Dr. Jon Suter, Movie Man

This Week’s Review: X-Men: Apocalypse

The Memorial Day weekend was memorable in many ways.  I spent part of that weekend watching X-Men: Apocalypse, and it was great fun.  This is either the eighth or ninth movie in the series, but it is probably the best one.  I will certainly see it again.

The cast is good, but one of the film’s strongest points is its links to other films in the series; e.g.,how did Wolverine end up in the Canadian wilderness in the very first film?  Since the three latest films are prequels to the earlier films, the characters are much younger. We learn how Jean Gray became the Phoenix, how Cyclops learned to control his optic blasts, and, most important, how Professor Xavier lost his hair.  There are also some battles interspersed with the character development.  (There are some problems with continuity, particularly with Nightcrawler; there are also contradictions with the Quicksilver character.)

The villain is supposedly a mutant born in the early days of humanity.  The opening sequence shows his unsuccessful attempt to solidify his hold on ancient Egypt;  the scene reminded me of similar openings in The Mummy and the recent Gods of Egypt.  When he awakens in 1983, he announces his intention of purifying the earth of the plague of humans.  I don’t think you can be more villainous than that.  “Apocalypse” is the name someone applies to him, but he also claims that he has been almost every deity ever worshipped by humans.  Some may be offended by his free use of the name Jehovah and by a statement from another character that he inspired the Bible.

Apocalypse has to replace his human form every now and then, and he has decided to meld his current form with that of a certain wheelchair-bound Professor Xavier so that he can gain Xavier’s mental powers.  That sets up a final battle that is a triumph of computerized movie making.  This sort of movie was impossible at the time the original comic books came out in the 1960s; I am glad I have lived long enough to see them brought to the screen.

It is worth the time to sit through all the credits; there is a teaser at the end that gives hints about the next Wolverine movie.

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