X-Men: Apocalypse tries really hard. It puts every effort into everything it does. The style and textures of the 80's. Gathering all the strands from the soft-reboot of X-Men: First Class and Days of Future Past. It even makes sure that none of it's big ensemble cast is underused. The problem seems to be that it's so focused on hitting the bulls eye square, it takes for granted that a slow steady aim can often build to more rewarding moments.
It's not that X-men: Apocalypse doesn't have any good moments. While not plentiful, there's less than a handful of stand out scenes. The problem is that amongst the other misfires in it's near 2hr 25min running time, those well-above-par moments feel like they belong to a different film. Particularly as they are followed quickly by a return to the tedium. An elevation of the stand-out kitchen scene in X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men Apocalypse sees Quicksilver rescue students in the school. It's a joy to watch, and the kind of rapture that makes you wonder why the rest of the movie didn't have as much thought. Similarly, a very tender moment in a newly acquired hi-tech helicopter quickly disposes of the emotion built for the audience by crash-cutting to magneto, floating in the air, doing exactly what he was doing last we left him. Even the crowd-pleasing cameo is flat. It's a real shame.
Watch and wince as the movie takes huge leaps in logic. Why can Magneto suddenly use the metal ore beneath earth to turn everything into dust? When you see huge cranes and shipping containers, it fits within the parameters set up for his powers. Yet when he dissolves a building in Auschwitz, made of concrete, you can't help but wonder how. Why does sitting in an electronic cage mute Jean Grey's, apparently unstoppable, phoenix telepathy? How the hell are the conveniently located flight suits, not only put together by X-Men stylists, but they all fit!?
The entire cast do their best. Kudos to them. No one phones it in or gives less effort than you'd expect from a cast that you could pack out any RSC theater with. However, the script is so awful and trite that even the most gifted method actor couldn't rescue it.
Much like our Merry Band of Mutants audiences have evolved. Not only have we become more sophisticated in our storytelling, but so too have our superhero movies. Amongst the menagerie of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and even the maligned DC offerings, X-Men is being lost in the melee. It's not that they're becoming irrelevant. The allegory for the disenfranchised, LGBT and racial bigotry is just as important as it always has been. Yet the X-Men films seem to have the life slowly choked out of them and along with it any message it may carry.
1* - Homosapien-Inferior