Direction: Bryan Singer
Actors: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac
Connoisseurs of splashy sci-fi spectacles along the lines of X2…, arguably the only compelling film in Marvel’s long-running X-Men franchise, are advised to curb their enthusiasm as they walk in to see the sixth installment (eighth, if you consider the two standalone Wolverine outings) of the series.
Competing with Michael Bay for the “cinema of excess” crown, director Bryan Singer who initiated the blockbuster saga back in 2000, orchestrates a headlong assault of action set-pieces, each louder and more incomprehensible than the last. Sadly, bigger doesn’t equal smarter.
After a laughably inept prologue set in Egypt circa 3600 BCE, which introduces us to the first and most powerful mutant from the X-Men universe, the narrative jump cuts to 1983.
Furious with the manner in which the modern world has evolved, the aptly monikered Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac, the Inside Llewyn Davis star, barely recognisable under dollops of make-up) rounds up a team of mean misfits and declares war on the human race.
Will the humanitarian professor (McAvoy) and his motley crew be able to save mankind from extinction? Or will his former friend-turned-archenemy (Fassbender) succeed in unleashing his inner demons to help create an invincible new world order?
The viewer will have to sit through an excruciating two-and-a-half hours to find out the answer.
Overstuffed with characters, the film is bereft of excitement, intelligence or any of the qualities normally associated with attention-grabbing adventures derived from the multi-panelled pages of comic books.
The screen time accorded the mutant mix, including Jennifer Lawrence as the blue-skinned shapeshifter, is annoyingly brief.
While juxtaposing several storylines at a dizzying rate, the script relies more on pseudo-profound pronouncements and less on the emotional bonds that bind the ultra-gifted recruits on both sides of the good vs evil divide.
A flashback interlude to the Auschwitz concentration camp in which the family of the nemesis apparently perished is in poor taste.
After 16 years, X-Men: Apocalypse leaves us hoping we are never subjected to such mutant malarkey again.