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'X-Men: Apocalypse' fleshes out complicated franchise
Whats in with Justin
There are more than a few characters to keep up with in the expanding X-Men universe. - photo by Studio photo

"X-Men: Apocalypse" marks the fourth superhero movie we’ve had so far this year and its eighth or ninth in the series.

To be honest, I’ve lost track of how many, as well as the cornucopia of mutants and their powers. Not to mention the endless plot threads and timelines they seem to be occupying. Maybe all that matters is that we have a blast and in that regard, this movie succeeds.

A new mutant named Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) emerges. He’s an ancient Egyptian who was prophesied that his return would spawn (What else?) the end of humanity and the rise of the mutant population.

Determined to stop it at all costs is Professor Xavier (James McAvoy), still running his gifted school. He assembles his all-star team, including the characters of Cyclops and Beast and of course the blue-skinned shape shifter Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence).

"Apocalypse" continues the development of Michael Fassbender’s Magneto, who has retired from his mutant activities to live a normal life with his wife and daughter. Of course, his family becomes threatened by outside forces, and we pretty much know how his story will end.

The movie doesn’t have a whole lot of funny moments, but it does include one scene involving the character of Quicksilver (Evan Peters) rescuing Xavier’s students out of a mansion, which results in a series of rapid-fire and slow-mo editing all set to the Eurythimics’ "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" in the background. That scene earns its laughs.

The rest of the film is surprisingly good, despite some occasional overkill. It has consistently nice pacing, and it constructs a story that actually does make sense, and we can follow the characters from one end to the other. I still have trouble with a couple of other entries in this series in that department.

It doesn’t have the supercharged fun of "Deadpool," but it’s nowhere near the doom and gloom of "Batman v. Superman." Needless to say, I don’t think we’ve quite seen the last of these characters, but a few spinoffs featuring certain characters would be nice for the time being anyway.

Grade: A-

(Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, action, and destruction, brief strong language, and some suggestive images.)

Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.

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