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X-MEN: APOCALYPSE

If you grew up in the 80s and were into comic books (specifically, DC comics), you
might recall an epochal event in the DC multiverse dubbed “Crisis on infinite
earths”. I chanced upon this event when I purchased my first ever DC comic book,
the Green Lantern, in 1985. That particular edition saw the Monitor commence
his task of gathering super heroes across the DC multiverse for a showdown with
the Anti-Monitor. Seeing X-Men: Apocalypse (the 9th installment and the 3rd
prequel in the X-men Franchise) pretty much evoked in me nostalgic feelings from
three decades back.

The storyline sees En Sabah Nur (reputed to be the first ever mutant) being
prepped in ancient Egypt (in another fiction-within-fiction move and following in
the steps of 2014’s Exodus: Gods and Kings and 2016’s Gods of Egypt, this is the
3rd back-to-back Hollywood movie in which ancient Egyptians are portrayed as
what has been contended to be historically-inaccurate; Caucasian, but I digress)
to transfer his essence into another body in continuance of his immortality. An
attempt to kill him midway into the transfer is foiled by his acolytes, the Four
Horsemen, but he is left entombed in the ruins of a pyramid. As with all things
ancient and entombed, modern day curiosity in the form of Rose Byrne’s CIA
agent, Moira McTaggert, is bound to awaken it.

Finally awakened; the mutant formerly known as En Sabah Nur (now known as
Aplocalypse and bearing a striking resemblance albeit of a bluish hue to the
Monitor in the aforementioned Crisis on infinite earths) embarks on a mutants-
have-got-talent global hunt to assemble a fresh quartet of four horsemen in
furtherance of his quest to destroy and rebuild earth which, ironically, he
bemoans as having been destroyed by man whilst he was entombed.

Arguably, the X-men Franchise started this century’s current cinematic obsession
with super hero movies with the release of X-men in 2000. After a trilogy of
sequels (2000’s X-Men, 2003’s X2: X-men United and 2006’s X-Men: The Last
Stand) & prequels (2011’s X-Men: First Class, 2013’s X-Men: Days of Future Past
and 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse) and spin-off movies (2009’s X-Men Origins:
Wolverine, 2013’s The Wolverine and 2016’s Deadpool), with this latest
installment, they seem to have lost direction on what to do with the franchise
having explored prequels, sequels and spin-offs.

In terms of storyline, X-Men: Apocalypse doesn’t do much to advance or revamp


the franchise. There was no great revelation or engaging storyline to make you
want more. The release of Hugh Jackman’s pre-Wolverine Logan from his
confinement in Stryker’s Weapon X facility was more obligatory cameo than great
revelation. Apocalypse’s beef was, at best, cryptic and remained unexplained
throughout the movie. The failure to even address the collateral damage that
must have attended Apoclaypse’s attempt to lay the earth to waste just betrays
the lack of inspiration behind this installment.

Whilst the movie boasts an ensemble cast, there really wasn’t much in terms of
standout performances to rave about. Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy
seemed to struggle to wring out convincing performances whilst handicapped by
a basic and uninspired script. Jennifer Lawrence came across more as Katniss
Everdeen from the Hunger Games dressed in blue skin suit than the sultry and
dangerous Mystique we were introduced to in the preceding sequels by Rebecca
Romijn-Stamos. Nicholas Hoult’s beast seemed tamed with very little to do in this
installment whilst Kodi Smit-Mcphee’s Nightcrawler seemed rather too scrawny
to be the grown-up version we were introduced to by Alan Cumming in 2003’s X2:
X-Men United. Evan Peter’s Peter Maximoff/Quicksilver’s (last seen felled by a
hail of bullets in last year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. What? You didn’t see that
coming?) reprisal of the freeze/fast slow-mo’ rescue scene in Days of Future Past
whilst mildly entertaining, did not quite capture its unique effect.

The only saving grace, perhaps, was Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey/Phoenix. Now, I
am not so sure if this was solely on the strength of her performance in Apocalypse
or my conflating it with her impressive turn around as Sansa Stark in the current
season of Game of Thrones coming into her own and gearing up to kick some
major Ramsay Bolton ass!
On its own, Apocalypse is a mildly entertaining movie but as part of a franchise;

It is an unimpressive installment. A post-credit clip at the end of the movie hints


at another future installment in the franchise but this might be a good time to add
an “E” to the “X” in X-Men and put this franchise out to pasture finally. It has had
a good run with X-Men: First Class being my best of all the installments. To do
otherwise just might spell doom for the franchise much the same way the quest
for immortality did for Apocalypse in this installment.