So, the first reviews for X-Men: Apocalypse are in…and they’re a little worrying. Perhaps film critics are genuinely wearing the signs of superhero fatigue after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War, perhaps it’s just not a great film – but Apocalypse isn’t hitting home.
Currently sitting at an underwhelming 45% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Apocalypse pales in comparison to its predecessors, with Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class boasting a mightily impressive 87%, while Bryan Singer’s return with Days of Future Past holding an even stronger 91%.
Here’s what the critics are saying about the trilogy-ending extravaganza.
Variety: If you’ve seen one cinematic apocalypse, you’ve seen them all. At least that’s the feeling conjured by “X-Men: Apocalypse,” the latest entry in one of the more reliable comic-book franchises around, this time disappointingly succumbing to an exhausting case of been-there-done-that-itis.
The Hollywood Reporter: Both Captain America: Civil War and X-Men: Apocalypse are superhero extravaganzas with severe traffic control problems, but while the former keeps things flowing reasonably smoothly, the latter film, set to arrive in theaters just weeks later, resembles a bumper-car nightmare. Narratively jumbled and jammed with so many characters that you give up keeping them all straight while simultaneously lamenting not seeing more of those you might actually want around, Bryan Singer’s fourth entry in the enormously profitable series he inaugurated 16 years ago undeniably builds to a cataclysmic dramatic reckoning.
Entertainment Weekly: Apocalypse isn’t quite a dog. But it is a movie with way too much of everything except the things that should matter the most—novelty, creativity, and fun. After the rejuvenated one-two punch of 2011’s First Class and 2014’s Days of Future Past, there was reason to expect better. A lot better. ButApocalypse feels like a confused, kitchen-sink mess with a half dozen too many characters, a villain who amounts to a big blue nothing, and a narrative that’s so choppy and poorly cut together that it feels like you’re watching a flipbook instead of a movie.
The Wrap: With “X-Men: Apocalypse,” however, Singer seems to have acquired a new mutant power of his own: monotony. Whether it’s the lack of an interesting villain, or the fact that the series’ time-travel element is forcing these mutants to meet each other (and the audience) all over again for the first time, this latest entry marks a shocking letdown from Singer’s earlier contributions; what once soared now slogs.
Empire: But the worst on a number of levels is En Sabah Nur, or Apocalypse. He is an ancient and powerful mutant who can hop from one body to another, picking up fresh powers as he goes — which may explain why his abilities remain extraordinarily undefined. Compared to the energetic, bold Days Of Future Past, it all seems so leaden. The more the film harks back to other X-instalments, the more you’ll wish you were watching those instead.
It’s not all bad news though. Some critics out there rather enjoyed the movie and penned more positive reviews than the ones above.
The Guardian: The idea of an apocalypse means every dial has to be turned up to 11 and this film certainly provides bangs for your buck, although there is less space for the surreal strangeness of the X-Men to breathe, less dialogue interest, and they do not have the looser, wittier joy of the Avengers.
IGN: As a conclusion to a trilogy, Apocalypse falls somewhat short. It marginalises key relationships in favour of establishing new ones, and lacks the depth and distinctive historical flavour of its immediate predecessors. But taken as the next chapter in the series, Apocalypse is an undeniably fun and entertaining adventure and does a pretty good job of establishing Xavier’s next class.
Digital Spy: X-Men: Apocalypse can’t reach the levels of maturity and sophistication of Civil War, but it has a messy charm all of its own, and maintains the quality set by the post-Last Stand films. With a new team of young X-Men standing by, the future’s still looking bright for the franchise.
Official synopsis: Following the critically acclaimed global smash hit X-Men: Days of Future Past, director Bryan Singer returns with X-MEN: APOCALYPSE. Since the dawn of civilization, he was worshipped as a god. Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant from Marvel’s X-Men universe, amassed the powers of many other mutants, becoming immortal and invincible. Upon awakening after thousands of years, he is disillusioned with the world as he finds it and recruits a team of powerful mutants, including a disheartened Magneto (Michael Fassbender), to cleanse mankind and create a new world order, over which he will reign. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) with the help of Professor X (James McAvoy) must lead a team of young X-Men to stop their greatest nemesis and save mankind from complete destruction.