Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peter Maximoff/Quicksilver (Evan Peters) in X-Men: Apocalypse
I review movies, but I don’t consider myself a “critic.” Part of the reason is that I don’t agree with critics a lot of the time. Critics were downright savage with X-Men: The Last Stand. Not only was that film my favorite entry of the first X-Men trilogy, it was one of my favorite comic book movies of all time. For the record, Batman Returns is my favorite comic book movie of all time. How Michelle Pfeiffer didn’t get an Oscar nomination for her Catwoman portrayal is beyond me.
With a spoiled 49-percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the third entry in the second X-Men trilogy, X-Men: Apocalypse, is getting the same savage critical treatment as The Last Stand. The BBC calls it, “the worst X-Men film yet” while the Wall Street Journal’s headline reads, “Mutants in a Muddle.” And, again, I disagree. Like The Last Stand, Apocalypse is my favorite entry of its trilogy.
All of the fan favorites get their moment in the mutant sun. We are given additional back story as to why Magneto (Michael Fassbender) becomes the villain he will later become. More layers are added as to why Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) allies herself with Magneto in the future. Professor X (James McAvoy) is given a love interest with the return of CIA agent Moira Mactaggert (Rose Byrne). Scene-stealer Evan Peters (Quicksilver) is the center of the funniest scene of the film which is set to the Eurythmics’ song, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).”
New characters, at least new to the second trilogy, also have their chances to shine. Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), Angel (Ben Hardy) and Storm (Alexandra Shipp) are all re-introduced to the X-Men cinematic universe. Smit-McPhee is outstanding as Nightcrawler, as is Shipp as Storm. The seeds are also sown for the future romance between Cyclops and Jean Grey. Oscar Isaac lends a certain gravitas to his role as this film’s big bad Apocalypse. I don’t want to totally spoil it, but back again is one of the, if not the, biggest X-Men character of them all.
There are a lot of films out there that are overly long. How many times have you left the theater thinking, “they could have cut a half hour of that movie, and it wouldn’t have been missed?” At a lengthy 144 minutes, there would have been some parts that could have been shortened, but for the most part, the story is taut. Not once did I want to see what time it was, so that’s always a good sign for me. It all boils down to fun. Sometimes, I think critics are overly critical just because they can be. For me, I had fun, and isn’t that what you want from a big budget superhero movie?
P.S. Just in case you have never seen a comic book movie, there is the obligatory scene after the end credits setting up the next film. Fans of the X-Men universe will be satisfied.
Twentieth Century Fox
In theaters May 27
Films are rated on a scale of 5 stars (must-see), 4 stars (exceptional), 3 stars (solid), 2 stars (average) and 1 star (unworthy).