xmen-apocalypse

X-Men: Apocalypse is liable to thrill and offend audiences in equally extreme measure. I mean, come on, just consider the plot: the oldest mutant arises from his millennia-long sleep after being betrayed in ancient Egypt, and then he works to enact his plan to conquer humankind and establish mutants in their rightful place atop the new world order. The acting, direction, production design, makeup, and cinematography all match the grandiosity of this vision. To make it all work, Bryan Singer and team take a mix-and-match approach to the plotting, mining elements from the comics and the earlier X-Men films and recycling or rejecting them as they see fit. The result is unmistakably audacious and constantly thrilling. This is a movie in which a Holocaust survivor razes Auschwitz, and in many respects that is not even the most shocking moment.

This bombast asks a lot of the actors, but most of them acquit themselves well, or at least as well as they possibly can. As the titular baddie, Oscar Isaac weaves gold despite being caked under a mountain of purple makeup. This could easily be a ridiculous role, and it actually is, but it is also frightening, kind of hilarious, and deeply felt. Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy (Fassbender especially) benefit from drawing upon their earlier performances (and those of their predecessors). As Jean Grey, Sophie Turner must simultaneously be a novice and one of the most powerful beings in the world – she manages to pull off the appropriate dread and uncertainty. While not every character shines (an inevitability with a cast this big), Apocalypse is another example of an X-Men movie understanding its fundamental strength of a rainbow of unique powers. More than any other entry in the series, this is a film in which it truly feels like anything can happen.

I give X-Men: Apocalypse 8 Grand Speeches out of 10 Risers From the Ashes.

P.S.: Quicksilver’s signature scene tops the “Time in a Bottle” sequence from Days of Future Past, but even more jaw-dropping is the scene right before, in which Apocalypse legitimately destroys the status quo.

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