A lot of people are calling Split a kind of return-to-form for director M. Night Shyamalan. And it very much is. When he first appeared as the “new kid on the psychological thriller block” in 1999 with The Sixth Sense, M. Night seemed to have a successful formulaic approach to his films: Slow-burning, tense thrillers, with a big twist at the end that surprises audiences and encourages multiple viewings.
So the sixth (or eight, or ninth, depending on how you count) X-men film comes around, and we all know how this goes, right? Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and his gang of mutant superheroes the X-men have to fight some scheme to kill all mutants, mostly manifested in a physical confrontation against Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and his “Brotherhood” of bad guys. Somewhere in between Jennifer Lawrence‘s Mystique also pops up.
Except it looks like this time director Bryan Singer has something different in mind. I guess he watched some different movies in the interim, for inspiration. X-men: Apocalypse feels much more like a disaster movie – a Michael Bay or Roland Emmerich-style world-scale drama which kicks off in Ancient Egypt, introducing the first mutant – Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac). Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) discovers and inadvertently awakens the incredibly powerful mutant when, as an indirect result of the time-travel meddling in Days of Future Past, she investigates cults that believe in mutant gods.