X-Men: Age of Apocalypse
The X-Men franchise, despite having some notable low-points, has always been solid value for money. While perhaps not reaching the dizzying heights of the mainstream Marvel films, the breadth of characters, and their re-imagining as the “First Class” crew, has kept the franchise fresh and interesting. Sadly, however, they appear to have hit something of a creative cul-de-sac. Director Brian Singer, mastermind of the original X-Men films, seems content to play around with similar ideas and themes without ever really widening the remit. On the surface, the introduction of Apocalypse – an ancient mutant with a God-complex – would seem to provide a canvas with which to expand the mutant world in fresh directions. Unfortunately, Apocalypse himself is just a bit crap, spending most of his time recruiting random mutant minions (Magneto, Storm, Angel and Psylocke – all without relatable back-stories) and then standing around moodily warning of cataclysmic events, brought about by his frustratingly undefined powers.
It’s certainly not a bad film, and there are moments of genuine brilliance. It’s just that there is nothing new. The standout feature of 2014’s ‘Days of Future Past’ was the scene with Quicksilver, an imaginative and humorous portrayal of his lightning fast speed; ‘Apocalypse’ seems content to essentially play the same card again. Considering the length of the film, it really is shocking how little character development there is; Magneto is still conflicted and Xavier still believes the best in him – regardless of how many people he has murdered. ‘Apocalypse’ should have served to expand the X-Men world, but instead it feels more like a dead-end which will take some clever creativity to break out of, especially if the franchise is to continue seeing the success it has so far.