Caleb’s review published on Letterboxd:
"This is your fault, Charles."
As it became clear that Apocalypse was getting a weaker reception from audiences and critics alike, and it even showed in the box office. The MCU became all the rage at the time, as Civil War became a huge hit with audiences and critics alike. While we might've heard of the behind-the-scenes drama with Dark Phoenix, I would definitely point to 2016 when two major superhero brands took a turn, for better and worse. Of course, Logan remains an outlier as Fox took a chance at a R-rated farewell to easily the most beloved character in all of X-Men. For the record, I actually really enjoy Apocalypse, even if it's kind of messy from a narrative standpoint, and if I have to be frank, kind of squandered its potential. But I took what was given, and had a fun time.
Now, as the MCU has become so large, and had a tremendous wrap-up in Endgame as we said goodbye to several characters, and it's hard to think that the executives would think to try and take cues from the MCU. They certainly have, yet I think Fox sort of remains the outlier as they at least took chances, for the better and worse. They took a chance at R-rated films, such as Deadpool and Logan,and I think they should be applauded for it, even if they're likely out of touch. They took chances, and that alone should receive plenty of credit. It's what movies are about. Taking chances at stories not yet told, or in this case, already told but in a better way. I can't say I fully support X-Men being sold to Disney, as I think healthy competition between brands should be encouraged. We get less of that, and I fear innovation in the superhero genre might wane, but that's just the cynic in me. I just wanted to get this out as I'm kind of bittersweet that Disney might not bring out stories we'd like to see on screen the way Fox would, if that makes sense.
For starters, this film is pretty grim. The so-called (and overused criticism) MCU "quips" are put to a minimum. It's squarely focused on the "event", and the X-Men's reaction to it, much like Apocalypse was. I might even say this succeeded with hitting some things home in ways that Apocalypse didn't, but nothing's perfect.
The performances are pretty solid across the board, with Sophie Turner and James McAvoy being the bright spots. Just another reason to be sad about the X-Men going to Disney, but I have faith they'll find right actors. To me, Sophie Turner made for an excellent Jean Grey here, though I think she left something to be desired in Apocalypse, but she clearly benefits with being the main focus. I really enjoyed McAvoy's performance, and I liked how it made sense. Let's just say he becomes a massive dick, but the writing actually does help it to come together when we're all used to the Xavier we've seen onscreen for years.
Overall, I had fun. I enjoyed it. Some things were definitely half-baked, but the action scenes were pretty fun. The performances are solid, and I liked how small it was. It was personal, and it did drive that home. It's very far from trash that some people wants it to be.
We'll see how things turn out for the X-Men 5 or 7 years down the line. Maybe it would've been for the better that they end up in Disney's hands. Maybe it should've stayed in Fox's. Either way, I enjoyed the journey. It had ups and downs, but it's pretty different from the MCU, and it feels like plucking a comic book from the stands and you just start reading it, regardless of continuity. I enjoyed that. Anyway, here's to a fresh start, I guess.