‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ provides a fun superhero experience

Jennifer Lawrence (left), Rose Byrne, James McAvoy, Lucas Till, and Nicholas Hoult appear in a scene from director Bryan Singer’s “X-Men: Apocalypse” from Twentieth Century Fox. (AP)

Strength can be found in numbers as heroes struggle to save the world in “X-Men: Apocalypse,” an entertaining action adventure from director Bryan Singer. The film follows Marvel’s X-Men franchise as the heroic mutants must save humanity from annihilation.

Timothy Hogg

Timothy Hogg

Born thousands of years ago, Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), the world’s first mutant, was worshipped as a god but eventually betrayed by his followers and buried under the sands of Egypt. In 1983, Apocalypse is inadvertently revived, and recruits a distraught Magneto (Michael Fassbender) into his team of mutants to help wipe the earth clean of unworthy humans. Now it is up to Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) to unify a group of young X-Men including Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) to prevent Apocalypse from destroying the world.

Arriving in a year already overflowing with superhero team-ups, “X-Men: Apocalypse” steps up to its competitors, taking audiences into an exciting action experience. Unfortunately, because there is more focus on spectacle, sometimes the story seems to be thrown aside by a rather lackluster script. Despite this, the filmmakers have utilized a group of immensely talented actors who are able to breathe life into the story, and capture the attention of the audience.

The presentation of these characters, along with clear action direction from Singer, creates an immensely entertaining experience. Many set pieces are mesmerizing, and the performances from the cast inject just the right amount of humor. It is truly remarkable: “X-Men: Apocalypse” is a genuine example of talented actors and filmmakers approaching a messy, somewhat bloated script, and delicately tuning and transforming it into a fast-paced and immersive story. The final product owes much of its success to the vibrant presentations.

It is these performances that make it easy for the audience to be absorbed by the story; the cast has plenty of fun, and even offer the occasional, light “wink” to the audience. The film isn’t overly aware or mocking of its own existence as a superhero sequel, but the characters do make a few, much appreciated, light nods toward an invisible audience, while maintaining enjoyable chemistry, sprinkled with moments of comedic relief to help lighten the serious nature and tone.

But for all the fun, the film doesn’t offer audiences much that is new. There is an ancient evil awakened, he deems the modern world “unworthy,” and a group of underdog misfits must join forces to save the day. It’s been done before, and it’s done here, in a scathing display of unoriginality that is only further hindered by issues with the story’s pacing. In a film that otherwise flows nicely, some of these elements feel very jarring and can occasionally pull audiences out of the story.

Utilizing entertaining action and fun comedic moments that reconcile a few otherwise dull moments within the script, “X-Men: Apocalypse” from director Bryan Singer is an enjoyable superhero adventure with a serious tone. The story combines a coming-of-age tale with an interesting twist on mythology to present audiences with exhilarating action sequences and spectacle.

My grade: 7 out of 10 stars.

(Timothy Hogg is a copy editor for The Derrick./The News-Herald. He has a minor in film and media studies from Slippery Rock University. Readers may contact him by email at timothyhogg.thederrick@gmail.com.)