Superhero fatigue, that’s a word that’s been floating around the Internet as of late. Are people starting to get tired of superhero films? Maybe, maybe not. Superhero films have become a top priority for many studios, as these films tend to make the most money for their camp. However, the genre is starting to become redundant with superheroes constantly saving the world and using their powers. “Isn’t that what they’re supposed to do?” Yes and no. The X-Men are widely known for tackling social issues such as racism, sexism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, LGBT issues, etc. The movies weren’t shy to tackle those issues, especially in the last two recent X-films, X-Men: First Class & X-Men: Days of Future Past. Steering away from the generic “let’s save the world plot” and using that generic plot device to tackle social issues made the past two X-Men films great films. Unfortunately, X-Men: Apocalypse took a turn to the generic plot lane and ended up being a bloated film full of plot holes and continuity issues and seemingly unfinished visual effects. This problem further fuels the notion of superhero fatigue.
There is a particular line in the film in which Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) and friends just finished watching Return of the Jedi and she says “the third is always the worst”, referencing to the last films of most trilogies, but it’s obviously a direct blow to X-Men 3: Last Stand, which is unanimously the worst X-Men film ever made. Yet, this line certainly pertains to X-Men: Apocalypse as well, considering that this movie is the worst of the well-crafted “First Class” trilogy. The “First Class” trilogy focused on the social issue that the mutants face. The X-Men fight for peace and equality between normal humans and mutants in a world where anti-mutant bigotry is fierce and widespread. This film did not have any of that; instead it went through the generic plot of saving the world from a threatening mutant, whose actual motivations for world domination is not truly understood. Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) is a ridiculously powerful mutant that easily could have gotten two back-to-back movies. Unfortunately, they just turned him into a generic villain that had no correlation to the last two films. The writers of the film could have easily made this a two-part film considering the scope of Apocalypse’s powers and motivations but this Apocalypse is seemingly a caricature of the scary Apocalypse that inhabits the world of the X-Men.
Another gripe I had with the film were the lackluster character development to our new characters. Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) did not get the development that her character should have gotten considering their utmost importance to the X-Men. It goes for Scott Summers (Ty Sheridan) and Storm (Alexandra Shipp) who are introduced but not really fully developed in favor of Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) possibly due to her star power. One thing that truly drove me mad that they introduced Jubilee (Lana Condor) who literally had no showcase of her powers or any character development and Psylocke (Olivia Munn) who was nothing but eye candy. These were two characters who I was excited to see have some character development but nothing but for the sake of being in the movie. However, Michael Fassbender’s portrayal of Magneto was stellar, arguably the only character aside from Professor X (James McAvoy) who got the character development treatment. Fassbender’s Magneto was tragic and you can’t help to root for the guy, who experiences nothing but tragedy in his life.
By no means X-Men: Apocalypse is a bad film. It is far superior to X-Men: The Last Stand and a few other Marvel films (looking at you, Thor: The Dark World!). It moves at a fast pace and was action packed throughout the film. The tension created is interesting but honestly could have been made in to two movies rather than just one. Apocalypse is a character that deserves to be fleshed out, considering the scope of his influence and true power. The film also balanced the prototypical comical moments we see in comic books while also blending with passionate drama. Keep a lookout for Quicksilver (Evan Peters) incredibly fun performance. His speedy ways definitely stole the show. Don’t expect a revolutionary X-Men film, you will be disappointed, but if you are looking for an action packed summer flick, you will enjoy it.