Empire Magazine rated X-Men: Apocalypse just two stars, but if I paid attention to all movie reviews, I’d never go and see any. But last night I utilised my Odeon Limitless pass to watch the latest installment in the X-Men franchise.
I’ve been fond of the X-Men movies since the first film was released in 2000. Heck, I even managed to get to work on one of the films (X-Men: The Last Stand) – but that’s pretty much universally acknowledged as being the worst out the whole series – old and new. I wholeheartedly agree (at least plot-wise – the VFX were, of course, phenomenal, but then again I’m biased). Sigh. But after Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman released X-Men First Class, the franchise was back to its good old self.
Apocalypse’s 144 minutes crams a lot in – just like Captain America: Civil War. We’re dealing with an ancient mutant, Magneto and his family, the introduction to Jean Grey (played by Game of Thrones Sansa Stark herself, Sophie Turner), Nightcrawler, Quicksilver and Cyclops. We’re seeing the first proper formation of Charles Xavier’s X-Men. It’s a big family drama that just happens to feature an extraordinarily large amount of digital visual effects. My former employers, MPC, are the lead facility on this film and they do a grand job. But be warned: some of the effects go a bit cartoony at times. Especially comical was Quicksilver’s rescue of the students after Apocalypse turns up to wreck havoc. But I did love the pizza eating pug.
And then there’s the ending. The CG VFX is cranked up to 11. At one point we’re treated to a game of punch tennis, with Apocalypse as the tennis ball. Very surreal, very silly, very cartoony, and quite frankly hilarious. But I actually liked it! It was different. Completely off the wall stuff. There was one plot point that didn’t make sense given the circumstances, and it’s perhaps a little too early to discuss it here because of spoilers, but I’m sure the filmmakers have a reasonable explanation prepared.
Yes, by all means X-Men: Apocalypse is not without its flaws, but at the same time it’s by no means bad. Just switch off one’s brain, enjoy the visuals, the explosions, the madness. It’s not a bad way of spending 144 minutes.