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X Men Apocalypse review: Loud on effects, low on plot

This special effects-driven film might leave you a tad tired

Archita Kashyap 19 May 2016, 8:41 PM
T2 Review
Whatever mankind has created, will it really fall?

Whatever mankind has created, will it really fall?

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Olivia Munn, Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters, Rose Byrne

Directed by: Bryan Singer

Distributed by: Fox Star Studios, India

You will like this if you liked: Captain America - Civil War, the Avengers Movies, the X Men Movies

What I would pay for it: Rs 400 out of Rs 500

This reviewer is a big fan of Bryan Singer, film writer and director extraordinaire who brought to life The Usual Suspects and the X Men franchise. In the hyper battle of super franchise competing in clang, clatter, clamour and mega tons of dust to show global destruction and subsequent rescue, the X Men films have so far meandered ahead with a solid script, interlaced parallel stories and loads of fun.

Disappointingly, this one wins the destruction race with little plot and exhausting progress. You begin to first feel tired when the film jumps a decade as it opens; and nothing much has changed in the life of the first class of mutants.

Professor (James McAvoy) runs his school but hasn’t begun developing the X Men. Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is doing well as vigilante rescuer of mutants even as her President-saving act from the last film has made her a global inspiration to mutant outcasts. They all saw it on TV. As for Magneto, (Micheal Fassbender), he now lives a hidden life as a metals worker in an iron foundry in Poland. Concealed from the law, he has a wife and family. Of course, he loses them.

Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) in this film is a uber-mutant, who traces his birth to Egyptian antiquity. Rising after a millennium, for no apparent reason, he decides to destroy everything and everyone, including superpowers and people. Grotesque, plaster cast in prosthetics and imposing, but not intimidating, Apocalypse begins with earning mutant followers whom he brainwashes — Psylocke, Storm and Magneto.

Then he kidnaps the Professor to send out messages to all human beings together. Mystique and the First Class decide to rescue Charles. This triggers a series of building downing, street stripping and metal churning. A megapolis is destroyed but its impact is hardly established in human perspective.

This is not to say the film doesn’t have its moments. Conversations between Magneto and the Professor always engage and become subtly entertaining. Interactions of the X Men with each other while their powers are still being discovered, like those between a young Jean Grey and a young Scott aka Cyclops bring back the slick, engaging narrative of X Men First Class. There’s a money shot of Jean Grey walking on thin air.

Little room is left for emotion or dialogue though; so Psylocke (Olivia Munn) or a young storm (Alexandra Shipp) rarely evolve beyond quick fire fights and action sequences.

The best part of this X Men franchise is the evolution of Quicksilver (Evan Peters) with a touch of surprise and deadpan cool inherent to his superspeed powers.

In a special effects-driven, super expensive franchise film like this one, the emergence of Apocalypse in the Egypt of antiquity between mummies and tombs is handled tackily. It almost makes you long for the Mummy movies.

So far, Singer and his team have made the X Men films stand out with rock solid writing and convincing stories. This space of scaling up destruction isn’t quite the best fit for the blessed X Men.

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