Hollywood is expecting some big box office numbers this Memorial Day weekend as “Alice Through the Looking Glass” and “X-Men: Apocalypse” hit theatres.
But with many critics writing off “Alice” as an unworthy sequel to the hit 2010 “Alice In Wonderland,” with only a 28% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, let’s shift our focus to the new X-Men movie where critics are essentially split down the middle on if it’s good or not, with a 49% rating.
Here we break down what the critics like and dislike about the movie, which sees the old guard mutants (Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, and Michael Fassbender”) teaming up with the newbies (Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Evan Peters, Kodi Smit-McPhee) to save the world from the first-ever mutant, Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac).
Though plot isn't really a big motivating factor to going to a superhero movie, it's nice to have a good one. Sadly, director Bryan Singer and screenwriter Simon Kinberg don't really throw the X-Men into any outside-the-box situations. The villain Apocalypse is basically trying to destroy the world and they need to stop him.
That fact annoyed some critics, like Time Out, which thought the movie was 'a seen-it-before world domination plot carried out by a petulant Pharaoh with a head like a chewed pencil, and resisted by a bunch of interchangeable, Lycra-clad goody-goodies whose names and superpowers you'll quickly stop trying to keep track of.'
Isaac has had a good run, playing the soon-to-be iconic character Poe in 'The Force Awakens,' and his countless indie film roles. But it seems he had a misfire taking on Apocalypse.
'Oscar Isaac is completely wasted as Apocalypse,' wrote Uproxx. 'I wish they had kept Isaac out of the makeup, as well. I get that Apocalypse in the movie resembles his comic book counterpart, but who cares? (He kind of looks silly on screen, to be honest.)'
Though 'Apocalypse' takes place ten years after the last X-Men movie, 'Days of Future Past,' it doesn't seem like much makeup was used to age the characters.
'The continuity in 'X-Men: Apocalypse' is even more of a nightmare than the continuity in 'X-Men' comics,' points out ScreenCrush. ''Apocalypse' takes place a decade after 'Days of Future Past,' but if not for the outlandish '80s fashions, you'd swear it was set about six months later. Slacker speedster Quicksilver (Evan Peters) still lives in his mum's basement playing video games, and none of the other actors look older at all, even though they have been fighting one another for two decades.'
Speaking of the '80s, one of the things critics like about the movie is its play on that fun decade.
The A.V. Club says the movie 'gives Singer and Kinberg a chance to indulge their taste for period references, be it a well-timed Ms. Pac-Man sound effect or a discussion of 'Return Of The Jedi' that lets the series take yet another kick at Brett Ratner's little-loved 'X-Men: The Last Stand,'' referring to the final film in the first trilogy of the franchise that most did not like.
In 'Days of Future Past,' audiences were blown away by how Singer showcased Quicksliver's incredible speed. Believe it or not, they topped it in 'Apocalypse.'
'For a second straight X-Men film, Singer provides him with a signature sequence that shows off the kid's super-speed with good humour and bravura craftsmanship,' wrote Screen Daily.
If there's one thing the current X-Men trilogy has done well, it's giving very layered performances in which you feel there are powerful stakes behind character decisions.
As the Village Voice puts it: 'Where other recent superhero films have struggled to jam-pack their unwieldy plots with characters and incident and meaning, this film nimbly mixes narrative exuberance and emotional depth, flamboyant displays of power with quietly terrifying exchanges.'
Having seen the movie myself, I should chime in that I enjoyed 'Apocalypse' more than most of the X-Men movies. Yes, Isaac looks like a complete joke as Apocalypse and Olivia Munn, known for her gift to rattle off dialogue in a sarcastic manner, plays a character with zero charisma.
However, McAvoy and Fassbender continue to be the glue that keeps this current trilogy of the X-Men franchise in-tact. They have completely bought into their characters and give some charged performances.
So if anything, you should see 'Apocalypse' for the sheer fact that after this movie the contracts on McAvoy, Fassbender, and Lawrence (though she was never great as Raven/Mystique) expire. That's not to say they won't decide to come back, but if they don't, this is the end of an impressive era in X-Men movie lore.
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