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X-Men Apocalypse poster

It’s hard to find a week when there isn’t some big blockbuster superhero-style movie on offer. The X-Men franchise delivered its ninth movie (including the three standalone Wolverine spin-offs) shortly after Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War reigned at the box office.

X-Men: Apocalypse is the third in the rebooted series, having begun the mutants’ origins story with First Class which saw James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender take over the roles of Professor X and Magento from a couple of real-life Knights, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan, as their younger versions.

This instalment takes place ten years after the events of Days of Future Past when we find Charles Xavier now happily running his school for the “gifted” – like Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) – with the help of Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult). Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), is hopping around the world saving other mutants like Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) from themselves while trying not to turn blue. At the same time, young Scott Summers/Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) discovers he has laser-beam eyes and is quickly brought to Charles’ school by his older brother, Alex/Havok (Lucas Till).

Having left a massive trail of destruction in his wake ten years earlier, Erik (Magneto), disappeared into a quiet life in Poland until his true identity is discovered, ironically because he saved a co-worker’s life, and a face-off with his new friends lead to tragedy. It triggers Magneto to seek revenge and decide that the quiet life is not for him after all. However, unbeknownst to him, his son, Peter Maximoff/Quicksilver (Evan Peters), has arrived at the school wishing to find his father.

Meanwhile, Charles’ old flame, Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), has been following some suspicious activities in Egypt and discovers the resurrection of Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) – an ancient being that has lived for centuries by taking over new bodies as old ones die. It seems Apocalypse, as his name suggests, is hell-bent on the destruction of the world in order to create a new one, and always keeps with him a personal army akin to The Four Horsemen.

Apocalypse goes on a recruiting spree, starting with a local thief, Ororo Munroe/Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Psylocke (Olivia Munn) and Archangel (Ben Hardy). The final piece of the puzzle was, of course, convincing Magneto to complete the team.

Throughout the near two-and-half hours of this film, there is no clear explanation as to what Apocalypse hopes to gain from destroying the world, or really how his recruits were truly helping him in his endeavour. Sure, there are some amazing fight sequences in which Psylocke – having uttered perhaps all of three lines in the entire movie – demonstrate the best “superhero landings” amongst the group and also whose power seems to be having a built-in laser light sabre and whip emitting from her arms. Archangel’s feathered wings, having been clipped by Mystique when she rescued Nightcrawler from his fighting cage, was given new metal blade-like wings that are deadly, but surely too heavy for him to fly very far or very high.

The climactic battle, in which Magento seems to spend all his time floating meditatively, reminds me of the big battle in Big Hero 6. Quicksilver, having been killed off in the battle with Ultron in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is happily still alive and well in the Fox universe and has the best two minutes of screen time in the entire movie.

There are no surprises as to the outcome of this movie so don’t expect any. I went into this movie with low expectations and I was not disappointed. After having spent the last movie trying to convince the world that mutants are not bad people and the unseen intervening years apparently succeeding, I am not sure what the actions of Apocalypse have left behind.

Directed by Bryan Singer and written by Simon Kinberg, X-Men: Apocalypse opened across Australia on May 19.

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