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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

X-Men: Age of Apocalypse

The latest entry of the X-Men saga is the sixth (or the ninth if you count ‘Deadpool’ and the two ‘Wolverine’ spin-offs) in the long-running franchise that began way back in 2000.  Applying the ‘Star Wars’ chronology to the series would make ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ Episode 3, following ‘X-Men: First Class’ and ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ but prior to the events of the original trilogy.

Set during the Cold War Reagan era in 1983, ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ brings another popular X-Men story arc to the big screen by featuring one of its greatest villains, the original alpha mutant En Sabah Nur, aka “Apocalypse.”  Extremely powerful both physically and in the astral/psychic dimension, Apocalypse can also augment/enhance the powers of other mutants, which he put to good use in recruiting his biblical “four horsemen”: Pestilence (Psylocke), Death (Angel), Famine (Storm) and War (Magneto).  Like the rogue AI Ultron in Avengers 2, Apocalypse has a god complex and seeks to remake the world in his own vision, which can only be realized by tearing down the existing world order and starting afresh.  Needless to say, that doesn’t bode well for humanity.  Can Professor X, Mystique, Beast, the non-mutant Moira MacTaggert and a handful of young protégés including Cyclops, Nightcrawler and Quicksilver put a stop to his plans?  Of course they can, but you have to watch the movie to find out how they do it.

Notwithstanding the negative reviews citing its “tired” plot, “too many” characters and “clichéd” villain, I find ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ to be an immensely fun and enjoyable superhero flick with its near perfect blend of action, character development and humor.  It even features a great cameo from Hugh Jackman.  Maybe these critics are simply tired of another X-Men movie (this is the ninth film with at least one X-Men in it over the past 17 years after all), but all I can say is “give me more!”  I also love the fact that each movie in this series is steeped in historical flavor and set in a different decade, which means the next installment should be taking place in the 1990’s.  Director Bryan Singer has a gift for storytelling and depicting characters we care about, and with ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ he demonstrates once again why our beloved “uncanny” X-Men remains the most successful and lucrative Marvel film franchise outside of the official MCU.

Grade: A

Forget Team Captain America and Team Iron Man.    It's "Team Defend" versus "Team Destroy" baby!
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