‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ Review: Not As Bad As Expected — But It Could Have Been Better

X-Men: Apocalypse hit American theaters this week. After an incredible run by Captain America: Civil War, it was time to see how Fox’s Marvel property stood up.

My overall takeaway of Bryan Singer’s latest X-Men film is that it wasn’t as bad as the Rotten Tomatoes score would suggest. I genuinely believe more worked than didn’t in X-Men: Apocalypse. The problem is that too much of what worked was already laid out in the trailers.

Yes, X-Men: Apocalypse is yet another Hollywood flick that felt the need to give away some of its best moments in a series of trailers and TV spots. It’s understandable that Fox remains nervous about its Marvel properties and whether audiences won’t show up. However, that’s no excuse for the absolute lack of suspense I had while watching Apocalypse. With certain X-Men: Apocalypse villains destined to turn good, one could only be expected to maintain so much suspense to begin with!

It would have been nice to have had a genuine, “Oh my God!” moment without it being taken away by a movie trailer that revealed way too much beforehand.

That aside, there were a few pleasant surprises about this third X-Men prequel. First, it is far and away better than the disastrous X-Men: The Last Stand. Even if Apocalypse is a weak finish to the prequel trilogy, at least it can say that much for itself.

The new characters were — when they were given something to do — very enjoyable.

For example, this is probably the most I’ve enjoyed the character Jean Grey — ever. That includes the comic book version. Sophie Turner does an excellent job of portraying Jean as an unsure and vulnerable teen, and yet extremely powerful mutant. Likewise, the young Scott Summers – aka Cyclops – didn’t annoy me, either.

Hopefully, this trend continues for both Jean and Scott in future movies.

I also thought Oscar Isaac did well as Apocalypse. In fact, Apocalypse might go down as my favorite comic book movie villain portrayal thus far. Well, at least until Josh Brolin’s Thanos finally does something aside from float menacingly in a chair.

Not only was Apocalypse the equivalent of the “Energizer Bunny from Hell,” this ancient mutant could do things that would make you afraid of sand for the rest of your life.

I do wish that Apocalypse more closely resembled the gray child we saw in the end credits scene for Days of Future Past in both looks and powers. I also wondered why Apocalypse wasn’t taller. Of all the special effects applied, this was one place that could have benefited, and I’m surprised no one thought to do this.

Additionally, I appreciated the story arc for the mutant Magneto (Erik Lehnsherr), played by Michael Fassbender. I think Fassbender has done a great job of making Magneto out to be a largely sympathetic character, despite every terrible thing he’s done. His harsh life and never-ending tragedies are enough to make his struggle to be a remotely decent person believable.

Aside from Mystique as portrayed by a clearly-phoning-it-in-at-this-point Jennifer Lawrence, every other actor seems to have melded very well with the characters they portrayed. Seeing how many newcomers were introduced in X-Men: Apocalypse, that’s no small feat.

If you go into X-Men: Apocalypse with an open mind, you’ll probably enjoy it more than you were expecting. It certainly could have been a much better movie; all the potential was there.

X-Men: Apocalypse wasn’t a bad movie. If you’re after a fun summer blockbuster with loads of special effects, this will definitely please you.

[Photo via 20th Century Fox]