The hostile critical reception met by this latest instalment in the X-Men franchise (the ninth in the series, if you count the various spinoffs) was a little unexpected. It’s by no means a bad film; it ticks all the boxes that its more well-received predecessors managed, and addresses the same resonant themes that found an audience before. Perhaps as superhero films continue to flood mainstream cinemas, merely aping previous successes isn’t enough any more – this particular sub-genre needs to innovate and offer something new each time to stand out from the crowd. So while there’s little specifically wrong with this most recent example, the formula is starting to wear thin and something a little more daring is maybe going to be needed next time.

It’s now director Bryan Singer’s fourth X-Men visit, after his first film¬†way back in 2000 arguably kickstarted the superhero boom, and his followup achieved that rarity (back then) of a comic book sequel that improved on the original. Having more or less soft-rebooted the increasingly convoluted timeline with the franchise-high of Days of Future Past two years ago, he knows perhaps more than anyone what makes these films resonate. Raising the stakes here to a global level lends proceedings more of an epic feel than has been present previously, and its themes of prejudice and the choice of reactions one has to being oppressed might feel stale but are sadly still painfully topical. So while this sort of X-Men film has perhaps become quite formulaic, the comic’s original premise remains powerful enough to carry it along a little further.

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE
Another solid entry in what has been a consistently reliable superhero series7
The formula of these films is becoming a little stale by now however5
The themes of prejudice and discrimination remain topical, relevant and powerful8
The characters are not quite as serious or deep as the causes they fight for5
Like in Days of Future Past, there's another brilliant Quicksilver scene9
Bechdel Test passes
  • Features more than one named female character
  • The named female characters talk to each other
  • They talk about something other than men
Bechdel Test failures
  • n/a
7Overall Score

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