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Author Topic: X-Men: Apocalypse (B)  (Read 2183 times)
dnwilliams
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« on: May 17, 2016, 08:56:04 PM »

When the X-Men franchise started in 2000, the cinematic landscape was radically different. Bryan Singer's first film ushered in the current wave of superhero movies, and the genre has evolved quite a bit since then. With X-Men: Apocalypse the relative restraint of early entries into the series is truly a thing of the past.  Where 16 years ago X-Men had Cyclops joke about yellow spandex, X-Men: Apocalypse features a Psylocke ripped directly from the pages of 90s Marvel comics, Storm sports her famed mohawk and, as the title suggests, the villain this time around is Apocalypse - an outlandish character that would most certainly have been out of place in Bryan Singer's millennial milestone.

The film opens in ancient Egypt, where venerated mutant En Sabuh Nur - Apocalypse himself - partakes in a ceremony that will transfer his consciousness into the body of another mutant, one with the ability to heal, ensuring that he will become immortal and rule the world for all eternity. Of course, things do not go according to plan, and Apocalypse is buried by those who oppose him. In the present day, the murderous mutant master of magnetism Magneto is now a family man, living peacefully among mankind, in secret. It’s almost the life that his psychic frenemy Charles Xavier would want for him, only he has to hide his mutant powers. Xavier's school for the gifted is now full of students, and more closely resembles the institution audiences were introduced to years back. The newest student to be enrolled is Scott Summers, soon to be known as Cyclops, who arrives at the school to deal with optic blasts that he can’t control. Scott makes progress with the aid of Hank McCoy, and along the way forms a bond with fellow student Jean Grey, who similarly struggles to fully control her abilities. However, just as things start to look good for Scott the world is plunged into chaos, when Magneto’s new life is threatened and Apocalypse rises from his tomb.

While there's definitely a new flavour to the proceedings, X-Men: Apocalypse does cover much of the same territory as the films that came before it, which will no doubt leave many unimpressed. If you have a strong affection for the characters though, you’re unlikely to be disappointed. When Apocalypse begins recruiting mutants to aid him in cleansing the world, he first comes across a street urchin who controls the weather to steal from a marketplace. With the liberties the X-Men franchise has taken with characters over the years, it’s refreshing to see Storm’s origins as outlined in the source material honoured in this way - there’s even lip-service to her status as a goddess, and a fleeting battle with Cyclops that should please fans. One significant drawback is the prominence of Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique, who becomes de facto team leader presumably by dint of being the most famous person in the film, like Hugh Jackman before her. Mystique just doesn’t work being focussed on in the way the film chooses to focus on her, not to mention that a famous face is completely at odds with Mystique’s power set and appearance. That aside, there’s plenty on hand to love. The X-Men films seem to be embracing the crazy in a big way (so much so that rumours the next instalment will head into space don't seem all that radical) and whether you view these developments as positive or negative will very much depend on where you're coming from as a viewer. It’s sprawling, disjointed, and downright weird, which has always been part of the appeal.
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