HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: X-Men Apocalypse
HTS Overall Score:87
I’m surprised that the “X-Men” franchise has been able to pull itself out of complete annihilation after the decidedly mediocre “X3” and the abysmal spinoff, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, which pretty much put the franchise into a tailspin with no hope of ever getting out as Fox pretty much cancelled all its upcoming spinoffs after that debacle. The idea to reboot the cast and start them out back in the 1970s was a risky move with “X-Men: First Class”. Still, it worked out well and the new cast seems to have found a new following, but the cry for the director and creator of the first two films that launched the series was too great and Bryan Singer was called back to do “Days of Future Past” which acted as a hybrid film, blending the cast of the original 3 and new film in a great sendoff to the fan favorites. Now a short couple of years later and we have him directing the 4th film of the six movie pack, with decidedly weaker results than “Days of Future Past”
It’s been 10 years since Magneto (Michael Fassbender) had tried to kill the President of the United States and Wolverine had gone back in time to stop the complete and utter destruction of the mutant (and human) race. Now we’re in the 80s and Charles Xavier is set on turning his school for the gifted into a full time gig. All is going swimmingly until Moira Mactaggert (Rose Byrne) witnesses a strange hidden ceremony in modern day Egypt that brings rise to one of the most terrifying mutants ever known. En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaacs). En Sabah Nur is the world’s FIRST mutant, and has survived using his celestial armor that he acquired from aliens thousands of years ago (not shown in the movie sadly) and the ability to transfer himself into a new body when his gets old. He is the harbinger of death, the destroyer of worlds, and every thousand years or so he awakens from his slumber to cleanse the earth through fire, and let it rebuild itself. Well, most of this explained in the movie, but sadly it is very minimal compared to the actual comments. Something I was a tad frustrated with.
With En Sabah Nur (nicknamed Apocalypse by our trust ex-X-Men) on the loose it’s only a matter of time before Charles and the rest of the mutant forces band together and wipe out the enormous threat. Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) has already answered to the call, but Magneto has fallen under the spell of Apocalypse and become one of his four horsemen (4 mutants that the godlike being tweaks their powers to the max so as to create incredibly powerful minions) and being seemingly invincible makes for an enemy that very well may doom all of humanity for another dark ages.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=81321[/img]“X-Men: Apocalypse” happens to be the most similar feeling film to Bryan Singer’s earlier X-Men movies, with a decidedly comic book feel to it. The villain is perfectly hammy (with a fantastic actor under a TON of makeup), showing off his mustache twirling and evil plan with glorious gusto. The inclusion of a new cast of old faces make for a great time too. Newcomers Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Angel (or Archangel here, played by Ben Hardy) and Jean Gray (Sophie Turner) bring back the characters that we all know and love, albeit in an odd way at times.
Much of the timeline in the X-Men world is a bit hinky. Things get retconned in the comics all the time and things don’t really always line up. Even the reboot of “First Class” showed us a few cracks in the timeline by retconning certain events made canon in “X-Men” and “X3”. However this is the first time in the cinema series that you REALLY see some really big changes. In “Days of Future Past” the timeline was kind of reset a bit to blend in with the old characters, but “Apocalypse” deviates DRASTICALLY from the way things unfolded in the past and does so with an abandon likened to “Star Trek 2009”. Even elements of “Days of Future Past” are shifted to the side (like Mystique being the one to find Wolverine at the bottom of the lake and take him to become “Weapon X” in Striker’s form, only to have him found at Alkali Lake with the ACTUAL Colonel Striker). If you can get by some of that hinkyness then the movie is really a lot of cheesy X-Men fun. Things go boom, and mutants unleash their powers in awesome ways.
