The bar just keeps rising with superhero movies and X-Men: Apocalypse sees the latest of the Marvel saga skyrocket to a higher level.
Bryan Singer once again packages the X-Men in a visually-stunning, heart-thumping and mind-leaping manner that is befitting to the imagination of Chris Claremont who wrote the original comics.
The story centres in on our villain ‘Apocalypse’ whose mission, as his name suggests, is to see one final hoorah occur on earth.
Since the dawn of civilization, Apocalypse was worshipped as a god, yet in mutant form, he’s not the sort of god that sees a good, green, peaceful earth; rather one that’s unhappy with the planet’s lack of beauty and sanctuary, believing it deserves to be destructed, for the sake of starting afresh.
In his mission to destroy all, the nasty entity 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) try to lead their own team of young X-ers to stop their nemesis.
Now, don’t think that just because this film has ‘blockbuster’ stamped all over it, and that because it’s roots are grounded in brilliant comic legend, that the acting has been sacrificed. Indeed, it’s pretty darn good across the board.
Fassbender as Magneto is appealing, both as a do-gooder daddy (in the early scenes where he’s seen with his small family) and as a dissonant he-man (ie: gone bad temporarily due to his daughter being killed by the enemy).
James McAvoy as Charles Xavier, who runs the school for the gifted, may come across as too goody-goody at times, but he knows when to butch it up proper when morphing into Professor X.
Hugh Jackman, meanwhile, only gets a cameo role as the infamous Wolverine, hence doesn’t steal the show in this one. Still, his scene is a potent moment in itself.
There’s less of an all-is-doom-and-gloom vibe in this instalment of X-Men. The darkness is interrupted by one very bright and surreal scene where – to the soundtrack of the Eurythmics’ ‘Sweet Dreams’ – Peter Evans as Quicksilver has fun shifting ‘freeze-framed’ people and objects around while he’s busy swooshing about, trying to save a college from destruction. Suffice to say, it’s like watching a music video from the days when MTV was truly awesome.
The subplots, too, have gone from strength to strength, but you do have to wonder when this hyperbolically-inflated market of superheroes and super-powerful mutants is going to implode…
For now, though, enjoy the brilliant, bombs-and-all spectacle for the extravaganza that it is. Antonino Tati
‘X-Men Apocalypse’ is in cinemas now.
Click on the box top of story to view the trailer.