Michael Fassbender Magneto

X-Men: Apocalypse was finally released in U.S. theaters for Memorial Day weekend after having premiered in places like the United Kingdom on May 9. The wait, overall, is worth it, but that is in large part due to Michael Fassbender’s performance as Magneto. The movie drags a bit at 144 minutes, but luckily Charles Xavier’s mutants are saved by the emotional weight Fassbender brings to the character Erik Lehnsherr.

Bryan Singer’s latest installment in the X-Men franchise (a tough act to follow after X-Men: Days of Future Past) breaks down as follows:

  • En Sabah Nur (played by Oscar Isaac) is allegedly the first mutant. Although he has god-like powers, a series of events leaves him in a state of suspended animation in a buried Egyptian temple.
  • En Sabah Nur is revived in the 1980s and becomes the “Apocalypse” X-Men fans are all familiar with. He begins his quest to gather “Four Horsemen,” wipe the earth clean, and begin anew with himself at the center of the universe.
  • Professor-X (played by James McAvoy) is captured by Apocalypse and his crew. The young X-Men must now save him — and the world.

X-Men: Apocalypse, in many ways like its predecessor, explores the idea of painful pasts and whether or not individuals choose to be defined by those experiences or rise above them. Mr. Singer wants everyone to know that they have greatness within them — a commendable message — but the script does not allow the supporting cast to truly shine.

Evan Peters as Quicksilver should probably be the linchpin of the next X-Men movie (i.e., it’s time for him to confront his father), and Sophie Turner shows real promise as Jean Grey, but the movie lacked a spark from the one person it was heavily invested in: Jennifer Lawrence.

XMen Jean Scott Nightcrawler

Ms. Lawrence’s role as Mystique felt flat for three reasons:

  • She simply looked bored. Her performance screamed, “at least I’m getting a paycheck.”
  •  The script shoved a slew of Katniss Everdeen-like platitudes into her mouth while shorting her on scenes that would have formed an instant connection with the audience. (Note: All husbands/fathers can related to Magneto after what happens to him in Poland.)
  • Can it be any more obvious that Ms. Lawrence didn’t want to sit in a makeup chair unless absolutely necessary, and that she was given her way because her name is Jennifer Lawrence? Anyone who plays Mystique should be blue for more than 5 percent of their screen time.

All things considered, however, X-Men: Apocalypse is still worth seeing for anyone enjoys the superhero genre. It is not as strong as X-Men: First Class or X-Men: Days of Future Past, but it is still does its job when all is said and done.

Finally, make sure to stay through the ending credits for a clue to the next film’s villain.

 

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

16 comments

  1. I wrote a review in a facebook movie group I’m in with some close friends. I’ll re-post it here. Apologies for some language, this was written for long time friends.

    Saw X-men: Apocalypse.
    SPOILERS…probably
    So, All IMO of course.
    It wasn’t as bad has the critics make it out to be. But it wasn’t jaw-dropping great either. As a movie, it ‘drags’ with some decent, but excessive backdrop for Magneto and Apocalypse’s build up. The action picks up quickly and there’s quite a bit of humor and suspense thrown in. The actors are great casts, though Sophie Turner as Jean Grey is way too morose to fit Jean’s comic book persona. It doesn’t really matter though, like the last 2 movies, the major characters are Prof X, Magneto, Mystique and the big bad guy. Everyone else gets a few short lines or is too busy running around to develop anything. The action and CGI are decent and taken on itself, I think it was an okay if not great action superhero movie…so my only problem with it is as an X-men fan…That will be for my next paragraph….

    My reaction as an X-men fan? Imagine that the avengers movie featured Baron Zemo, Kang and Captain America as the most important characters and the actual avengers are just the action muscle. I’m still waiting for an X-men movie featuring the X-men, as opposed to an alliance of it’s villains and founder (or backup for Wolverine). From a comic perspective…Cyclops, Jean and Storm at least should be the center of any X-men story…that has never been true of any Fox X-men film. Cyclops gets a few lines here, Jean looks like she was in Auschwitz with Mags, and to round it out, we develop another character who WAS NEVER AN X-MAN: Quicksilver. Don’t get me wrong…he’s great, but the writers made him that way. The ‘Four Horseman’ idea that Singer had is ultimately a poor one. You have the most iconic, well known, moral X-men willingly watch and serve a mass murderer, and there’s no hint of mind control. I couldn’t conceive of Storm being that way, much less Angel or even Psylocke…but I guess if you don’t give a f**k, it makes sense…(shrug!). It’s not like they have many lines or are even characters beyond action set pieces anyway (sigh). Nightcrawler (a favorite of mine) has some annoying hair, but he’s all right, still, he’s basically transportation. Most of his comedy is incidental, rather than a result of his playful personality…they gave that to Quicksilver…who, in the comics, is among the most arrogant and insufferable characters in Marvel.

    One doesn’t have to make the movies like the comics…though one is pretty much ripping everything else off to make a buck, costumes, sets, story ideas…etc…but for the X-men, if they had simply done just that…this would truly be a legendary series. Instead it’s just a big ‘could’ve been’

    1. “Like the last 2 movies, the major characters are Prof X, Magneto, Mystique and the big bad guy. Everyone else gets a few short lines or is too busy running around to develop anything. The action and CGI are decent and taken on itself, I think it was an okay if not great action superhero movie.”

      This is a bit of an issue with me. I can’t tell if Fox is just afraid the others won’t resonate as much or what. It’s kind of weird that they refuse to branch out.

      “I’m still waiting for an X-men movie featuring the X-men, as opposed to an alliance of it’s villains and founder (or backup for Wolverine). From a comic perspective…Cyclops, Jean and Storm at least should be the center of any X-men story…that has never been true of any Fox X-men film.”

