Thursday, May 19, 2016


Despite a deep love and affection for the source material, the characters, the filmmakers and the franchise, I could not overcome the bloated film I was presented with, which despite preserving some key elements that constantly make these stories emotionally powerful, can't come together in making any kind of organic film, which messes up one of the most fascinating characters in comic book history.

Right from the opening scene, introducing Apocalypse, you will get what I am talking about. I was immediately turned off. The X-Men have always been a very grounded saga, with emphasis on character, yet what this scene presents us is a tonal shift of unbalanced proportions. The CGI extravaganza is all over the place, the suspense of disbelief the films ask us is way too demanding to have any kind of attachment to the narrative.

These are problems that carry through the whole film. Firstly, on a technical level I have to say that this level of CGI is almost unacceptable from a major blockbuster film. The green screen effects are embarrassing throughout the whole duration and keep distracting you every time characters appear in front of it. The composition overall is terribly distinguishable and the combination between practical and CGI is all but seamless. Moreover the wide shots of CGI landscapes all look way too unconvincing. I don't know what it is, the suspension of disbelief, the rendering itself, the way it is used, it simply didn't add up.

On top of that, we have a really bloated storyline where character motivations are frustratingly confusing and it all originates from the sadly underwhelming villain at the center of it. Look, I will not hide the fact that I have been a comic book reader all my life and of course when I go to see these movies there is a nostalgic and excited part of me, but that part comes in only after you give me a good film, if at the core of it you don't have one, my knowledge and nostalgia will rarely fill the gaps. Moreover, screwing up such an iconic character adds to the disappointment. Apocalypse is one of the best characters ever committed to the comic book page, what we have here, other than the fact that in the first place doesn't resemble anything close to his printed counter part, is a villain so bad it makes me angry. He has no depth, no motivation, no menace and worst of all he is all powerful! The mistake of having a villain that seems to be able to do anything is really annoying, it takes away any kind of grit or personality. Not to mention how terrible he looks.

I have to say I really liked the casting of the renewed characters, they were almost all inspired choices that delivered. Tye Sheridan and Sophie Turner were big highlights of the film. That is also probably due to the fact that the characters they are playing, alongside all of their fellow actors, are incredibly layered to the point that they could be considered mythological. Their struggle and inner dynamic is so strong, complex and emotionally powerful it is really hard to alienate an audience with them. These filmmakers know and have demonstrated in the past how thrilling and touching these stories can get, how much this tale on diversity, peace, love vs hate, self loathing (the list goes on and on) opens up the possibility of commentary and discussion. They demonstrate they know all of this in the film which sporadically offers genuine moments of this, only to be taken down by the plot that moves too many elements around and screws up the flow of the film.

Bryan Singer has had his first failure in this saga and whilst it isn't a disaster by any stretch of the imagination, it just reminds you of how good X-Men, X2, Days of Future Past and to an extent First Class and (for me) Last Stand are.

James's Score: 5.5/10

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