They say that history repeats itself and after watching X-men: Apocalypse, it looks like this franchise has suffered the same fate as its previous incarnation. Unfortunately a boring story, undeveloped characters plots and a startlingly shabby script turn what should have been a great close to the trilogy into a disappointing hobble to the finish line.
X-Men: Apocalypse picks up 10 years on from the historical events of Days of Future Past. After Apocalypse – the first mutant – is woken from his slumber, it falls on our intrepid group of heroes to thwart his plans for world domination.
Simply put, this film fails as a sum of all its parts rather than just one particular area. With all the promises made that he was going to right the wrongs of X3: The Last Stand, Bryan Singer looked like he was on course to wipe what was left of that monstrosity from our memory once and for all. It’s therefore both heartbreaking as well as surprising to see events unfold in the same manor that plagued the previous third instalment.
In honesty, it feels like Singer has bitten off a little more than he should thinking he could bridge the gap between the old and new. Although he tries hard to introduce the big bad of the X-Men universe, ultimately it just feels like it’s trying too hard to live up to something it just isn’t. With some questionable CGI at times and a storyboard of pointless scenes dotted around, this threequel just never really gets off the ground in the way Singers other attempts have done previously.
Even though there are issues with the direction, the screenplay isn’t without fault. As mentioned above, the central plot is quite frankly, boring. From the get go we know that 10 years has passed since the last instalment but for some reason, none of the characters have seemingly developed or aged at all! This immediately gives us no intended direction or reason to become immersed within the opening scenes, throwing us from one scene to the next rather than richly building upon a new story.
Adding to this, a lacklustre script does little to nothing for the characters either, ending up with protagonists that have no depth and antagonists that have no motive. When all is said and done however, the key element here that takes this from an average to a below average movie is the boggy, cliché ridden third act. Without spoilers, the final battle and eventual finale is without a doubt the final nail in the coffin which will leave audiences more frustrated than anything else.
Aside from the increasing array of both confusing and terrible accents, the cast reprise their roles as the heroes once more without much cause for concern. Fans who want to see the same band of heroes do their thing will most likely be amused – those that want to see a development to the story will unfortunately have to sit through 2 and a half hours of nothing new. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are clearly the central figures but without any development are found to be more side characters than integral to the plot. With a new brood taking on the action, Tye Sheridan is clearly the stand out but even then he really doesn’t get much of a share on the screen to be noteworthy.
Overall, X-men: Apocalypse is an underwhelming and frustrating way to end a great trilogy. If you manage to enjoy the first and second act, the third will undoubtedly knock the wind out of your sails. With an eye watering script, unmotivated screenplay and underdeveloped characters, it looks like the X-Men might need to shake things up a bit before heading back to the big screen 2 out of 5 stars.