“X-Men: Apocalypse” is the 9th installment in the much-beloved, Marvel Comics franchise launched back in 2000. This episode is the 4th directed by the series’ originator, Bryan Singer, whose sophisticated touch always allows an audience to enjoy a relatively-cerebral cinematic experience.
Thus, this character-driven adventure includes not only the trademark action sequences featuring flamboyant exhibitions of superpowers but also an absorbing plotline that keeps the brain engaged for the duration of the story. The upshot is a film for kids of all ages that’s memorable for more than its state-of-the-arts special f/x.
The fun starts in Cairo in 1983, which is where we we find the ancient mutant Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) rising from the dead. Disenchanted with the world’s current state of affairs, he decides to destroy civilization and start over.
Although Apocalypse is already the most powerful mutant around, he recruits a quartet of renegades to assist him in his nefarious endeavor. Dubbed the Four Horsemen, the confederacy is composed of Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Psylocke (Olivia Munn) and Archangel (Ben Hardy), representing War, Famine, Pestilence and Death, respectively.
It is almost too late by the time the forces of good finally catch wind of Apocalypse’s diabolical scheme, as cities from New York to Sydney are suddenly under attack. And when X-Men leader Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) falls under Apocalypse’s spell, his protege, shape-shifting Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), rises to the occasion to rally the next-generation of mutants in the defense of the embattled planet.
Among her cohorts are telekinetic Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), teleporting Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee, supersonic Quicksilver (Evan Peters), brawny and brilliant Beast (Nicholas Hoult), laser-eyed Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) and CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne). Initially, they prove no match for Apocalypse, who has been harnessing an assortment of awesome powers for several millennia.
Only by pooling their skills and resources very effectively are our intrepid protagonists able to conquer evil, save the free world and thereby survive for another sequel.
Excellent (3.5 stars)
Rated PG-13 for violence, action, destruction, suggestive images and brief profanity
In English, German, Polish, Arabic and Ancient Egyptian
Running time: 144 minutes
Distributor: 20th Century Fox