Tuesday, 24 May 2016

REVIEW - X-MEN: APOCALYPSE (BRYAN SINGER)


Styled from the syntax of the superhero movie, X-Men: Apocalypse is a dead-weight entry into a franchise whose reputation diminishes as its size expands. Any more expansion and this film would explode - it's blustered bloat from first to last, too much CGI, too many characters, too much bombast and portent, too much of everything. The old X-Men movies cared about their characters; Apocalypse cares only for their plot-pushing potential. The old movies cared about place, location, spatial dynamics; Apocalypse cares only for monolithic digital extravaganzas, soulless, gargantuan creations of derivative imaginations. The old movies employed silence not as an accent to the action but for its own virtues; Apocalypse is brash, noisy, sound and fury signifying, alas, nothing. Bryan Singer is getting progressively worse at making his X-Men films genuinely meaningful, and ever less sensitive as to the broader implications their barely-surviving subtext might possess. The film is a stylistic nightmare, and a conceptual one too, but does it succeed on its own terms, as entertainment? Sad that a franchise that once challenged the mindlessness of its genre has now succumbed to it, but this film is at least serviceable in this regard. It has moments of menace, and of levity, the latter largely attributable to Evan Peters, who's underused here but far from alone in this respect. So much happens, or merely seems to happen, that none of the film's finer qualities are granted the time and energy to properly develop, though a number of effective action sequences are nonetheless enjoyable. That this is what the X-Men films have come to may have been inevitable, if they were to survive in this era of mega-franchises, but it's no less disappointing for that fact.