Great ensemble cast
Great character moments
Villain is underwhelming
Continuity problems continue to plague the franchise
For the most part I’ve enjoyed the X-Men film franchise. The original 2000 Bryan Singer film was a surprise to me in how well the comic book characters translated onto the big screen in his adaptation of the material. While they haven’t all been as strong, I’ve found each entry to be pretty enjoyable. (Even 2006’s The Last Stand – so there.)
It has been clear for some time though, that continuity was not a big priority for the series. Once you accept that as a viewer, you can have a pretty good time. That’s the case here. While the previous installment Days of Future Past made an attempt to imply cohesion through some time travel, the reality is it’s pretty hard to make the first installments mesh with the later ones. X-Men Apocalypse, fits pretty well with the current “trilogy” but makes your head spin if you try to reconcile it with the first “trilogy.”
That said, there is some mutanty (new word alert) excesses going on in this movie. Apocalypse, rumored to be the worlds first mutant has amassed multiple abilities and gained near immortality by transferring himself over generations from one mutant to the next. His goal, a modest one, is total domination of mutants and the eradication of the normal populace. Awakening after centuries, his single minded goal is to return to his work. So, he’s a pretty bad guy and he recruits some other pretty bad guys (and some not so bad ones) to help him in his quest.
There’s plenty of requisite mutant power on display. The final climax has about as much mutant generated destruction as we’ve seen since The Last Stand. It’s all good fun.
The real draw for this movie though is the generous character moments in it. There are good moments for many favorites and the relationships between characters results in some good emotional resonance for a movie of this kind. I’ve often though that the thing that worked best about the X-men franchise, was the character development and the more a film developed those characters, the better. Apocalypse is about the characters and it finalizes the back story that informed the original X-Men movie from 16 years ago, continuity problems notwithstanding.