Critics Consensus

X-Men: Apocalypse Is a So-So Superhero Slugfest

Plus, Alice Through the Looking Glass is short on magic, and Roots is profoundly powerful.

by and | May 26, 2016 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got mutant mayhem (X-Men: Apocalypse, starring James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender) and a return to Wonderland (Alice Through the Looking Glass, starring Mia Wasikowska and Johnny Depp). What do the critics have to say?


X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) 47%

The X-Men series has been through a reboot and a couple of spinoff franchises at this point, and all that history is a bit of a mixed blessing — on the one hand, it’s that much easier for each new entry to take advantage of the team’s decades of history in print; on the other, it gets progressively more difficult to do justice to each character as the cast and crowded mythology expand. Sadly, although it tries to honor the comics by bringing a key villain’s saga to life, critics say X-Men: Apocalypse stumbles under the weight of a muddled storyline that can’t fully do justice to its core components — and eventually falls back on the CGI Sturm und Drang that has reduced far too many superhero sequels to digital noise in the final act.


Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016) 29%

Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland had a great cast and incredible special effects, but it wasn’t exactly a critical darling. Lukewarm reviews notwithstanding, it made an absolute ton of money worldwide — which is why, even though Burton’s no longer in the director’s chair, Alice Through the Looking Glass was a foregone conclusion. Alas, although the core members of the cast are back (including Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Depp, and Anne Hathaway), critics say new director James Bobin brings even less of the source material’s delightful whimsy to this follow-up, sacrificing Lewis Carroll’s classic stories on a brightly colored altar of computer-generated chaos.


What’s Hot on TV

Roots: Miniseries (2016) 96%

A powerfully impressive — and still relevant — update on a television classic, Roots boasts remarkable performances, deep emotion, and occasionally jarring beauty.


All the Way (2016) 88%

Anchored by Bryan Cranston‘s phenomenal performance as LBJ, All the Way is an engrossing portrayal of a complicated man during a pivotal moment in US history.


Wayward Pines: Season 2 (2016) 43%

Wayward Pines drifts away from the intrigue and mystery established during its debut season, slipping into a dull, repetitive, and trite narrative.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Lasseter's Bones (2016) , a documentary about an 85-year-old man searching the desert for a treasure his father claimed to have found in 1931, is at 100 percent.
  • Presenting Princess Shaw (2016) , a documentary about the retirement home employee who became a YouTube star, is at 89 percent.
  • Jia Zhangke, a Guy from Fenyang (2016) , a documentary about the celebrated Chinese filmmaker, is at 80 percent.
  • Chevalier (2016) , a dramedy about six well-heeled Greeks aboard a boat who engage in an ill-defined but heated competition, is at 77 percent.
  • The Ones Below (2016) , starring Clémence Poésy and David Morrissey in a thriller about the twisted relationships between two couples in the same apartment building, is at 74 percent.
  • Unlocking the Cage (2016) , a documentary about attorney Steven Wise and his attempt to get legal protection for animals, is at 71 percent.
  • The Idol (Ya Tayr El Tayer) (2016) , a fictionalized retelling of Palestinian Muhammad Assaf’s attention-grabbing run on Arab Idol, is at 71 percent.
  • To Life (À la vie) (2016) , a drama about three Holocaust survivors who reunite years later at a French seaside town, is at 60 percent.
  • Holy Hell (2016) , a documentary about a man who spent nearly 25 years as the videographer for a cult, is at 58 percent.

