Published May 26, 2016X-Men: Apocalypse finds the McAvoy-era X-Men facing their deadliest foe yet in Apocalypse, a super villain from ancient times who's seemingly immortal and can take the power of any mutant he meets. But the story ultimately fizzles out by film's end due to a surprising lack of action and a bloated, uneven cast of characters.
X-Men: Days of Future Past had some similar problems, but at least found a way around them after its initial release (when fans found out an entire subplot was left on the editing room floor, Fox issued a Blu-ray standalone Rogue Cut of the film, allowing Anna Paquin's character, not to mention Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, more time in the spotlight). X-Men: Apocalypse, similarly, is a film with too many moving parts and not enough time to link all of them together.
Taking place roughly ten years after the previous film, Professor Xavier and his mutants, both new (Cyclops, Nightcrawler and Jean Grey) and old (Mystique, Beast, Havoc and Quicksilver) must square off against Apocalypse, a megalomaniac hell-bent on destroying the world and recreating it in his own image. To help him he recruits a disenchanted Magneto, reeling from a recent tragedy, and other impressionable mutants, including a teenage Storm, Archangel and Psylocke (Olivia Munn, who is perfectly cast here but barely has any lines). It takes nearly 90 minutes of meandering side stories reminding us of what happened in Days of Future Past and Oscar Isaac (as Apocalypse) creepily muttering his way around like a big blue Don Corleone before they meet.
When they do, rather than go off with a bang, we're treated to the kind of action scenes we've grown accustomed to since this franchise first hit the silver screen back at the start of the century (complete with Avengers levels of senseless, citywide destruction). That wouldn't be so bad if we felt anything for the characters involved, but with a new army of mutants entering the fray, Singer doesn't focus enough on the whole team (kind of a strange move for an ensemble like this one), and will probably leave hardcore fans wondering why Beast and Mystique (two prominent characters from the first two films) do so little and why we need to see another four minutes of Quicksilver running around really, really fast.
Around halfway through the film, some of Xavier's new students take a trip to a local theatre to see Return of the Jedi. As they leave the movie, one of them comments that the third film in a trilogy is almost always the worst. It's supposed to act as a not-so subtle little wink to the viewer that Singer and his crew are at least slightly self-aware. Sadly, X-Men: Apocalypse actually is the worst of the past three films.
Part of that has to do with how strong its predecessor was (Days of Future Past is undoubtedly the best film from the whole franchise), but either way, with news that the next trilogy will be set in the '90s, it seems like Apocalypse will have his wish granted, and the slate will be wiped clean soon enough.