Film: “X Men: Apocalypse”; Director: Bryan Singer; Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Evan Peters, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Olivia Munn, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alexandra Shipp, Luca Till, Josh Helman, Ben Hardy, Lana Condor, Zelko Ivanek and Anthony Konechny; Rating: **
A sci-fi fantasy, director Bryan Singer’s “X Men: Apocalypse” is the ninth film of the “X Men” series and the fourth to be directed by him.
This film concentrates on the Apocalypse aka En Sabah Nur, the super villain in the fictional Marvel comics Universe, but follows a familiar pattern of juxtaposing the rise of the world threatening villain in the original story of a young hero, in the most convoluted manner.
The narration begins in 3600 B.C. in the Nile Valley. The psychic mutant Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) is betrayed by his followers and is entombed alive, along with his lieutenants, the four horsemen.
Centuries later, in 1983, the narrative shuttles from Ohio in the US to East Berlin to Poland and finally back to Cairo in Egypt where Apocalypse is awakened.
Now believing that without his presence humanity has lost its way, Apocalypse decides to destroy the world and remake it in his image with the help of new recruits.
The crux of the tale is how a band of reluctant, newly-outed mutants who are nurtured by the psychic Professor Charles Xavier (McAvoy) along with Raven aka Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) team together to stop their frenemy Erik Lehnsherr (Fassbender), who is on the run and back in his old Magneto helmet helping Apocalypse in his endeavour.
Joining McAvoy, Fassbender and Lawrence are Nicholas Hoult as Beast, Rose Byrne as Moir Mc Taggart and Evan Peters as Quicksilver. Among the new entrants are Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse, Tye Sheridan as Scott Summers aka Cyclops, Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler and Olivia Munn as Betsy Braddock aka Psylocke.
The issues with this film, at least for those who are not well-versed with the Marvel Universe, are to keep track of the numerous characters along with their superpowers and the interlinking plotlines that weave the story.
Also, the writers have not invested much of the screen time in the emotional connect of the characters.
Instead, they have invested time in cosmic destruction and futile action that take place in apparently empty cities. It is also ridiculous to note how the characters manage to save themselves by the simple, old-fashioned and convenient way of hiding behind a wall, making the entire episode unbelievable.
Since it is narrated in a clunky manner, the viewing gets tedious.
Amid shots of bridges collapsing and skyscrapers turning into dust and metals getting sucked into space, defying gravitational pull, in classic 3D slow motion, there is a lot of generic, philosophical discussions between the characters about the nature of good and evil.
Visually, the film is a very rousing fare even if it does leave numerous, mind-boggling, loose ends and unanswered questions.
Technically, like any other Marvel production, “X-Men: Apocalypse” is a glossy film. Grant Major’s imposing production design in sequences set across multiple continents to Louise Mingenbach’s multifarious costumes, are brilliantly captured by cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel’s frames.
His live action shots along with composer John Ottman’s enchanting music and visual effects designer John Dykstra’s work, are seamlessly layered by editor Michael Louis Hill.
Overall, “X-Men: Apocalypse” with conflicting passions among its characters is neither lucid nor exciting.