The storied X-Men franchise that started in 2000, receives its next film 16 years later that shakes up the status quo further after the events of Days Of Future Past.
Taking place 10 years after those events, an ancient mutant rises to find the strongest that live and cleanse the Earth of the weak.
With Director Bryan Singer returning for what may or may not be his final X-Film (him taking a brief hiatus between X2 and Days Of Future Past), Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters might finally be on the right track for the wild and wacky adventures we’ve been waiting for.
What Time Is This?
The hardest issue that the X-Men franchise is now dealing with is time (or continuity).
After the success of 2011’s X-Men: First Class, which introduced new series stalwarts James McAvoy (Professor X), Michael Fassbender (Magneto), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), Nicholas Hoult (Beast) and Rose Byrne (Moira MacTaggert), it quickly found itself travelling along a new timeline (with the mid-credits scene from its following film The Wolverine acknowledging this).
What this does is make it a little confusing as to where we are and what has happened.
While the film touches on the fact that we’re in 1983, by all accounts X-Men 1 through 3 now no longer exist.
This isn’t so much a bad thing, and in many ways Deadpool points out these films no longer happened, it’s still slightly puzzling to try to disconnect yourself from it.
Volume 2. of ??
A lot of it happens in this film.
With a shift in dynamics as to where the X-Men are now heading, we are served a whole lot of story on a platter.
And with a lot of story, you get a lot of time to consume it.
A slow-paced first act makes way for a slightly better second (saved by another AMAZING Quicksilver (Evan Peters) scene), with a third that concludes the story with explosive ferocity.
Stronger than the likes of X-Men: The Last Stand and the stand-alone Wolverine films, it finds itself the poorer sibling of Days Of Future Past and First Class.
That’s not to say it doesn’t have its moments, but it does find itself filling in plot where it may not be necessary.
WAIT…are they wearing costumes?!
THE LEATHER AGE IS OVER.
The costumes of the original trilogy may finally be getting stowed away.
Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) in all his boorish blue, adorns the screen in wonderful Egyptian-influenced garb that says “Hey…maybe the X-Men are a bit ridiculous, but that’s okay!”.
His power so massive, that he can influence his Four Horseman to wear outfits similar to his.
AND THIS IS GREAT.
Early trailers and images showcased that the Pyslocke (Olivia Munn) we would receive in this film was one straight from the comics. And as more and more was released, it looked like the X-Men Cinematic Universe was finally okay with the crazy costumes our merry mutants decide to wear in combat.
If you’re not familiar with X-Men ’92, this is a reference to the popular 90’s Animated Series based on the X-Men.
And boy was it awesome!
With a team that consisted of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Beast, Gambit, Rogue, Jubilee and Professor X, these mutants to this day still represent a standard for the delivery of the X-Men on-screen.
X-Men Apocalypse starts to move us towards this and it is exciting.
While I talked about the heavily convoluted timeline, that the conclusion of this film is a new destination for the X-Men is probably the best thing this franchise has had in a while.
And this is after the release of Deadpool!
On the one hand, I’m slightly disenchanted that the franchise finds itself still so unsure of itself after 9 films.
With the continued success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the X-Men Cinematic Universe should find itself at a point where it can now adapt and use these successes to revitalise itself. It picks up on the right ideas, and starts to find itself tip-toeing toward the hyperbolic world of comics on film, but still eases itself off when it’s about to cross the line.
Yet on the other, with some magical moments sprinkled throughout, and a fresh new cast who put the ‘boot’ in ‘reboot’, I find it exciting to see where this team of X-Men will end up.
Because they’re not students any more.
With a post-credits scene detailing where our merry mutants will head next, X-Men Apocalypse is a fine reboot to a franchise that looks to mutate itself into something great.