Worshiped as a god since the dawn of civilization, the immortal Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) becomes the first and most powerful mutant. Awakening after thousands of years, he recruits the disheartened Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and other mutants to create a new world order. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Professor X (James McAvoy) and Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) lead a team of young X-Men to stop their seemingly invincible nemesis from destroying mankind
And we are back with yet another ‘X-MEN‘ movie, making this the 9th film in the franchise, that is if you count the ‘Wolverine’ movies and what not. If you’re just counting purely ‘X-MEN‘ films, than this is number six with it being number 4 from director Bryan Singer, who started this whole comic book movie craze sixteen years ago with the first ‘X-Men‘ film. From there, we have seen the Marvel and DC Universes take off into a multi-billion dollar industry. It’s quite mind boggling, and this new film ‘X-Men: Apocalypse‘ seems to take everything we’ve seen since Matthew Vaughn’s ‘First Class’ and sculpt it into this one film.
I can’t imagine if this film came out in 2000 instead of the ‘X-Men‘ we saw back then. I probably would almost have preferred that, but still, ‘Apocalypse‘ is an excellent film and is my favorite ‘X-Men’ movie to date, running alongside ‘X2‘. At the very end of ‘Days of Future Past‘, we were teased with the coming of ‘Apocalypse‘ and THE apocalypse, and that’s where this film starts out, way back in 3600 BCE to a time that resembles something from dunes of ‘Stargate‘ where a mutant named Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) is gaining super powers to destroy the world and then rule it. This doesn’t take place, because his efforts are thwarted and he is trapped under a giant crumbled pyramid until the year 1983, where Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) is leading the teaching faculty at his school for the gifted alongside Hank McCoy/The Beast (Nicholas Hoult).
Through a series of vignettes, we see what’s been going on with some of the more popular mutants. Since this is 1983, we see the arrival of a very young Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), who is learning to use his eye beams, what Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) has been doing, which is recruiting other mutants, mainly Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), and of course Magneto (Michael Fassbender), which is one of the cooler aspects of the film. We get to see Magneto living as a human with a family, and not wanting to be a part of the violence or mutant movement. It’s endearing and heartbreaking all at the same time. Even though Apocalypse is supposed to have all the powers, he still needs his army of 4 horseman, and thus the battle to save the world ensues with the young mutants and the experienced ones, coming together to battle.
This is where Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) comes into the spotlight as does Quicksilver (Evan Peters), as their storylines serve as a bigger arc to this story than previously thought. Basically, this is where they take full control of their powers and set out to become who they’re meant to be, and it’s quite spectacular to see on screen. There are quite a few mutants during this 148 minute extravaganza, but Bryan Singer gives each one enough time to shine, along with one glorious cameo that is all too great.
There is some really funny humor mixed in as well that provides a wink to the older films, as well as some genuine charm and wit. I laughed out loud a few times. In addition to that, this X-Men film is quite brutal. I almost thought the film was Rated R, due to the ferocious violence throughout, and when I say ferocious, that’s exactly what I mean, complete with blood, decapitations, throats slit, and more.
One of the things that is unfortunate so far with a lot of the ‘X-Men‘ films is that it always seems to be the same type of scenario, where a mutant is trying to kill off everyone and everything, with the ‘X-Men’ out to stop them. The case is no different here and seems redundant since we’ve seen it so many times before. It’s a small gripe in a large world of so much good. Everyone of course turns in excellent performances with the spotlight on Michael Fassbender, Tye Sheridan, and an unrecognizable Oscar Isaac. The emotion Fassbender throws into the role is amazing, especially when he heads back to Auschwitz.
‘X-Men: Apocalypse‘ certainly gets a ton of stuff right here, even if it’s an adaptation of the original work. There are a couple of small gripes, but overall, this film is a MUST-SEE for any X-Men fan. I can’t wait to see it again. Plus, this might be the best use of ‘Sweet Dreams’ I’ve ever seen with Quicksilver front and center.
