Gone are the days of individual super hero films, today in a race to make each new film bigger than the last, we see a plethora of characters being added to the story to make it more engrossing for the viewer. The latest release X-MEN APOCALYPSE is somewhat similar in this respect, with a number of characters being used and of course new characters being introduced all in a gambit to set up the awe inspiring Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
The movie starts off depicting ancient Egypt and the pyramids being built to honor their god. Later it is revealed that the god is none other than Apocalypse whose earthly shell is dying with his consciousness urgently being transferred into the body of a different mutant. However, he is betrayed by the non mutants who serve under his rule and he is buried under a pyramid. From here the film cuts to the present day where after the previous film ends, with each of the X-Men trained by Professor Charles Xavier drifting off to lead lives of their own. Though each lives an idyllic life, things are soon thrown out of gear when CIA agent Moira MacTaggert stumbles upon the now excavated site of Apocalypse' tomb awakening the ancient destroyer. While Agent MacTaggert is busy exploring Apocalypse's tomb, back home Professor X is introduced to Scott Summers (Cyclopse) who is just finding out about his mutant powers. Eased by Professor X, Scott soon settles into the life at the School for Gifted Children, but everything changes as Apocalypse awakes half way around the world. At this juncture, Raven who had in the previous film deserted both Professor X and Magneto returns to the school seeking help to locate Magneto. In their pursuit of Magneto with the help of Cerebro, Professor X comes face to face with Apocalypse, who till date lacks the power of telekinesis. Upon getting to know of Professor X, Apocalypse teleports to the mansion outside Cerebro and abducts Charles. Following this, Mystique/ Raven, Cyclopse, Gene Gray/ Phoenix, Beast/ Hank MacCoy, Nightcrawler/ Kurt Wagner and QuickSilver set out to get him back. But in order to free Charles/ Professor X, the team will have to defeat Apocalypse and his four horsemen viz. Psylocke, Angel, Magneto and Storm.
Another point where the film scores is the direction. Bryan Singer does a magnificent job of enabling his cast to emote while at the same time perform some insane action sequences. This balanced display of acting prowess, combined with actions and well-timed humour that is interlaced makes the film an all encompassing entertainer. Unlike the previous X-MEN films, this one actually outlines each character perfectly, while simultaneously introducing new characters who have enough back-story to make it understandable.
However, X-MEN: APOCALYPSE does have its share of drawbacks. While the film in its entirety is gripping, the second half comes across as being highly predictable. After the story build up in the first half, one feels the culmination could've been more complex and thrilling. Also, Magneto/ Erik Lehnsherr, dominates in the first half of the film, however come the second half, he is sorely underutilized.
On the whole, X-MEN: APOCALYPSE checks all the correct boxes, be it action, drama, funny moments and scenes and well hidden Easter eggs/ references to other characters. The film does get a little predictable in the second half, but with crisp editing and spot on characterization, X-MEN: APOCALYPSE delivers what one expects from it.