X-Men: Apocalypse is by no means the worst X-Men movie, but neither is it the best. In fact if you have seen the trailers for this movie you pretty much know what to expect as far as good and bad.
Building on the established X-Men lore that began with X-Men: First Class and continued with X-Men: Days of Future Past, we see Professor X (James McAvoy) continue to grow his School For Gifted Youngsters with the help of Beast (Nicholas Hoult) in Westchester, NY. It's now the early 80's and things between mutants and humans have begun to settle a bit since the events in Washington, DC seen in Days of Future Past, Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) has become a hero to mutants after saving President Nixon's life on national television, and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) has gone underground.
Meanwhile in Cairo, an ancient and powerful mutant named Apocalypse has been awakened after centuries of sleep and sets about recreating the planet in his own vision. To do this, he enlists the help of four other mutants, Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Angel (Ben Hardy) and Magneto who is easily manipulated following more personal hardships.
Oscar Isaac does an okay job as Apocalypse, but he never really has the menacing feel of the character in the comic. Partly because they provide no real mystery to the character in this movie, and in part because the overall look leans to the cheesy side. The overall plot is pretty simplistic with your ultra-powerful bad guy trying to rule the planet with the good guys swooping in to save the day. Special effects are decent but nowhere near as good as what we see in Civil War. Apocalypse's look is a miss, and a few scenes featuring Angel flying around in one of the fight sequences comes off looking a little fake. In fact I would say one of the biggest problems this movie will face is opening so soon after Civil War's release. Having that movie which was so good fresh in people's minds can't board well for this one, making it seem worse than it actually is.
Newcomers Sophie Turner (Jean Grey), Tye Sheridan (Cyclops), and Kodi Smit-McPhee (Nightcrawler) do good jobs with their characters while Apocalypse minions portrayed more as henchmen than the dreaded Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, come off weak and uninteresting. Munn's portrayal of Pyslocke which was something I was originally looking forward to and Angel were the worst of the bunch. Still the biggest problem most X-Men comic book fans will have with this movie is the wanton rewriting of X-Men lore. Of course this isn't really anything new with director Bryan Singer's more recent X-Men movies. Things like Mystique being a hero and leading the X-Men is somewhat hard to swallow. I know Lawrence has become a big name star since she first appeared in the X-Men franchise, but trying to make the Mystique character Katniss Everdeen just doesn't work well here. Still there are some good things in this movie. One particular scene featuring a certain feral mutant is done pretty well making a nice nod to both comic fans and those of the earlier X-Men films. I also enjoyed the very ending and am happy to see Fox finally giving fans something they have been wanting to see in these movies for a long time.
When it comes down to it, if you can handle all the changes in X-Men lore this movie brings, I think there is enough for you to enjoy, especially if you liked the previous X-Men movies.
Stan Lee has a brief cameo and at least for my screening, no after-credit scene. X-Men: Apocalypse opens in theaters on May 27, 2016.