The X-Men universe keeps on keepin’ on, and going in multiple directions and back again, it seems to have a never-ending universe. Characters first introduced in Bryan Singer’s first X-Men film in 2000, including Patrick Stewart’s Professor X and Ian McKellan’s Magneto, have now morphed (reverted?) into the younger James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, respectively. It seems only that the supposedly ageless Wolverine (played by aging Hugh Jackman) is stuck in his own time loop.
Apocalypse introduces teen versions of telekinetic Jean Grey (Game of Thrones‘ Sophie Turner) and Scott/Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), among (many) others. Charles Xavier (McAvoy) is running his School for Gifted Youngsters with the help of Hank/Beast (Nicholas Hoult), and Erik/Magneto (Fassbender) is trying to live a normal life in communist Poland. But with the awakening of perhaps the first mutant, a sort of Egyptian demi-god that is dubbed Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac, unrecognizable), all that is about to change.
Apocalypse, who mythologically surrounds himself with four henchmen (or horsemen, get it?) quickly gets some sidekicks and starts to absorb other mutants’ power (which happens to be the ultimate mutant ability, doesn’t it?). The jewel in the mutant crown is to be able to mentally connect to other and all mutants, so Apocalypse is very interested to find Xavier. In the meantime, someone with so much power can literally end the world, so there’s that.
X-Men: Apocalypse, which maybe is not necessarily memorable in the long run, is nothing but entertaining while you watch. Jennifer Lawrence as Raven, who is forced to be a sort of den mother to the teens, seems to be checking her watch, but Fassbender manages to effectively wreak emotion and grief, as he is wont to do, while McAvoy proves that if you put good actors in underwritten roles, the performance ends up better than the role warrants. The new players are all good, with the standout being the smirky Quicksilver (Evan Peters), who has great fun with his role.
The X-Men movies will go on and on, it seems, but I’ve always liked that they deal with unusual folks that society treats as outcasts for their differences. That issue seems timelier than ever in the current geopolitical climate, so as long as the films continue to be well made, I’ll be curious to see them.
The Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray release includes a multi-chapter group of interesting behind-the-scenes featurettes called X-Men: Apocalypse Unearthed, audio commentary by director Bryan Singer and writer Simon Kinberg, a gallery, gag reel, wrap party video, and deleted/extended scenes.