The ninth instalment in the X-Men film series, following on from 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, and again directed by Bryan Singer, X-Men: Apocalypse is set in 1983 when the first and most powerful mutant, En Sabah Nur a.k.a. Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), awakens after thousands of years. Amassed with the powers of many other mutants, which has enabled him to become both immortal and invincible, Apocalypse plans to wipe out modern civilisation and take over the world, and recruits a team of powerful mutants – including a disheartened Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Angel (Ben Hardy), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), and Psylocke (Olivia Munn) – to help him cleanse mankind and create a new world order, over which he will reign. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Professor X (James McAvoy), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Beast (Nicholas Hoult), and Quicksilver (Evan Peters), return to lead a team of young X-Men – including Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) – to stop their greatest nemesis and save mankind from complete destruction.
X-Men: Apocalypse is the perfect example of both the good and the bad sides of superhero fantasy films. With engaging characters and a talented cast, brilliant action sequences and a huge dose of comedy and entertainment, Apocalypse is let down by a clichéd and underdeveloped villain.
Despite the always impressive Oscar Isaac being the face of Apocalypse, it was – not necessarily his performance – but his character that let this instalment flop, losing the spark that this prequel trilogy brought to the ever-expanding franchise. His scenes often felt awkward, fake, and even cringy at times, not giving the threat of any real danger at the end of the world, making this feel more like a Fantastic Four sequel than a Marvel triumph.
But the instalment almost makes up for these scenes with the new, younger cast of Turner, Sheridan, and McPhee joining the team, adding to an already phenomenal talent of actors. The cast really do stand out in this franchise. Hardy, Shipp, and Munn are excellent, too, but the instalment really could have benefited from seeing more from them.
But, yet again, it is Quicksilver that steals the show. His scenes were equally skilful and hilarious, and it’s because of heroes like him that will maintain our love for the X-Men despite their occasional flaws.