As much fun as it is, I can’t deny the obvious flaws in the movie. Besides the timeline issues (which are actually rather minor in the grand scope of things) there are some fairly large issues with the characters. Angel, Psylocke and even Magneto are largely sidelined for the whole movie. They are set up as these great and powerful mutants that Apocalypse makes even better, but somehow they’re taken out relatively easily and most of them barely have nay screen time at all. Magneto has the most, but still he’s almost a side character this time around. Angel and Psylocke have maybe a half dozen lines in the whole movie and end up just being cannon fodder. Not to mention the motivations for the shifting of loyalties at the end. Magneto VERY obviously is manipulated by Apocalypse after his family dies, but his switching sides at the very end made ZERO sense. He just turns around and helps the people he was trying to destroy for no apparent reason. What makes it such a lost opportunity is that Magneto changes sides WHILE Apocalypse was about to kills his son (Quicksilver, who has one of the best scenes in the entire movie with his slow motion effects, similar to “Days of Future Past”). It was the perfect motivation. Quicksilver reveals his identity and Magneto is forced to make a decision to save his son, after he failed to save his wife and daughter. Instead Quicksilver never says a word and Magneto just decides to do so for no real reason (at least one given on screen). Storm suffers from the same indecisive personality issue. Another frustration has to do with J-Law as Mystique. The studio heads have pretty much painted themselves into a corner with her, as she is a MONSTROUS star and was given a widely expanded role in this new reboot of the “X-Men”, but the woman was obviously bored out of her mind while filming. Her line delivery was about as monotone as it was in “The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 2”, where it looked like she was on nodoze. It was sadly a sore thumb type of situation and I felt she would have been better off backing out of the movie or at least Singer realizing her heart wasn’t in it and just side lining her character a bit more so it isn’t as obvious.
Rated PG-13 for fantasy violence and action throughout
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=81329[/img]Just as the Blu-ray looked amazing, the 4K Blu-ray looks just as incredible, if not more so. Even though the movie seems to have been struck by a 2K master, the 4K looks incredible on disc. Colors are even more bright and vibrant (the movie is heavily color graded with all sorts of purples, blues, greens and every shade in between) and the HDR makes for really REALLY gorgeous looking nuances to them. Fine detailing in the 4K world is also that much more realistic, especially when you look at the detailing on Apocalypse’s outfit, or even sandy roads that seem to show off more fine grains of sand. The black crush that was very minimally invasive on the Blu-ray is not even noticeable here, and the image is just jaw dropping. The only negative thing I can complain about is that the CGI that looks solid enough in 1080p tends to look a bit cheaper and more “fake” in 4K. It’s the curse of revealing more information on screen. Those things you hide tend to become more visible.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=81337[/img]This 4K edition decides to forgo the 7.1 DTS-HD MA track that the Blu-ray had and upgrade the audio to the nice and shiny Dolby Atmos track (with a 7.1 TrueHD Dolby core for those without the Atmos equipment). I really loved the 7.1 DTS-HD MA track for the Blu-ray, and the ONLY reason I didn’t give it a 5/5 rating on the Blu-ray was simply because the Atmos track IS the perfect audio mix. Ever so slightly better it enhances the incredible mutant battles with great use of the overheads to immerse the listener in a cocoon of sonic assault, and the richness of the low end seems to have been ever so slightly fine-tuned (although that could be just the differences between a Dolby and a DTS mix). The LFE is bone crunching and absolutely devastating, with several stand out moments literally making things vibrate off my wall that I thought were locked down properly. Apocalypse and his battle with the final mutants has some of the most chest cracking bass I’ve heard in a blockbuster in quite some time. Surrounds are never ever silent, as there is nothing but constant activity in the rear of the soundstage, and the vocals always perfectly intelligible, even amongst the craziest of battles.
• Deleted/Extended Scenes with Optional Introductions by Bryan Singer
• Gag Reel
• Wrap Party Video
• Hour long documentary, X-Men: Apocalypse Unearthed
• Audio Commentary by Bryan Singer and Simon Kinberg
• Concept Art and Photo Gallery
Bryan Singer’s 4th entry into the “X-Men” universe is sadly a distinct step down from the highly praised “Days of Future Past”. Plot holes are prevalent throughout that stand out even amongst the fairly common phenomenon of the X-Men films ALWAYS having SOME plot holes, and there are some very rushed loyalty changes in the latter half of the movie when the X-Men face off against Apocalypse. With that being said, I still had a fun time with the new cast, and the inclusion of Scott Summers, Storm and a few others give Singer more leeway to create another few movies with this cast and do it well. Hopefully the next entry will be a little more polished than this one was. Audio and video are simply fantastic, and there’s a very nice array of extras on the disc. Whether you choose the 4K, the 3D, or the 2D set, you’re a winner (although I give the nudge to the 4K combo pack as it has an Atmos track on the 4K presentation, something that is sadly lacking on the 3D and 2D Blu-rays.
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Written by: Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), Spanish DD 5.1, French, Spanish, German, Italian DTS 5.1
Runtime: 144 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: October 4th 2016
Buy X-Men Apocalypse On Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy X-Men Apocalypse 3D On Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy X-Men Apocalypse On 4K UltraHD Blu-ray at Amazon
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