Apoca­lypse not now

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Film - with Julian Wright

.AT the end of X-Men: Apoca­lypse’s near- tir­ing 144 minute run-time, there was one thing that stood out more than the epic ac­tion se­quences, snappy quips and en­ter­tain­ing pop cul­ture ref­er­ences.

It was that a tal­ented cast had been wasted.

More char­ac­ters have been heaped into the lat­est en­try in the X-Men fran­chise, which means more con­flict, more ac­tion, more fights – but un­like Cap­tain Amer­ica: Civil Waror the Avengers films, there is less abil­ity to jug­gle them all.

Here it means a skilled cast stand­ing around for large chunks of time while others spout ex­po­si­tion.

Awak­en­ing from an un­der­ground Egyp­tian tomb af­ter thou­sands of years, powerful mu­tant Apoca­lypse ( Os­car Isaac) is in­tent on world dom­i­na­tion in 1983. His re­turn co­in­cides with big hair, gaudy clothes and Mag­neto’s (Michael Fass­ben­der) re­turn to the dark side when his cover in Poland is blown and his wife and child are mur­dered.

While Apoca­lypse col­lects mu­tant dis­ci­ples and tar­gets Xavier (James McAvoy) for his powerful abil­i­ties, a set of next gen­er­a­tion new­bies are ral­lied, in­clud­ing Jean Grey (So­phie Turner), Cy­clops (Tye Sheri­dan) and Nightcrawler (Kodi SmitMcPhee).

High stakes are im­plied but rarely felt as Fass­ben­der does a lot of stand­ing with arms raised sum­mon­ing metal, Olivia Munn serves as set dress­ing for two hours and Isaac is un­recog­nis­able un­der a tonne of face makeup and voice al­ter­ation.

The prob­lem is there are so many char­ac­ters running around that the au­di­ence does not have an op­por­tu­nity to con­nect or iden­tify with any of them; much of the sub­stance from past films has been eroded in favour of a generic “fam­ily first” sen­ti­ment.

One won­ders why they didn’t just cre­ate CGI char­ac­ters, along with ev­ery other syn­thetic thing in the film, and free these ac­tors up for other projects.

Given how overblown this one is, it is ex­tremely cheeky for di­rec­tor Singer (who kick-started the fran­chise) to take a dig in one scene at Brett Rat­ner’s less suc­cess­ful part three.

Quick­sil­ver (Evan Peters) again is given the best scene, one that is so clever and funny that it is as if all cre­ative en­ergy went into this sole four-minute se­quence.

A post-credit sneak peek sug­gests more sto­ries to come, but can the mak­ers han­dle more char­ac­ters?

One may sug­gest less is more would be a good way to go.

Michael Fass­ben­der as Mag­neto in XMen:Apoca­lypse.

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