By John Hodge
This Friday (Oct. 28) and Saturday (Oct. 29) evenings at 7 P.M. Seelos Theatre will be screening the latest installment in the X-Men franchise, “X-Men: Apocalypse.” I remember seeing this movie in theaters this summer. Being an enormous fan of the first two of the current generation of X-Men films (those starring James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, namely “X-Men: First Class” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past”), I had particularly high expectations for this movie upon learning about its development. However, before I was able to see it, critics had already labeled it as being an average, if not a poor, film. It currently holds a fairly embarrassing 48 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
As a result, those particularly high expectations I was talking about were significantly lowered. I think this played into my enjoying the movie when I finally saw it. Had I gone into the theater with expectations based on my enjoyment of the previous two films, I likely would have been disappointed, expecting to witness something on par with those movies. Having my expectations lowered by critical reviews made me pleasantly surprised when I saw what I believed to be a decent movie.
Let me begin by saying “X-Men: Apocalypse” is not on par with its predecessors. It lacks the groundedness of the other two, as “First Class” and “Days of Future Past,” though outlandish when you really think about them, successfully ground their plots in the world in which the films are set. They make you believe what is happening could really happen in that world. Many parts of “Apocalypse” are hard to buy, despite the very fictional world in which the film is set.
Aside from this, and maybe a few other minor flaws, I actually had a great time watching this movie. Of course, I love these characters, which definitely didn’t hurt. But also, there are some truly amazing scenes in the film. There are scenes that succeed at being funny and providing effective comedic relief, scenes that are genuinely emotional, and scenes that are incredibly tense. Overall, while being a bit over-the-top at times, “Apocalypse” is a really fun epic-in-scale X-Men movie with a kick-ass cast.
One final note: this is a movie that is definitely enhanced by being seen in a theater. Like I said, it is really fun and epic in scale. It’s a loud, action-packed, joke-filled movie with lots of characters and even more locations. In addition, the seriousness that I think, in part, makes the previous two films superior, might also make them less fun, especially in theaters. “Apocalypse” never gets too dramatic and the tensions between characters’ personalities is less of an issue, which plays well on the big screen. So if you have a few hours to fill in that awkward weekend night 7-9 P.M. time frame, check out “X-Men: Apocalypse” at Seelos Theater this weekend. You might be pleasantly surprised like I was.