Mark ‘X’ for this X-Men

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The Horsemen of Apocalypse: Even with an amazing display of their mutant abilities, the four horsemen were unable to save this movie. (PHOTO: 20th Century Fox)

For his first two X-Men movie direction – First Class and Days of Future Past – director Bryan Singer managed to captivate audiences with excellent story lines and visually pleasing movies for the fans of this mutant sci-fi. But he seems to have lost his charm with the third installment, X-Men: Apocalypse.

The reason? For a superhero movie, you would expect one of two things. One, amazing spectacles of superhuman feats, in tandem with well-planned action scenes. Two, interesting characters with plausible backstories that let you understand and emote with the characters – regardless of them being heroes or villains.

Unfortunately, X-Men: Apocalypse is certainly lacking in the latter.

Apocalypse, the first mutant, has awoken after thousands of years to find that mutants are cowering in fear of humans. Believing that all mutants should be idolized as the next stage of evolution, he sets out to right the balance and to put mutants as leaders of civilization. To help him achieve his goals, Apocalypse recruits four powerful mutants he handpicks around the world and calls them the Horsemen of Apocalypse. Trying to stop him in his tracks and to fight for humanity’s survival are Charles Xavier and his team of X-Men.

Rushed story line

The plot line sounds promising but the first part of the movie introduced too many characters too fast that it became too messy and appeared rushed.

We are greeted by the familiar faces of James McAvoy as Professor Xavier, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique as well as new ones like Tye Sheridan playing Cyclops.

However fans of the X-Men (myself included) would feel short-changed when they realized that such iconic characters like Storm and Angel, played by Alexandra Shipp and Ben Hardy, entered the film in only a scene or two. It was too rushed for me to build any connection with the characters. Plus, their backstories didn’t explain why they were chosen.

The only impactful introduction would be the enigmatic Michael Fassbender, who reprise his role as Magneto.

Rage. Pain. Anguish. The roller coaster of emotions were portrayed with such polish by Michael Fassbender. Through his despair, you begin to understand his reasons for joining Apocalypse. But then again, it seems a little familiar. Will he or won’t he be the villain again?

Finally, we come to the Apocalypse himself. Oscar Isaac, of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, did not get to showcase his full acting abilities as Apocalypse. I feel like there was a lack in depth to his character but apart from his acting, it could also be due to the shortcomings of the screen writing.

To be fair, you cannot blame him when his getup looks more like a villain in Power Rangers rather than in X-Men. I feel like we didn’t get to see the full extent of Apocalypse’s prowess, with his awkward costume and cringe worthy make-up that looked too plastic and limp.

Great visuals

Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that X-Men: Apocalypse is a feast for the eyes. Superbly choreographed action scenes were aplenty throughout the movie. I am definitely awed by the visual spectacle on display and I recommend staying gripped to your seats for the battles.

Jean Grey’s developing psychic powers and Cyclop’s potent energy beams were highlights of the awesome powers on display in the final clash. The audience was rewarded with a no-holds-barred fight with different unique abilities being showcased and the aura of power is simply breath-taking.

X-Men:Apocalypse was good but not great. For first time viewers of the X-Men series, it will be a confusing start to the movie, getting introduced to many characters at such a rapid pace. The four horsemen were just disappointing and not up to par in terms of their enhanced abilities. They looked like they were weaker than the heroes.

Overall, the beautifully shot action scenes could not overcome weak backstories and the messy story line in the beginning of the movie. Furthermore, the movie did not manage to muster a comeback and overcome the bad start. I didn’t feel the same sense of cohesiveness I felt from the previous films when watching this all-star cast. However, if you’d like to satisfy your inner comic fanboy, then you should definitely watch the movie.

Rating: 6/10