X-Men Apocalypse **

Boring villain and illogical story makes this worse than “Batman Vs. Superman,” and that’s saying something.

Is it worth $10? No

“X-Men: Apocalypse” is set in 1983. At one point it shows a group of teenagers walking out of “Return of the Jedi” and debating whether it’s better than “Empire Strikes Back.” “At least we can agree the third one is always the worst,” a young Jean Grey (Sophie Turner, “Game of Thrones”) concludes. The line is meant to be a wink-wink to the audience marking the end of this latest “X-Men” trilogy, but it serendipitously turns out to be true for this movie as well – it’s a dud.

Here’s the problem with an omnipotent, all-powerful villain like the titular Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac): they’re boring. Nothing harms them, there’s no Achilles heel, so they logically can’t be defeated. It often takes an illogical, poorly conceived and totally contrived reason for them to fail in their quest for world domination, and that’s exactly what happens in “X-Men: Apocalypse.”

But I’m getting ahead of myself (what, did you think the bad guy would win?). There are plenty of problems leading up to the finale as well, namely the fact that the last 20 minutes provide essentially the only fight scene in the movie. There’s ample action and visual effects throughout, mind you, but the only time lead villain Apocalypse and his four horsemen Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Angel (Ben Hardy) and Psylocke (Olivia Munn) actually fight anyone of consequence is the very end. The rest of the time Magneto does a few cool things, Apocalypse is invincible, and the others uselessly stand in the background looking bored. That’s okay – so are we.

To stop Apocalypse, who is the world’s first and most powerful mutant, Prof. X (James McAvoy) asks Hank (Nicholas Hoult), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Quicksilver (Evan Peters) and CIA Agent Moira Mactaggert (Rose Byrne) for help, and they’re joined by newcomers Jean Grey, Scott Summers (Tye Sheridan) and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee).

In short, director Bryan Singer and screenwriter Simon Kinberg should’ve known better. The flaws here are obvious, and yet they obliviously strove forward willingly ignorant of the narrative shortcomings in the hope that the visual dazzle would overcome the story’s faults. They were very sadly mistaken.

Did you know?
There is a scene after the credits, but it features no stars and what it all means I have no idea. No doubt the answer is somewhere in the X-Men comic book lore.

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