Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why 'X-Men' Series Could Bounce Back from Critically Panned 'Apocalypse'

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why 'X-Men' Series Could Bounce Back from Critically Panned 'Apocalypse'

Article excerpt

The newest film in the "X-Men" franchise, "X-Men: Apocalypse," is now in theaters, but so far it's received negative reviews from critics.

"Apocalypse" is the newest film starring the current "X-Men" franchise actors, including Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, and Michael Fassbender. Also along for this movie are actors including Sophie Turner, Olivia Munn, Tye Sheridan, Oscar Isaac, and Alexandra Shipp.

In the movie series, "X-Men: Days of Future Past" (2014), the previous film, was a particular success with critics and also did very well at the box office.

Yet the franchise seems to have stumbled with "Apocalypse," which Monitor film critic Peter Rainer gave a C+, writing, "Mutants galore infest 'X-Men: Apocalypse,' but the pile-on quickly become wearying ... the storyline, such as it is, would have benefited from major pruning."

Can the "X-Men" series recover critically from this badly received film?

Future films may also be poorly reviewed, but the "X-Men" series has done it before, as have fellow superhero series such as the "Batman" films and the "Spider-Man" series. How did they do it?

The X-Men appeared on the big screen in the early 2000s with "X- Men," "X-Men 2," and then "X-Men: The Last Stand" (2006). "Stand" was a box office hit but was not well-reviewed.

So the series brought the characters back to basics, eschewing the contemporary setting of the first few films for a 1960s-set prequel that showed how series characters Professor Xavier (Mr. McAvoy), Magneto (Mr. Fassbender), and Mystique (Ms. Lawrence) met. While this movie, "X-Men: First Class," was low-grossing compared to other films in the series, it was better-received critically than "X- Men: The Last Stand" and brought on the actors that then starred in the success "Days of Future Past."

The "Batman" film series was another set of movies that brought its story back to the beginning to reinvent itself creatively. …

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