X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
I'm in the "business" of movie review - of course, that's an exaggeration considering I do this as a hobby. There's a good reason I point this out right here - tonight's movie is one that you would normally for sure expect outrage and horror over. Why's that? Well, it's a non-Marvel comic movie of course! Let's see if it can get me all hot and bothered, or if it's another case of people overreacting and making a big deal of nothing.
Let me put this up front - I stopped watching the X-Men movies after the third. By that point, I kind of just lost interest, and honestly the second and third where "oh, well, it's on television so I might as well" kind of movies. As such, there's a considerable deal of proverbial missing plot thread that I could experience in watching this movie - I mean, two full other movies came before this thing! Surprisingly, however, I didn't find myself all that lost. Yeah, it picks up (I assume) where the other's left off, but it also doesn't feel as though it's a jarring thing where all of a sudden I need to know all these character's who I don't. In fact, this might even have worked in my favor when suddenly I recognized a character a couple scenes in to their performance in an "Aha!" moment. That being said, the basic "mutants have special powers" setup really doesn't merit much explanation, and most the movie's early expository phase is spent setting up it's villain back when he was a big deal in ancient Egypt.
From there, it really just boils down to the main plot being a save the world from the baddie who wants to recreate it to their liking run of the mill story. There is some nice side moments to this thing though, allowing for some character displays like the Magneto roll. If anything, the one thing I'd really want to complain about beyond the central plot being somewhat "done that before" (I mean, I've seen hundreds if not thousands of movies at this point. I may not be able to remember them all, but I know I've seen a whole lot of 'ancient Egyptian not-god decides to rule the planet before) is that somehow we once again revisit the whole Weapon-X wolverine thing. Again! I mean, yeah, I love me some Hugh Jackman Wolverine, but we covered that in the original trilogy (I feel like a few times actually) and the self-titled Wolverine. At six movies in it's about time to stop re-hashing parts of movies, even if they are cool or fun.
The actors feel like they are doing a good job. I say feel like, because there are some of them that really feel less acted, but I feel like it's supposed to be that way. Granted, there's at least one person that feels like maybe they could have done a better performance, but at the same time there's quite a few good jobs to see here - Charles and Magneto being two of the prime ones to watch. The acting is handy, as it does lend to some of the more emotional moments floating around in there to counteract the few moments that attempt to be emotional and fall kinda flat.
Thankfully, the pacing doesn't really suffer all that much from the larger number of threads between characters and the mix of slower "recruiting" parts and other antics. The soundtrack has a few little knock-outs, although largely does it's job as background music and ramping to get you excited about whats on the screen. I had a few issues with some of the characters talking in more quiet tones, finding them harder to hear than I would have liked and in turn may have actually missed a few lines. I'm not positive if this is a balancing issue or just me and my natural slow degrade into being hard of hearing from years of movies and music listening at too loud a volume. My guess is more the latter, but with a splash of the former.
Costumes are what I like to see in a movie like this. Yeah, you'll get the "normal" attire - which is still something that a person picked out for a character, and should be commended for it being a job well done despite my normal lack-luster response to seeing everyday normal outfits - but you also get some extra stuff, because mutants! Wings, tails, blue people, combat attire and fancy haircuts all make appearances. Of particular note, I enjoy the very punk-rock style haircut of character Storm, as well as Kurt's slightly more fuzzy looking blue demon self. Some people will complain about how apocalypse looks - I'd argue that it looks well enough. leaving the actor enough facial retention to express himself in the very few moments that character feels like he's actually expressing anything. I'd also like to mention that I love the Horseman outfits, even the metal wings.
I should mention that the transforming to metal wings scene is a kicker, as well as most the special effects work. Whereas said wings scene looks absolutely brutal and painful, most the rest of the time things just look as swell as can be. Be it the shape shifting effect, super-fast healing, or even people being melded into objects it all looks really good. Probably more impressive than those is the large slow-mo scene in the mansion, which takes the time to be a little light-hearted and fit in some jokes in a moment where the situation is actually pretty sad. Still, there are a few holes in some of those fancy effects scenes as well - a dude whose power is basically being a super-awesome magnet somehow managing to lift things that aren't metal being one of them, regardless of how cool it looks.
In the long run, it's a fun enough movie. It's got some action, its got some fun effects, and it has some moments of good acting too boot. It's also got some scenes that feel a bit unnecessary, and a few that also don't make much sense - no movie tends to be without something wrong with it after all. Now, I have to mention again, because some people can't quite grasp this concept - this is just the movie as a movie. As an adaptation it's a totally different beast, and I honestly don't care to get into that stuff because I'm not some kind of X-Men connoisseur and everybody starts having radically different opinions when you get to that branch (I think Apocalypse looks cooler here than he ever did elsewhere for example). Plenty of characters are different from what they would be in the comic, and overall all these movies are pretty well off-the-rails when it comes to thinking of them as an adaptation, so if you can manage to set aside your heavy-handed fandom you may be able to enjoy the movie, otherwise you'll probably hate it just as much or little as you did every other X-Men movie in the batch that you assuredly have already watched because your obligated as a fan to watch them and can't help yourself. Just keep telling yourself - it's only a movie.