It’s funny how so much work has been put into erasing X-Men: The Last Stand from existence. First Class introduced the younger generation of mutants, Days of Future Past changed the future timeline while handing the reins over to the younger generation for good, and now Apocalypse ties things up for the younger generation, allowing the new younger generation to take over. It feels simultaneously like a final chapter and a prologue to a new series of films.
The story: The first mutant, Apocalypse, awakens and begins his quest to reshape a world that he feels has lost its way, and it’s up to a ragtag group of young mutants and older veterans of the now-defunct group known as X-Men to stop him. Also, it’s the 80’s.
I loved what was done for the characters, especially Magneto, Mystique, and Jean Grey, but the whole thing feels like so much set-up for future films that there’s no feeling of closure at the end. The filmmakers have talked about how this is the final film of the current trilogy, but it feels more like Avengers: Age of Ultron in that it spends all its time setting things up for future, better installments and spends only a cursory amount of time on creating a satisfying plot.
It’s still an entertaining film, and there are amazing moments featuring many fan favorites (especially Quicksilver, who very nearly steals the show), but it just doesn’t really come together into something that can stand on its own. This and Days of Future Past both feel like “pardon our construction” signs that distract the audience while resetting the timeline for future installments.
When it ends, you get the sense that the director is saying, “OK, now we can get back to the series. Thank you for your patience.”