Let me preface this article by saying that there are many unfavourable reviews of X-Men: Apocalypse out there. If you would like to know why many critics felt the movie was underwhelming, you can read reviews here, here, and here. Perhaps the movie did not fully deliver with the potential available from the stellar cast; in truth, Oscar Isaac’s talent felt wasted as Apocalypse since he was buried under layers of heavy prosthetics and makeup. At times it seemed that Apocalypse was a hodgepodge of characters’ individual scenes rather than a cohesive plot. But despite the negative reviews, X-Men: Apocalypse is an enjoyable, even lovable, superhero movie.
It is tough to follow up a movie like X-Men: Days of Future Past, an epic blockbuster that both fans and critics adored, so kudos to Bryan Singer (Director) and Simon Kinberg (Screenwriter) for delivering.
En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac) is a mutant who is entombed in ancient Egypt and woken up in 1983. When he sees what the world has become without him, he decides he needs to destroy it and remake it. En Sabah Nur (a.k.a. Apocalypse) enhances the powers of his four horsemen/women including Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Angel (Ben Hardy), and Magneto (Michael Fassbender). The X-Men must assemble and fight against Apocalypse and the threat of world destruction.
The Highest Highs
This is the X-Men movie with the highest stakes; after all, the villain wants to destroy the entire world. Not only are there exciting physical and psychic battles, but it is also full of great personal character stories for the most popular X-Men: a budding attraction between Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) and Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), a cage fight between Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and Angel where Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) intervenes, there is petty theft by Storm, and the destruction of the Auschwitz concentration camp by Magneto.
For me, Evan Peters as Quicksilver is the highlight of this movie, particularly in a scene set to Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by Eurythmics. In the scene, he uses his superspeed to save students from an explosion at Xavier’s School. I had a genuine smile plastered to my face the entire time. It is similar to this scene from Days of Future Past, but even better and more creative. It will make you want to buy the DVD to find out how it got made.
The Lowest Low: Not Enough Jubilee
Apocalypse is full of great moments for the X-Men we’re already familiar with, but it didn’t bother to develop Jubilee’s character (Lana Condor) at all. With the movie being set in the 80’s, Apocalypse should have been the perfect setting for Jubilee to finally get her moment. However, her role was minimized in the final cut and her character’s name wasn’t even mentioned. I was disappointed when the movie finished and I realized that, yet again, Jubilee’s character development was stunted because the director needed to shorten the running time.
Out of all the X-Men, Jubilee is the one whose story and personality seems to be unfairly stifled in the movies. This frustrates me because Bryan Singer seems to want to put her in the movies, yet he cuts her scenes every time. She has a deleted scene in X-Men and in X2: X-Men United. Her character was supposed to appear as a future member in X-Men: Days of Future Past, but her part was cut from the final script. And now, once again, Jubilee will be found in the deleted scenes of X-Men: Apocalypse.
We need to see Jubilee because “she exists at the crossroads for a lot of different underrepresented groups.” She is a rebellious, unconcerned with romance, fiercely individual, Asian-American superhero, but none of her spunky personality is portrayed in the film. It’s also very rare for a superhero film to have the opportunity to portray female friendship, given that the genre typically features men, and I would’ve enjoyed seeing the dynamic between Jubilee and Jean develop.
The scene that was cut featured Jubilee alongside Jean Grey, Cyclops, and Nightcrawler at the mall. All that remains from the mall sequence is a scene where they walk out of a theatre after seeing Return of the Jedi. Jubilee debates Scott about which Star Wars movie is best; she thinks it’s Empire Strikes Back (she’s right), while Scott likes A New Hope. Jean quips that “the third one is always the worst,” which pokes fun at Apocalypse, the third installment of the X-Men prequels.
Overall, X-Men: Apocalypse delivers what is expected of superhero movies. For fans of X-Men, it is worth seeing on the big screen; this is especially true for fans of Quicksilver. But if you are hoping to see Jubilee finally come into her own, this movie will not satisfy you.