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X-Men: Apocalypse - Movie Review

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X-Men: Apocalypse - Movie Review

3 stars

Bryan Singer’s entry into the super hero genre at the turn of this century should never be underestimated. It was in an era when Warners had well and truly screwed the pooch with the Batman franchise, the only Marvel movie on offer was Blade (and what an offering it was), and the studios just weren’t beating down the doors to get these characters onto a silver screen. However, 20th Century Fox had secured the film rights to Marvel’s X-Men comic, and Singer, not known at the time for blockbusters, proved to be a big win for them in presenting an adaptation grounded in the real world inhabited with some of the best actors out there at the time. The original X-Men movie gave Fox what would be a lucrative and (for the first couple) universally acclaimed run in what would soon become a very saturated market.

This truly is a golden age for comic fans. Between the rise of Marvel (now the highest grossing film series of all time), Warners finally pressing the go button on their pantheon of DC characters, and 20th Century Fox, there is no character—no matter how obscure—that doesn’t have a chance of being made flesh in the dozens of films now being released every year.

With such volume, this isn’t the era where one of these films done well has a chance to stand out. Today’s audience is spoiled for choice, big tent pole budgets, with spectacle galore to feast their eyes on. It has to bring something extraordinary to stand out. If anyone has the chance to stand out in this demanding genre, it is Singer. But this is his fourth turn at an X-Men movie. Did he pull it off?

This one, set in the 1980’s, tells the story of an ancient Egyptian mutant En Sabah Nur (Oscar Issac), risen from a long entrapment to find the world he once ruled has gone soft in his eyes. Like any despotic villain, his solution is of course to wipe all but the worthy from the face of the earth, and it’s up to the X-Men to stop him.

Simon Kinberg, the writer of Days of Future Past, offers up another busy script that manages satisfying arcs for main protagonists, the highlight being Fassbender’s Magneto. This raises it to enjoyable, because to be honest the main plot and villain is rather hackneyed and dull. Had there not been Singer’s patented exploration of character this would be a very different review.

Apocalypse adds a lot of new faces in familiar roles, so Singer has now cast the roles twice. The first time, he got to cast Oscar winners and actors of high regard. He’s gone for a lot of relatively unknowns this time, and for the most part successfully. Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey didn’t work for me; her performance was a bit inconsistent. Aussie Kodi Smit-McPhee was a highlight as the new Nightcrawler. Evan Peters also stood out in his Quicksilver role with a meaty expansion to his character this time around.

The word that springs to mind when all is said and done in this film is competent. It’s well written, well performed, the spectacle is amazing, it has a little bit of soul, it’s a decent offering. But in a flooded market of Avengers and who knows what, it isn’t enough to rise above the congestion. I have to believe if any filmmaker is capable of rising above the conventions of these films to deliver something special it is Bryan Singer. As Deadpool proved this year, we are hungry for it. If he does the next one, supposedly set in the 90’s, I urge him to get braver with the structure, and surprise us. I believe he’s capable.

X-Men: Apocalypse - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of violence, action and destruction, brief strong language and some suggestive images
Runtime:
144 mins
Director
: Bryan Singer
Writer:
Simon Kinberg
Cast:
James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence
Genre
: Action | Adventure  | Sci-Fi
Tagline:
Only the strong will survive
Memorable Movie Quote: "Forget everything you think you know, you're not students anymore! You're X-Men!"
Distributor:
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Official Site: http://www.foxmovies.com/movies/x-men-apocalypse
Release Date:
May 27, 2016
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: Following the critically acclaimed global smash hit X-Men: Days of Future Past, director Bryan Singer returns with X-Men: Apocalypse. Since the dawn of civilization, he was worshipped as a god. Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant from Marvel's X-Men universe, amassed the powers of many other mutants, becoming immortal and invincible. Upon awakening after thousands of years, he is disillusioned with the world as he finds it and recruits a team of powerful mutants, including a disheartened Magneto (Michael Fassbender), to cleanse mankind and create a new world order, over which he will reign. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) with the help of Professor X (James McAvoy) must lead a team of young X-Men to stop their greatest nemesis and save mankind from complete destruction.

No details available.

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