Tag Cloud

The Witch NYCC TCA 2017 historical drama Chernobyl adventure Esquire Extras Tubi GoT comics GIFs Cartoon Network blaxploitation Countdown Star Trek movies AMC indie Columbia Pictures crime thriller Comic Book award winner Character Guide cops Reality Competition documentary 2019 San Diego Comic-Con Superheroe Film Festival children's TV ABC Family American Society of Cinematographers Avengers crossover Mudbound Mary poppins Mystery doctor who DC Comics Grammys ratings Starz justice league Disney Plus Year in Review Freeform finale 2015 First Look dc Nat Geo Opinion TCA Winter 2020 DGA Red Carpet binge National Geographic Cannes cancelled transformers animated Pride Month Schedule adaptation Disney Channel slashers TIFF Tumblr 2016 24 frames Rocketman mockumentary DirecTV YouTube Premium Quiz jamie lee curtis hispanic Turner Classic Movies natural history spider-man screenings VICE Hallmark Christmas movies what to watch Fox News Horror HBO blockbuster biography Summer Amazon Prime Drama Box Office Women's History Month serial killer Crunchyroll YouTube Red SXSW Showtime anthology Hallmark toy story Shudder Pixar Sneak Peek Apple TV+ IFC USA Network TV PBS psycho YA Podcast Binge Guide VH1 zombie Shondaland canceled robots Rom-Com Trophy Talk Ovation Biopics LGBT movie teaser Nominations Certified Fresh Acorn TV crime Superheroes spanish language miniseries Reality cancelled television BBC America casting sag awards rotten movies we love facebook social media TLC Premiere Dates OneApp Best and Worst latino cars Logo BBC composers Interview Action docudrama Family Peacock Comics on TV cancelled TV shows Disney+ Disney Plus Elton John boxoffice New York Comic Con DC Universe TBS Captain marvel Netflix cooking Fantasy Sundance TV SundanceTV crime drama renewed TV shows cinemax Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Paramount Paramount Network talk show President See It Skip It canceled TV shows ghosts Thanksgiving Fall TV Christmas Rocky Watching Series FX CNN Valentine's Day IFC Films Classic Film Apple TV Plus Infographic History Musical Marathons spain Turner Creative Arts Emmys 71st Emmy Awards independent Britbox dramedy zombies Mary Tyler Moore Western unscripted WarnerMedia reboot Crackle series Nickelodeon book ITV game show Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Calendar Set visit El Rey travel 45 The Arrangement Trailer true crime halloween Television Academy ABC E3 game of thrones Marvel Television MCU TV Land Sony Pictures Syfy Walt Disney Pictures political drama CMT CW Seed Epix DC streaming service GLAAD APB MSNBC zero dark thirty Star Wars golden globes television 20th Century Fox 007 PaleyFest politics Lifetime BET versus 2018 Amazon richard e. Grant comic psychological thriller Ghostbusters Awards streaming revenge discovery USA strong female leads witnail Writers Guild of America batman cats Universal Sci-Fi Vudu YouTube First Reviews MTV Mindy Kaling science fiction Country cancelled TV series technology stand-up comedy elevated horror Food Network Mary Poppins Returns Pet Sematary Apple Comedy Central Netflix Christmas movies The Walking Dead LGBTQ singing competition ESPN Election OWN NBC Super Bowl spy thriller Holidays Marvel Studios Amazon Prime Video Musicals diversity sequel Film joker TCA Adult Swim cults Emmy Nominations Teen tv talk Black Mirror aliens Comedy 2017 SDCC Toys RT History nature Spring TV romantic comedy cartoon TV renewals FXX RT21 Trivia Animation TNT free movies sports anime Marvel TruTV disaster Oscars Lucasfilm Endgame space Spike A24 medical drama Sundance comiccon Lifetime Christmas movies Sundance Now Spectrum Originals Song of Ice and Fire Disney Hulu romance harry potter Stephen King Polls and Games Winners CBS name the review Ellie Kemper kids Pirates Anna Paquin Tomatazos HBO Max breaking bad Baby Yoda green book Disney streaming service Brie Larson foreign CBS All Access Cosplay Warner Bros. dceu Dark Horse Comics hist vampires Bravo war Discovery Channel Rock screen actors guild X-Men sitcom based on movie 21st Century Fox A&E supernatural Pop Holiday Tarantino Video Games christmas movies directors video TCM Awards Tour period drama thriller south america quibi The Purge werewolf police drama spinoff E! Kids & Family dragons mutant Photos WGN Emmys Martial Arts 2020 Music The CW festivals Academy Awards Masterpiece FOX Heroines Winter TV Lionsgate Arrowverse theme song