X-Men: Apocalypse

Viciously criticized by many reviewers, I have to say that this was an enjoyable film on many levels.

X-Men ApolcalypseWhile some of you may disagree, X-Men: Apocalypse is a “super hero” movie that transcends that cheap characterization. Broken down to its basics, it is far better than the recent box office hits Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). Filled with great actors, a fantastic musical score by John Ottman and a dazzling array of special effects, it is a film that finds a way to grab you emotionally by its conclusion.

Having played one of the heroes in last year’s Disney blockbuster hit Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, Oscar Isaac switches roles in Director Bryan Singer’s new film. Playing the villain Apocalypse, a poor soul artificially created thousands of years ago in Ancient Egypt, he may be the world’s oldest mutant.

Here, he returns to take revenge on a world that leaves him completely disgusted. With the help of mutants whom he is able to brainwash, he doesn’t need to mess with a flood that would allow Noah to survive on an ark, as there is no reason to save Noah anyway.

The strength of this movie flows from a cast of young actors whose energy succeeds in making you a part of their struggle. Sure, James McAvoy returns as Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbender as the psychologically confused Magneto, but young performers like Nicholas Hoult (Beast), the very funny Evan Peters (Quicksilver) and the scene stealing Kodi Smit-McPhee (Nightcrawler) command your attention throughout the film.

However, what makes this film work is a group of young women, both villains and heroines, who stand ready to kick ass and don’t need to ask men for help. As expected, Jennifer Lawrence returns as a dominant force in a relatively small role as Mystique, but it is Sophie Turner who captures your attention playing Jean Grey. Additionally, you should not overlook the strong performances of Alexandra Shipp (Storm) and Olivia Munn (Psylocke), who both fall under Apocalypse’s control after being brainwashed.

To the extent that it matters, Hugh Jackman makes a brief appearance as Wolverine, a guy who is enduring medical experiments while being held by human forces. Though he does little more than engage in an escape plan that benefits no one, it was still rewarding to see that he is alive and kicking.

And for those of you who view films like X-Men as lacking any type of meaning, let me refer you to an opening sequence where Fassbender is working undercover in a factory in Poland as he lives happily with his wife and young daughter. When his powers are discovered after he saves a co-worker from death, his wife and daughter suffer a cruel fate that will leave you close to wiping tears from your eyes. Sure, Fassbender’s Magneto decides once more to lay waste to a world that he detests, and yet you really couldn’t blame him.