomb for thousands of years, El Sabah Nur suddenly awakens in 1983. Displeased with the state of mankind, he subsequently sets about dismantling it.
The X-Men get involved. They talk a lot about how much more critical the situation is than their previous endeavours. The film never authentically conveys the danger in question. For a seemingly worrying figure, Apocalypse exudes an unthreatening presence.
The film is subtitled ‘Apocalypse’ and yet the film arrives in the wake of enormous backlash from audiences regarding the recent onslaught of catastrophic comic book showdowns.
Cities are levelled, by virtue of unconvincing computer imagery, but there’s little to care about. We’ve seen it all before and we didn’t like it then. Apocalypse is late to a party that nobody was enjoying.
After nine films, character development is still inconsequential to Singer. The relationship between Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Professor Xavier (James McAvoy), the highlight of Matthew Vaughn’s First Class, has barely progressed. Magneto still suffers from a torn conscious; Xavier still struggles with the magnitude of his power and the two run around in circles in terms of character progression. X-Men: Apocalypse is a step backwards in too many ways.
There are an awful lot of comic book adaptations out there nowadays. X-Men: Apocalypse doesn’t have what it takes to keep its head above water. Is it poignant that a series revolving around evolution has evolved so little in almost 20 years? Perhaps it’s just disheartening.
X-Men is making the same mistakes and forgetting its accomplishments. Lawrence’s indifference is well earned. Even Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice had the decency to fail spectacularly. Singer’s world ends with a whimper.