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“X-Men: Apocalypse” is another epic mutant battle

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Did you know that the X-Men franchise is currently the longest running superhero franchise out there? Well, it is, which might surprise you. Though it didn’t get off the ground as early as the Batman or Superman franchises did, this one, which got going about 16 years ago, has managed to put out more product and sustain with the same creative team longer than any others. It’s to some degree a testament to quality, while also showing off how valuable a product it is. The latest in that assembly line? Why, none other than the sequel X-Men: Apocalypse, of course. Opening on Friday, this new outing for the mutant heroes looks to avoid the comic book movie fatigue that could be setting in this year, before the summer even starts, to boot. How is it? Well, read on to find out…

This sequel, now I believe the eighth overall in the franchise (including spinoffs), is the latest in detailing the adventures of the X-Men. Set in the 1980’s, a decade after the last mission, we see Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and his pupils tasked with fighting off the very first mutant, the basically immortal title character of Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac). Awakened after over 1000 years of slumber, he’d like to take over the world and rule humanity, and sets out to do so. He has four horsemen to help with his attempt, including the antihero Magneto (Michael Fassbender). As for the X-Men, it’ll be up to Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and company to save the day once again. Bryan Singer is in the director’s chair one more time here, with the script coming from Simon Kinberg, based on a story by Kinberg, Singer, Michael Dougherty, and Dan Harris. The cast, besides those mentioned above, include Rose Byrne, Ben Hardy, Josh Helman, Nicholas Hoult, Olivia Munn, Evan Peters, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Lucas Till, Sophie Turner, and more…including perhaps a cameo by everyone’s favorite mutant.

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I can’t say that I was wild about X-Men: Apocalypse, though it’s hardly a bad film, just one that often seems to be going through the motions. Fans of the franchise will probably find it to be middle of the road, though I think it’s one of their lesser outings. Better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine and X-Men: The Last Stand, the flicks falls short of X-Men, while paling in comparison to Wolverine, X-Men: First Class, and X-Men: Days of Future Past. Isaac especially is wasted as the villain here, given nothing to do. Fassbender and Lawrence shine once again though, so there’s that at least.

Once again, it’s possible that the movie could be up for awards, but this franchise doesn’t usually score too strongly with the Academy. In fact, only once before has an X-Men title been nominated for an Oscar, and that was X-Men: Days of Future Past in the Best Visual Effects category. That’s the one to focus on here as well for this one, though I suppose you could also claim that it might be in play for Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Hairstyling & Makeup, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing as well. I suspect they’ll be long shots, but it’s worth mentioning. In all likelihood, it’s Visual Effects or bust for this blockbuster.

Overall, I think this week’s release of X-Men: Apocalypse represents an acceptable enough new superhero tale, but it’s nothing to be too excited about. Nowhere near as good as Captain America: Civil War or Deadpool, both of which are terrific, this is closer to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, though your mileage may vary as to which one is the superior title. I met this X-Men sequel with indifference for the most part, though it does have a solid scene or two to keep you going. You can do better at the cinema right now, but you can also do plenty worse too. As such, I suppose this is worth seeing…

Be sure to check out X-Men: Apocalypse, in theaters everywhere this weekend!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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