Quick Hit: Indescribably disappointing.
If you would have told me that the director and writer of First Class, the stars of the previous films, as well as the addition of other stars like Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones) and Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In), and it would have come off as much worse than the other films in this trilogy, I would have told you that you were a liar. However, it’s unfortunately true – Apocalypse suffers from the same joke that is said about The Last Stand within this very movie – the third one is always the worst.
From the end of the last film, we’ve forwarded ten years in the first class universe to be in the mid-eighties. But first, let’s wake up this ancient mutant, supposedly the first mutant. Ok, anyways. Charles is living a happy life in his mansion teaching students. Eric is living in Poland, married with a daughter. Mystique is traveling the world, rescuing mutants. Want to take three guesses what happens here? Essentially, every single superhero cliché happens, and all those happy little worlds get destroyed.
Very little of this movie really seems to make sense. That in itself is amazing, because the last movie was so much more complicated, but somehow managed to be more fluid and intelligible. The character’s plot motivations and reactions are all over the place, and newcomers McPhee, Turner, and Tye Sheridan are partially to blame. But there’s also the inclusion of other characters who are pretty much just another piece of the set – Storm, Psylocke, Jubilee, etc. Their inclusion is pointless – and unfortunately, they are all women.
One of the things the X-universe, and Marvel as a whole has struggled with is making their women decent, contributing characters. I’d argue that Scar Jo’s Black Widow is one of the weaker points of the Avengers because she has so little background outside of her one scene with Loki in The Avengers. I felt like the last few movies of the First Class series did better, because Mystique was presented as a main character, albeit a character used as motivation for other male characters. But here even Jean, arguably the second most interesting X-men is shafted to the side and used consistently as a plot device to just end everything.
However that makes me even more excited for The Dark Phoenix. Just saying.
I can’t deride this movie entirely, because occasionally it forays into the territory that made the other movies so good. There’s the terrific Wolverine cameo, coupled with a scene that is extremely touching (if a bit creepy if you think about the implications of Wolverine’s later love for Jean and how young she is here). There is a satisfying scene that is a direct play on Quicksilver’s scene from the last movie, but this one is a bit extended, with poorer effects. And Sophie Turner’s final turn as a yelling, screaming Phoenix is also good for nerds everywhere.
But the few bright points are overshadowed by a slow, boring, easily predictable plot. And only having McAvoy and Fassbender on screen together for a few seconds in total is an extreme waste of two talented actors, and that’s unforgivable. There’s also the complete waste of a decent actor hidden under makeup and prosthetics, and a terrible script that does no service to really anyone. I’m giving the movie a “D”.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"