You may be seeing a lot of mixed reviews for X-Men: Apocalypse this weekend, but if you’re a fan of the comics books the ninth movie in the franchise is actually the best. Fans of the legendary Claremont and Byrne runs on the X-titles will walk away from this movie with a huge smile on their faces. Those who like dark and gritty superhero movies “grounded in reality” are probably best served watching one of the Nolan Batman movies instead.
X-Men: Days of Future Past was a good step towards embracing the comics better in Fox’s superhero franchise. Where they tested the waters with that movie, they did a cannonball into the comic book deep end with Deadpool and Apocalypse embraces the source material in a similar way for the more PG-13 X-Men. There are costumes and imagery in this movie that one almost never expected to see after the “yellow spandex” line in Singer’s first X-Men film.
Set exactly ten years after the 1973 events in Days of Future Past, the X-Men now live in a world where mutants are a known factor. Right there it starts to feel a lot more like the comics than any previous X-Men movie. We do see Apocalypse in 3600 BC and they really don’t try to ground his powers in reality. He’s just super powerful and can do a lot of crazy stuff like taking over the bodies of other mutants (which is actually what his evil plan is in the movie – he wants Professor X’s body and power), and that right there is very comic-booky.
I don’t get the complaints about the younger Scott, Jean, and Ororo. All three are great and I really want to see more X-Men movies with them (as well as the First Class cast). People knocked Sophie Turner in some reviews, but she’s actually a really great Jean. She’s much better than Olivia Munn as Pyslocke (who thankfully only has a couple lines of dialog, each of which is painful). I also think the new, younger, Nightcrawler is great as they got his character right here. Jubliee is pretty wasted as we don’t see her useless powers (at least she isn’t a vampire), and Arch Angel fans will be very pissed off over how he’s treated in the end.
Quicksilver again has a show-stopper scene, which is the Mansion explosion, and Mystique is finally (in the end) given her costume. Throughout the movie you can tell they really tried to avoid the full-body Mystique make-up as much as they could, so hopefully by giving her a costume that doesn’t require all of that time it’ll help lure Lawrence back for more.
Honestly, I don’t have much issue with the Apocalypse costume. I get the Power Ranger jokes, but on the big screen it really doesn’t look that bad and the make-up helps a lot. Apocalypse is the first villain in any X-Men movie who really felt like a genuine comic-book threat, and it’s a shame how they resolved him in the movie. But we will be seeing Mr. Sinister and other big bads on the way, so it’s not a total loss.
Despite my minor complaints with the movie, I really loved the whole thing. Everyone knows Wolverine has a cameo, and it’s one of the biggest geek-out cameos in any superhero movie. The Weapon X reveal is the Spider-Man in Civil War moment in this movie. He steps out and the camera pans up, revealing the very familiar Weapon X belt with those devices connected to…the helmet! He actually is wearing the full Weapon X gear (it’s missing the visor so you can see Hugh Jackman’s eyes). He even has the Weapon X hair! And Weapon X in action is surprisingly violent and bloody…it’s a miracle they hit PG-13 with this.
In the end, with Professor X bald and the X-Men wearing their 90s costumes (I LOVE Cyclops, as that’s my favorite Cyclops costume) in the Danger Room you just can’t wait for the next movie. We finally, after fifteen years, get the comic-book X-Men on the screen. Ignore the people crying about this movie or comparing it to Amazing Spider-Man 2. This is the closest we’ve ever had to the comic-book X-Men being accurately translated to the big screen, and it’s my absolute favorite X-Men movie because of that.