      It almost feels like Fox doesn’t have a writer who can do for Scott Summers what Marvel Studios has done with Steve Rogers, so they just do their best to hide that unfortunate fact.

    2. It’s Singer. He’s a decent director, but the guy barely even likes the X-men. He PR’d a lot of love for them but it doesn’t show on screen. He barely knows the characters, and doesn’t seem excited to bring them to the screen in more than a shallow way.

      Think about Spider-man in the civil war movie. Some critics thought it was a waste of time to backstory him, like it was shoehorned in…but it was necessary…it establishes him as a real character and the type of person he is. Everyone that got to see this actor and those first scenes with him want to SEE him in a movie.

      For one glorious moment (and it was far from perfect) another director dared flirt with an X-men movie done right. It was a little too good in fact, as Mystique wasn’t really supposed to get this far, and now the films are all Prof X and Magneto. Still all the X-men had some backstory and motivation, even Banshee and Havok are more than props, and Beast gets a lot of work.

      Singer made DoFP, and I still somewhat dislike it, because it showed me that Singer was going to continue the focus on Prof X and Magneto. First class was enough, we should have gotten something different. It’s a good movie. The X-men finally fight as a team (and lose to sentinels…badly lol), and the acting talent of McAvoy and Fassbender is amazing, but this is an X-men hijacked by non-X-men and Wolverine. This is a Spider-Man movie focusing on Aunt May, Black Cat and Green Goblin. Rather than expand and move in new directions, he chose to re-present the conflicts of X-men: First Class.

      It’s pretty simple, you focus on it all the time, be true to the characters. I’ve been a fan a long time, and I don’t complain because I want to shove my vision of them in everyone else’s face. I complain, because I know that if they are done right and given the proper vehicle we could see something truly great. Instead we get something a little less.

  2. Saw it today–I thought it was pretty damned entertaining all in all.

    Issac killed it as Apocalypse and Evan Peters is hilarious as Quicksilver.

    I hope Lawrence doesn’t come back. I’m well sick of these films being the Mystique show at this point.

    1. Haven’t seen the movie yet, but after all her tantrum-throwing and nastiness towards reporters and presidential candidates, I’d like to see Jennifer Lawrence leave and Rebecca Romijin come back. Romijin at least seems to keep her personal views to herself and just does her job. She does a good job on TNT’s “The Librarians,” which is a fun show.

    2. “I’d like to see Jennifer Lawrence leave and Rebecca Romijin come back.”

      If Fox had a bit more foresight then they would have grabbed Margot Robbie for the role a few years ago… Regardless, I agree with you that X-Men will do just fine without Ms. Lawrence.

    3. And if Rebecca can’t come back, then at least find someone who isn’t a total prima donna like Lawrence is.

    4. “I’d like to see Jennifer Lawrence leave and Rebecca Romijin come back.”

      I like Margot Robbie, and I agree that she’d make a good Mystique. But I don’t think that’ll happen with her playing Harley Quinn in “Suicide Squad” and other DC movies. She was also considered for the role of Susan Storm in Fantastic Four at one point as well.

  3. Pretty much spot on with my thoughts also Doug. Lawrence really slows the movie down with her half-baked performances where as Fassbender gives it his all and elevates otherwise cliched material, it’s a pity he has less and less to do as the film advances, to the point he spends a great part of the third act just floating about waiting for a speech to take him off the ladder.

    1. “It’s a pity he has less and less to do as the film advances, to the point he spends a great part of the third act just floating about waiting for a speech to take him off the ladder.”

      **SPOILER ALERT**

      Why on earth didn’t Quicksilver finally come clean to Magneto about being his son? Everything about that final scene was set up for Quicksilver to bring his father back from the edge…and then it didn’t happen. That was incredibly weird to me. If the whole reason why Eric allowed himself to become one of Apocalypse’s Four Horsemen was because his wife and daughter were taken from him, then I’m not sure why the writers were like, “Eh. Let Mystique’s efforts win him over instead of his own son.”

    2. Because Singer.

      Just kidding, I suppose, He felt a bit conflicted about it, after all, Magneto is his father in DNA only. I can identify…it’s difficult to watch a man fall apart over his family, when he willingly abandoned yours. telling Magneto that he’s his son opens him up to attachments he may not want. (do you reeeeaaaally want to know this guy better?!). Maybe, in the writer’s intent, it wouldn’t save him…maybe it would simply convince him that he’s bad and hypocritical to boot.

    3. “I suppose, He felt a bit conflicted about it, after all, Magneto is his father in DNA only. I can identify…it’s difficult to watch a man fall apart over his family, when he willingly abandoned yours.”

      That’s a good point, but it was set up so perfectly for Magneto to have a “Darth Vader vs. The Emperor” moment. I’d have to watch the movie again, but I didn’t really hear anything that Mystique said that would have resonated in the depths of his soul to make him have a change of heart. I was just like, “Okaaaay. That’s nice…I guess.”

  4. The movie sucked imo. A lot of the characters lose their depth from the comics (Cyclops, Mystique, and Beast just to name a few) and most of them are nothing like how they should. I never read an Apocalypse story so maybe it makes more sense there, but why did he need four sidekicks if all they did was stand around him awkwardly most of the movie? And Apocalypse’s powers were so poorly defined that it was confusing what he could do.

    1. “I never read an Apocalypse story so maybe it makes more sense there, but why did he need four sidekicks if all they did was stand around him awkwardly most of the movie?”

      That aspect of the movie is weird simply because in one moment he demonstrates the ability to just turn anyone he wants into sand…and yet he needs the “Four Horsemen”? Mr. Singer should have thought that one through a bit more.

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