2.5 out of 5 stars
With the onset of Superheroes movie fatigue, not to mention the generally well-received (and tonally deliberately distinctive) Captain America: Civil War just weeks before, this new X-Men couldn’t have come at a worst time. While not the disaster that is Batman vs. Superman, this latest franchise extender feels unoriginal, by the book, and falls short, quality and thrills-wise, of the last 2 X-Men entries. The third one, as this film rightfully predicted in a postmodern-y throwaway scene, is always the cursed/crap one. The first half spends time catching up with the characters and is fun to watch but I have less patience for the main villain’s gathering of his 4 Horsemen which feels dull and uninspired. When the various strands finally come together and battle begins in the second half, it fails to deliver anything new and we are treated to the same old loud mass destruction via CGI and narrative contrivances. There is little tension as you never feel any of the main characters are really in any mortal danger and the outcome is fairly predictable. With far too many characters to deal with, McAvoy and Fassbinder emote and work with what little they got fairly well, but while J-Law has presence, Mystique has been rewritten as Blue Katniss, either out of contractual obligation or box office necessity. The rest of the young cast has yet to find their footing with Kodi Smit-McPhee’s Nightcrawler being the standout this time round, edging over Quicksilver who just repeats what he did last time with diminishing marginal returns setting in. More appropriately subtitled the Rehabilitation of Magneto and Mystique, the film throws the original storyline out the window and without Magneto as the opposing driving force, a wasted Oscar Issac’s Apocalypse doesn’t really come up to scratch. His objectives and motivations are murky at best (and over-familiar to anyone watching the last season of Agents of Shield and their Inhumans storyline) and his execution borders on a bad Brando impression; in short, proving my theory that Superhero films are only as good as their nemesis/villains and Apocalypse, both the villain and the film, underwhelms.