Despite downfalls, X-Men: Apocalypse still worth seeing

Meghan Schuyler

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Despite being directed by the same director as its predecessors, X-Men: Apocalypse, released May 27, is receiving negative reviews from critics. One common critique of the film directed by Brian Singer is its confusing aspects, and inconsistency with previous movies – something the series has struggled with throughout its progression.

Taking place in the 80’s, and therefore following X-Men: First Class chronologically, X-Men Apocalypse follows a cyber-mutant who awakes from centuries of slumber. Known as Apocalypse, he assembles a team of four mutants, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and attempts to erase humanity from the face of the Earth in order to start a mutant world anew.

However, he is not allowed to progress in this mission without facing off against the team of mutants under Charles Xavier, known as the X-Men, who are attempting to save the world.

As aforementioned, critics are calling the movie confusing, and I would have to agree, based partially on the combination of recasted characters and characters native to the past movies which aids in its confounding aspect. While several main characters, such as Jean Grey and Storm, were recast after being portrayed by the same actors in all previous movies, other characters, such as Professor X and Magneto, stuck to the same actors.

 

 

Additionally, due to the time travel present in the last two movies of the franchise, there are several conflicting time lines that do not quite add up and leave watchers confused and unable to tell what has really happened and what has not.

Another major critique of the movie is that it is both drawn-out and cliche. Although it may have an excessive amount of exposition before leading up to the main event, I believe that the expository phase is important in establishing the basis for the remainder of the movie.

Additionally, despite the fact that it follows essentially the same basic plot structure of a majority of superhero movies – the fate of the world is threatened, and it is up to them to save it – this did not detract from my enjoyment of the movie.

Although the previous X-Men movies may have taken more creative routes regarding their plots, more focused on the relationships between humans and mutants than the typical humanity-is-threatened-and-heroes-save-it plot, perhaps this plot structure is followed so many times for a reason.

Cliches are cliches because people enjoy them and have no problem seeing them over and over again, which is why I would disagree that this plot was “lazy” or “a step back for the series” as critics are calling it.

 

In spite of its negative aspects, the movie had several redeeming qualities, and has thus scored itself a spot as one of my favorite films of the series.

 

While I would agree that the movie was somewhat confusing due to the time period in which it is set, the preceding time travel and the new bunch of actors, I do not believe that it was particularly cliche or dragged out.

One of my favorite aspects of the movie is Magneto’s ongoing battle with moral correctness. When the world keeps taking from him, he finds it hard not to fight against it, despite the good that does seem to still exist within him. He struggles with this most when he is approached by Apocalypse and bribed into becoming one of his Four Horsemen.

Actor Michael Fassbender, who plays Magneto, said in an interview with Collider:

“And this again is something totally new, so it allows me to see different sides of him and the hopefully audience will get to see different parts of his history and tendencies originate and are born.”

The complexities of Magneto’s character are certainly further explored in X-Men: Apocalypse, and establish the basis for the Magneto we know later in the series.

One aspect that detracted from my enjoyment however, but could not be helped, were the spoilers that were present simply by having the movie set much earlier in the series. Due to this aspect, watchers are essentially able to discern who dies and who does not, as well as the fate of Apocalypse, based on what happens in the movies that occur after this one chronologically.

There is no doubt that X-Men: Apocalypse had its fair share of downfalls, however the movie proved to be entertaining and emotionally intriguing nevertheless. The several sub-plots proved interesting, and helped establish a base for some of the characters’ backgrounds, and the various moral struggles suffered by several characters added some food for thought to the film.

In spite of its negative aspects, the movie had several redeeming qualities, and has thus scored itself a spot as one of my favorite films of the series.

 

 

Background Image Credit: 20th Century Fox

 

What do you think?