The X-Men are back on our screens, two years after a Days of future Past that everyone agreed on. As since 2011 and the new trilogy started by Matthew Vaughn, we find them again in a story that takes place chronologically before the original trilogy. Once again, the “daddy” of the mutants is in charge, a certain Bryan Singer, to whom we owe the episodes of 2000 and 2003. But, unlike the classic movies we’ve seen so far, this Apocalypse promised more darkness, a different rhythm and most importantly, THE biggest villain ever faced by the X-Men. For a life-saving result?
But where are we now?
X-Men: The beginning reminded us of the 1960s and the Cold War. His spiritual sequel, Days of future Past, was set in the 1970s with the Paris Agreements as a backdrop. It is therefore with a certain logic that we find ourselves in the heart of the 80s for this third episode. The film begins by laying its foundations and explaining where we are going to stand and, above all, who the mutants are going to have to face. We then discover Revelation, the very first mutant of mankind, considered as a true God and possessing many powers, such as the ability to increase the capacities of his fellow men. Unfortunately, as he plans to take possession of the body of another mutant (played by Oscar Isaac) during a ceremony in ancient Egypt, an event will cause him to fall into a kind of coma and be buried six feet underground. Thousands of years later, he will wake up, discovering a new world and still wishing to rule it with the other mutants.
To prevent the end of humanity, the X-Men will have no choice but to unite in an attempt to defeat one of the most powerful and toughest enemies they have ever fought. On paper, X-Men: Apocalypse is thus intended to be quite classical and has no other pretension than to present us with a titanic fight, a little like what Marvel is preparing with the future arrival of Thanos against the Avengers. For as you can see, Apocalypse is far more powerful than our heroes. But this simplistic background develops with ease before our eyes and has the advantage that it holds a lot of surprises in store for us. We thus discover what became of Magneto, after his failed attack on the President of the United States in the previous episode, but also how Charles-Xavier tries to develop his school for the gifted. We know more about the origins of the basic saga and about important characters such as Jean Grey, Tornado, Cyclops or Diablo that we (re)discover with great interest. Mystique also has a great importance, once again, in this episode, much more than in the original trilogy and its character keeps a part of mystery that suits the script even more. Let’s also note the return of Quicksilver, played by Evan Peters, who is still as hilarious and badass as ever.
So you’ll have understood, this X-Men offers a large number of characters on the screen. However, it is still necessary to succeed in bringing them together without it seeming messy. That’s good, on this side, the film doesn’t fall into the overbidding and manages to give its fifteen minutes of glory to everyone, not neglecting the second roles and not overcutting the main heroes.
A Different Rhythm, Amazing Special Effects
What impressed me in Bryan Singer’s feature film was his rhythm, much calmer than usual. Don’t expect a series of spectacular battles one after the other, no. The film has the intelligence to develop its passages, offering us large shots that allow the viewer to immerse himself in the scenery and the characters that compose it. The use of the fields and counter fields seemed to me to be of good quality, although sometimes rather uneven, but with the great objective of allowing us to accompany each important element on the screen with our gaze.
X-Men: Apocalypse is different from all the superhero movies we’ve seen so far in that it’s closer to a disaster movie than to classic superhero filmmaking. Singer has certainly been freely inspired by recent feature films such as San Andreas or 2012 and it’s not very surprising to learn that the Artistic Director, Ravi Bansal, is also working on another film of the same genre: Independence Day Resurgence. There is a real Emmerichian side to this Apocalypse that will delight lovers of spectacular and devastating special effects. The image is of great beauty, alternating between urban settings and desert plains, making the viewer travel between Poland, Egypt and the United States.
Nevertheless, like a rough diamond that needs polishing, X-Men: Revelation is not perfect. He sometimes gets lost in the meandering script, forcing the audience to hesitate between joy and dismay, laughter and disapproval. In this, Bryan Singer took a risk, trying to differentiate himself from everything we’ve seen so far and took the daring step of bringing several genres together to create one: the disaster hero movie. Personally, I adhered to this bias, preferring to congratulate the novelty rather than burying its few flaws.
A 5-star cast
Michael Fassbender (Magneto), James McAvoy (Charles-Xavier), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), Oscar Isaac (Apocalypse), Sophie Turner (Jean Grey), Nicholas Hoult (The Fauve), Rose Byrne (Moira MacTaggert),…
Here is a summary of the actors who are waiting for you in this new episode. But without being overbidding, the film has the intelligence to assign the lines in the right tempo and to allow all the actors to have their fifteen minutes of glory. As usual, Magneto and Charles-Xavier often take the lead and their relationship is perfectly managed by Fassbender and McAvoy who know the ropes of their roles. All the supporting roles fit well into the X-Men universe and we’re happy to have Jennifer Lawrence back in Mystique. A pleasant surprise with the refreshing Sophie Turner, whom the world discovered in Game of Thrones, and who is a young Jean Grey who hasn’t fully mastered her powers. Evan Peters, who plays Quicksilver, is once again explosive and one of his passages will certainly be remembered.
Nevertheless, small disappointment for Oscar Isaac, excellent in Inside Llewyn Davis but that the world discovered in the last episode of Star Wars. A little too hidden by the make-up and his costume, the 36-year-old actor doesn’t give full satisfaction in the role of Apocalypse, supposed to be THE great villain of the X-Men universe. We expected to be overwhelmed by his character, who was supposed to show us how powerful and Machiavellian he is, but we almost ended up feeling sorry for him, which was clearly not the intention. It’s a shame, especially since he has a key role in the film.
Finally, let’s note the (almost) surprising presence of Hugh Jackman in the role of Wolverine, who gives us a cameo of almost ten minutes anyway. It is always with great pleasure that we find the Australian actor who erases, in a few moments, his past in the film centered on his origins. I can’t tell you any more, and I’ll leave you to find out for yourself–
X-Men: Revelation is surprising, in the right sense of the word, but will not please all audiences. More disaster-oriented film but not forgetting its origins, the direction of Bryan Singer is a pleasant surprise. It allows us to learn more about the past of many characters and to develop relationships between those we have known for a few years now. Visually bluffing, the feature film will disconcert some by its strange rhythm and the lack of vivacity of some passages. Nevertheless, there is still a quality blockbuster on our favourite mutants that should please the many Marvel fans.