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X-MEN: APOCALYPSE FEATURING HUGH JACKMAN

THE X-MEN MUPPET BABY FILMS SUSTAIN BREEZILY Year: 2016
The vessel has gone full circle. Not only do we begin with a mutant in a public display of fighting, like Wolverine in the first movie, but there's another great music montage scene liken to the last film, where Evan Peters, as Quicksilver, does his thing, befitting the particular era: last time it was Jim Croce in the 70's and "now", set in the techno 80's, The Eurythmics SWEET DREAMS plays as he quickly rescues a bunch of student mutants about to... Spoil the movie, although the title of this latest venture says plenty in what's become the FIRST CLASS cast as the X-MEN are more X-KIDS, not only before they become adults but, like the STAR TREK reboot, in an alternate timeline: the past is in the past and the future is, for the characters we once knew, started over again i.e. recycling.

There's one scene where three teenagers... just regular folk, not mutants... are walking out of the latest STAR WARS flick...Taking place in the "Pac Man Era," it isn't FORCE AWAKENS but RETURN OF THE JEDI circa 1983. One kid thinks (like most) that EMPIRE is the best, and to another the 1977 original is topnotch, while the wisest quips, "The third movie is always the worst" – and that's right at you, Bret 'Ewok' Ratner. His vehicle, number three in the original franchise, was the first feature not directed (or even produced) by the prime X-MEN guardian, Bryan Singer, whose first outing never does get a fair amount of credit for showing audiences that "modern" comic book movies can really work: before SPIDER-MAN, IRON MAN or AVENGERS...

Foreign Fassbender Poster
As a director, Singer has proven himself the best man for the job, in fact, maybe the only person who can do this series, his series, proper justice. But at times it feels he may be too close to the material. Particular scenes are extremely melodramatic and corny, like overhearing emotional family members opening up after a few strong drinks, and there are too many wink/nods at the audience about prior events: you may get tired of hearing: "Oh... Ha Ha... Yessss!" in the surrounding fan boy audience.

MOVIE RATING: ***
The first half of APOCALYPSE is by far the most intriguing, a setup for not only how this particular venture will pan out but laying the foundation for future films, and eventually, as happened in STAR TREK, getting us prepared, spaceship and all, for these Xers to slowly grow up and into their inevitable job, and future. There are stabs at humor other than token comic relief Quicksilver, but classy quips provided by Xavier about a pretty lady feels like someone's dad flirting with his daughter's slightly older friend (without being creepy). And Magneto's story, initially separate from the others, although pivotal and important since he's doomed to become the primary villain, is much too forced, begging for sympathy: Anikan Skywalker ring a bell?

The end (like many a comic book film the last decade) goes on too long. A searing battle against a new main villain who, shown in the prologue and having been around during the B.C. Pyramid age, is so powerful there's not much suspense. For a little while it's like watching The Little Rascals trying to take down Lucifer himself. But in all, APOCALYPSE finds various pockets to entertain those who are, in particular, big fans of the franchise, which is good and bad. With Singer at the helm, the new X-MEN is something you'll either embrace or scratch your head at. Meanwhile, Jennifer Lawrence makes her final appearance as the blue bombshell shape-shifter, seeming in a lethargic "gimme a paycheck" mode throughout. And yes, Wolverine shows up, practically falling in love with Jean Gray all over again, and this time she's half his age... It is an X-MAN's world, indeed.
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