The third installment of the prequel series that retconned the original trilogy, X-Men: Apocalypse ups the ante on visuals, characters, plots, and everything really. What should have been bogged by heavy CGI introduced a unique technical charm instead, escalating a perverse comic book appeal. And what should have been too many characters with too little screen time actually worked in our favor because it showed only what we really wanted to see anyways. Was Jubilee useless in the movie? Absolutely. Did we expect anything different? Not at all.
Strangely enough, Apocalypse created a sense of nostalgia despite the few changes and that was enough to forgive some of the more bombastic scenes. Because First Class ignored the old characters we have come to love from the first trilogy, having a story that revolves around these characters makes us feel right at home. And when we take these larger than life characters and rightfully present them as such, it feels like a comic book movie we’ve almost missed out on.
There were wonderful performances from each member, but Michael Fassbender (who plays Magneto) and James McAvoy (Professor Xavier) both get chances to really showcase their range of fear, sadness, and pity-- emotions that have been escalating since First Class. Even the anxiety of new faces taking the roles of familiar characters was snuffed almost instantly with each performance. Again, what we see here may be just the basis of the characters, but it’s just enough origin, emotion, and an awesome showcase of abilities to tickle our heartstrings. No need for another angst-filled, gritty movie with fulsome depth.
Despite the few times the film seemed to run too long, the absence of non-mutant characters (save for one), really powered (for lack of a better word) the film along, because it only revolved around characters we care about (save for one). It gives us the rawness and pain of mutant identity, and didn't shy from body horror and blood (it works here, it doesn't work in a Fantastic Four movie. Here's looking at you, Trank). While the film did ride along the darker end of comic book movies, Apocalypse wasn't afraid of breaking away from that to give us yet another awesome Quicksilver scene.
It did lack more refined battles between mutants (and had a far-fetched time jump. I mean, they all look amazing for what’s supposed to be ten years after Days of Future Past), but most importantly Apocalypse takes everything we love from the various X-Men films (even the ones we choose to forget) and shoves it in our faces for an inarguable dose of appreciated fan-service. Perhaps this film isn’t for the average movie goer, but for X-Men fans, it’s highly entertaining.
And of course with blaring modern aesthetics, over-stimulating sleek CGI, and sweet yet nostalgic costume designs, X-Men: Apocalypse is definitely one of the sexiest comic book movies out there.