ReelBob: ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’
By Bob Bloom
“X-Men: Apocalypse” plays like a TV summer rerun.
Granted, the movie is a sequel — with characters we have seen many times before.
But that is not what generates the uneasy vibe of déjà vu that envelops as the action unfolds on-screen.
It is much more than that: Situations, character conflicts and lines of dialogue seem to be repeated — and reiterated, again — from previous “X-Men” movies.
You have Erik Lensherr aka Magneto (Michael Fassbender) flip-flopping from good to bad to good again. You have Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) continually reminding that no matter how heinous are Erik’s actions, good still resides within him.
Plus, Xavier and Eric continue to debate about the worth of mankind — and whether or not humans will accept or shun mutants.
On and on it goes, as you look at your watch and wonder why they even bothered to make another X-Men movie.
It does not help that the film’s major villain — Apocalypse — wastes the talents of Oscar Isaacs, whose clichéd character is mostly a one-dimensional creation.
Isaacs’ En Sabar Nur is a very ancient mutant who, since the dawn of civilization, has been worshipped as a god. Over the centuries, he amassed the powers of many other mutants, thus gaining immortality and invincibility.
Buried alive within a giant pyramid in ancient Egypt, he is awakened in the early 1980s, and immediately becomes disillusioned with our modern age, believing it is weak and corrupt.
Apocalypse has one goal — to cleanse mankind and create a new world over which he will be absolute master.
To do so, though, he must recruit mutants, including, of course, the bitter Magneto, to help him.
Opposing him are Professor X, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and a young crop of inexperienced mutants, including Jean Grey (“Game of Throne’s” Sophie Turner), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Quicksilver (Evan Peters) and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee).
As in other “X-Men” films, these mutants complain about how humans view them with fear and suspicion.
It’s also the humans who pay the deadly toll when all these mutants begin battling, as monuments and buildings crumble under their titanic encounters.
The sequel, directed by series veteran Bryan Singer with a story credited to four writers, is bland and predictable. It lacks the impact and excitement of previous ventures.
“X-Men: Apocalypse” is like an overstuffed cinematic piñata, with characters and plotlines spewing every which way.
And, all though many of the pieces work well, the movie as a whole fails to coalesce into a single coherent entity.
Bloom is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. His reviews appear at ReelBob (reelbob.com) and The Film Yap (filmyap.com). He also reviews Blu-rays and DVDs. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @ReelBobBloom. Other reviews by Bloom can be found at Rottentomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.
2 stars out of 4
(PG-13), action and destructive violence, language, suggestive images