The Blu-Ray: Vital Disc Stats
'X-Men: Apocalypse' comes with a 50GB Blu-ray Disc that is Region A Locked, the DVD, and a digital download insert from 20th Century Fox. The discs are housed in a hard, blue, plastic case with a cardboard sleeve.
'X-Men: Apocalypse' comes with a fantastic 1080p HD transfer presented in 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The image as a whole looks incredible, with great detail and color. The detail is sharp and vivid throughout with closeups revealing all of the great makeup effects and details in the weapons quite nicely. Individual hairs can be seen on the actor's faces and the fine stitching in all the superhero suits and costumes are easily distinguishable.
You'll be able to make out the the tiny markings on Apocalypse's suit, as well as individual sparks and explosion embers during the slow motion sequence where Quicksilver is involved. Wider shots never go soft and always offer up excellent detail in the background and set pieces. During the very heavy CG sequences, the detail goes a bit soft, but it really doesn't hinder the video viewing experience at all. Colors are bold and striking most of the time, especially with some of the new characters.
Blues and purples stick out nicely, and the orange and red colors pop right off screen when big explosions happen. Other primary colors look just as good with a mix of cold blue textures and more earthy colors when indoors. Black levels are deep and inky and the flesh tones are natural when not a different mutant color. There are no issues with video noise, aliasing, or banding, leaving this video presentation with excellent marks.
This release comes with an excellent lossless DTS-HD 7.1 MA mix and makes you feel like the apocalypse is really happening in your viewing room. The low and high ends of this audio track are all equally impressive. The sound effects are bold and pack a punch no matter if it's an explosion, an eye laser, a punch, kick, or hit - each violent sound effect will startle you in the best of ways with great directionality. Each sound effect is layered and balanced too, so you can tell a gun shot from to hundred yards away as with a clank or hit to the face just a few inches away.
Needless to say this is quite an immersive soundscape. The ambient noises in the backgrounds of nature or city life, or other people fighting are distinct and even widen this audio mix. The score always brings each scene to life and like I said, this might be the best use of 'Sweet Dreams Are Made of These' I've ever heard. Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to follow and is well balanced with the other sound elements. There were no pops, cracks, hiss, or high shrills, leaving this audio experience with top marks.
Audio Commentary - Here is a commentary track with director Bryan Singer and writer-producer Simon Kinberg as they both discuss making the film and furthering the story and characters in this universe. They discuss in detail making certain scenes, the themes and tone of the film, casting the actors new actors, and some fun anecdotes and trivia from the set. This is very good commentary and worth listening to.
'X-Men: Apocalypse': Unearthed (HD, 64 Mins.) - This is an excellent set of features that dive into to detail of the making of the film. Withe interviews from the cast and crew, along with some behind the scenes footage, we get the inside scoop on the characters, the story, the screenplay, the visual effects, the direction, and some surprises for future installments.
Deleted/Extended Scenes (HD, 29 Mins.) - There are a number of extended scenes with a few deleted scenes here, all of which have an optional intro by Bryan Singer. The scenes don't do much, but further character development.
Gag Reel (HD, 9 Mins.) - A decent sized featurette that has some funny missed cues, flubbed lines, laughter, dancing, and jokes.
Wrap Party Video (HD, 5 Mins.) - A short video of B-roll of filming and behind the scenes stuff set to music.
Theatrical Trailers (HD 8 Mins.) - Trailers for the film.
Photo Gallery (HD) - Still photos of concept art and behind the scenes filming.
This 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Blu-ray is quite impressive and comes with a DVD version and the Digital Download code. The film itself is a lot of fun and very well-made on almost every level. This is a great addition to the Marvel universe when the X-Men are concerned and where each villain and superhero receives their moment to shine. Excellent acting and action sequences are rampant throughout the film. The video and audio presentations are incredible too. Extras are expansive and deliver almost everything you'd want from the making of the movie. This comes highly recommended!
Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of Dunkirk on Blu-ray. This post features unique Vital Disc Stats, Video, and Final Thoughts sections.