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Superhero Fatigue 

The X-Men fail to thrill

The actors try, but ultimately fail to liven things up in "X-Men: Apocalypse."

The actors try, but ultimately fail to liven things up in "X-Men: Apocalypse."

The last thing the X-Men franchise needed was another origin story. The series, which started with 2000's "X-Men," has circled around so many times it almost plays like an SNL sketch mocking superhero films. While "X-Men," "X-2" and "X-Men-The Last Stand" introduced a large majority of the mutant team, "First Class" and "Days of Future Past" gave us either alternate or younger versions of already well known characters. Now with "Apocalypse," we get the backstories of Cyclops, Jean Gray, Nightcrawler, Storm, Angel and others, without bothering to tell an interesting story of its own.

In ancient Egypt, the first mutant, En Sabah Nur, rules with an iron fist until he is betrayed by his followers. Due to some flashing lights and chanting, he is entombed alive and preserved until he awakens in 1983. He hooks up with the weather goddess Storm, watches some TV and decides he needs to cleanse the Earth of humanity and rebuild a better civilization.

Nur is never even called Apocalypse in the film, but that's par for the course. "X-Men: Apocalypse" assumes its audience already knows the characters or at least remembers their iconic imagery from the comics. The film fails to deliver an exciting X-Men story that comic fans will enjoy and completely ignores anyone stepping into the franchise without previous knowledge of the other films. Its target demographic appears to be no one.

The special effects range from mildly entertaining to SyFy Channel-level terrible with only a brief scene involving Quicksilver and the last 10 minutes being remotely entertaining. The rest of the film is a boring slog surrounded by mopey whiney characters the script has given the audience no reason to care for. What is left is almost 150 minutes of bland exposition, groan-inducing dialogue and lifeless pacing.

If it weren't for this review assignment, I would have walked out by the halfway point. I guarantee you haven't seen a superhero movie this boring and inert. The characters themselves are still fun and well developed, but it is time for new blood in the director's chair. Being Bryan Singer's fourth "X-Men" film, he should have it down to a science instead of churning out garbage. If someone with real vision is brought into the franchise like an Edgar Wright, Spike Jonze or David Cronenberg, the series could be saved. As it stands, there is no life here, just an expensive movie filled with stupidity, laziness and an existing intellectual property. Avoid the theater and head to the comic store instead.

"X-Men: Apocalypse"

Dir. Bryan Singer

Grade: D

Now playing at Old Mill Stadium 16 & IMAX

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