'X-Men: Apocalypse' - Movie Review

"X-Men: Apocalypse" is either the sixth, eighth, or ninth X-Men movie, depending on how you count. There's the original three: "X-Men," "X2", and "X-Men: The Last Stand." Then came 2009's appalling "Wolverine" or "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" as it's now been restyled. Then "X-Men: First Class" with a new cast, "The Wolverine," and "X-Men: Days of Future Past." That's my count (and I probably would have excluded the two Wolverine movies), but apparently Marvel (and/or Fox, who own the rights to the X-Men) consider "Deadpool" part of the pantheon, which doesn't really make sense to me ...

Anyway, we're currently trapped in the 1980s ... although we start in ancient Egypt, but that's mostly just silly. Then we move on to Magneto (still Michael Fassbender), who's built himself a quiet life in Poland with a wife and a kid. We're given a couple minutes to adjust to this idea, then they turn him back into a homicidal maniac again. And then Moira MacTaggart (who plays a much more significant role in the comics than she has in the films - played here by Rose Byrne) accidentally awakens the big bad who's been sleeping under an Egyptian pyramid for a couple thousand years. His name is En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac - a brilliant actor wasted on a stupid script, bad characterization, and bad make-up), but since we're instructed that the one thing he wants is apocalypse, that becomes his name. He recruits other mutants, starting with Storm (Alexandra Shipp, who gets fully ten or fifteen lines of dialogue), Psylocke (Olivia Munn in an ... interesting ... costume, who gets two lines) and Angel (Ben Hardy, who gets perhaps three lines). Character development is NOT a strength of this movie, despite its extended (2h30m) run-time. But don't worry: all of them see lots of action. Of course, they come up against Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and his school for talented youngsters. But we shouldn't forget Wolverine: Hugh Jackman shows up long enough to slaughter approximately fifty people, deliver one WORD of dialogue, and then he's gone again. That's all folks.

It's all a massive rehash of the previous five X-Men movies with no new ideas, a bunch of clich├ęs and a swath of bad acting by a large crew of actors capable of better. And in the middle of it, the director Bryan Singer (who directed the justly acclaimed first two movies, but not the rather poor third movie) sends several of the students to the local mall to see "Return of the Jedi" and uses the opportunity to have one of them say "well, I think we can all agree that the third movie is always the worst." That's a lot of gall from a man who can produce a piece of crap like this. This boring retread is just as bad as the movie it mocked and very nearly the worst in the series - the only saving grace is it's not as bad as "X-Men Origins: Wolverine."

About the only thing worthwhile about it was Kodi Smit-McPhee's limited screen time as Nightcrawler: he's not charismatic or pretty (and I think that's a good thing in a movie so full of pretty people), and brought a certain nervousness to the role that made him more interesting that just about anyone else on screen.

The 3D is fairly good. Not the best I've ever seen, but good.