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Five reasons ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ is a major disappointment

A once-proud superhero series dives off a cliff with the tedious 'X-Men: Apocalypse'

By Tom Huddleston
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We’re feeling monumentally let down by the new instalment of the ‘X-Men’ franchise. The new movie is a weary, lifeless trudge through comic-book clichés. Here’s why.

16 blockbuster movies to look forward to in 2016: X Men Apocalypse

1. It feels lazy

Since it was announced, the word on ‘Apocalypse’ has been feverish. Comic-book fans celebrated the fact that one of their favourite storylines was coming to the big screen, and director Bryan Singer promised something really special. But perhaps the (unwarranted) adulation of Singer’s ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ went to his head. Because watching ‘Apocalypse’, it feels like no one’s putting any effort in at all. The plot – ancient evil awakens, tries to destroy the world – is tired, the characters too numerous to make an impact and even the action scenes fall flat. Put your back into it, Bryan!

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2. It wastes some of the world’s finest actors

You think it’d be impossible to make Jennifer Lawrence boring – but somehow, ‘Apocalypse’ manages it. The calibre of performers the ‘X-Men’ series has attracted over the years has been phenomenal (from the early days of Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart to their younger counterparts Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy). But ‘Apocalypse’ finds nothing interesting to do with these latter-day heroes. Fassbender is subjected to the most hackneyed revenge plot ever (and gets to beat up Auschwitz). McAvoy mopes about and loses his hair and even J-Law seems to fade into the background – which might be appropriate for her chameleonic character Mystique, but doesn’t do much for the movie.

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3. The villain is ridiculous

Ever since the first photos leaked, ‘X-Men’ watchers have been a tad concerned about the movie’s big villain, Apocalypse. Sure, he’s played by the fresh-from-‘Star Wars’ Oscar Isaac. But he’s also saddled with a ridiculous suit of chunky-fit armour and a gigantic, angular blue head, like one of the aliens from ‘Avatar’ had an accident with a combine harvester. All of which we’d happily have forgiven if the character was particularly frightening, or funny, or interestingly motivated. But no, he’s just your average furious supernatural dullard bent on world domination. Yawn.

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4. The action scenes are nothing special

Remember that one terrific sequence in ‘Days of Future Past’ when Quicksilver (Evan Peters) zoomed around at super-speed redirecting bullets, slapping bad guys and generally getting our heroes out of trouble? It’s recreated here, only with less focus and weaker special effects – and still manages to be by far the most interesting action scene in the movie. For the most part, ‘Apocalypse’ contents itself with predictable punch-ups and CG-busy run-and-jump sequences, none of which manage to make much of an impact.

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5. It’s aimed squarely at comic book fans

Shouldn’t a comic book movie stand on its own merits, without the audience being required to familiarise themselves with the back catalogue? ‘Apocalypse’ is annoyingly crammed with fan-friendly nods and winks, and characters whose only function seems to be to make comic nerds happy. If you have any information about who the hell Psylocke (Olivia Munn) or Angel (Ben Hardy) are supposed to be, or why the hell Apocalypse is so grumpy in the first place, let us know in the comments.

Read our review of ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’

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