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X-Men: Apocalypse - DVD Review

X-Men: Apocalypse

Review by Rob Carnevale and Chris Sparkes

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

THE third film this year to pit superheroes against each other, X-Men: Apocalypse does a decent enough job without ever really blowing you away.

Bryan Singer’s film ticks a lot of the right boxes in terms of visual spectacle and raising the stakes for his characters. But it’s nowhere near as slick as Marvel’s standard-bearer Civil War and comes burdened with many problems.

The story moves the action to the 80s and revives one of the most dangerous mutants in Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), a God-like, vengeful being who is determined to bring the world to an end and start again in a bid to right past wrongs.

In doing so, he recruits four Horsemen, including Magneto (Michael Fassbender), who has been forced out of hiding following another tragedy. Standing in their path, meanwhile, is Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) and his band of mutants, whose loyalty to each other and strength will be sorely tested.

Singer’s film, his fourth in total and second post-comeback with Days of Future Past, relies on many of the same themes (equality, humanity, loyalty, etc) and is at its most effective when examining some of these.

It’s also at its most enjoyable when concentrating on the characters who have guided us to this point so far, with Fassbender, McAvoy and Jennifer Lawrence all putting in good work despite less overall screen-time.

The arrival of lots of new mutants, however, means many more introductions are required. But while some show flashes to get you excited (Nightcrawler, Angel), it upsets the film’s momentum and its overall emotional grip, while also struggling to escape the feeling that Singer is lining up his next generation – especially as there are some who get lost in the mix.

Singer is also content to let Quicksilver (Evan Peters) once again be the film’s scene-stealer, this time having him employ his frozen time skills in a burning building and thereby nodding to a franchise highpoint. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) also gets a moment to vent some rage during one of the film’s more violent sequences – which, along with several other sequences, push the 12A boundary.

But by nodding to the past, and even tossing in some movie in-jokes (including one about third movie syndrome), the director does open himself up to easy criticism, both in terms of how Apocalypse compares to past X-Men films and other third entries.

By no means as weak as some of those in the latter category (X-Men: The Last Stand included), it lacks the freshness of First Class, or the standard setting brilliance of X2, emerging as a somewhat routine entry into the superhero canon.

It also poses some very valid questions about just where the franchise goes from here (and who will go with it).

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 144mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: November 7, 2016