Action Adventure

'X-Men: Apocalypse' Blu-ray Review: Is the end nigh for Marvel's mutants?

October 18, 2016Ben MK

Set in 1983, a decade after the central events depicted in X-Men: Days of Future Past, Apocalypse finds the characters from the series' last two installments scattered around the globe, with Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) busy liberating mutants in East Berlin, Magneto (Michael Fassbender) living as a family man under an assumed identity in Poland, and Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) back in Westchester, New York, teaching a whole new generation of mutants how to harness their abilities.

Their fates begin to intertwine when Magneto's true identity is uncovered, which leads to the demise of his wife and young daughter, and sets him down the dark path of revenge. However, it's really Moira Mactaggert (Rose Byrne) who brings these characters together, when she discovers that an ancient mutant named Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) has awoken from his millennia-long slumber. Determined to cleanse the Earth of all human life, Apocalypse intends to destroy everything on the planet and rebuild the world anew; and, of course, it's up to the X-Men to stop him.

Directed once again by Bryan Singer and written by Days of Future Past screenwriter Simon Kinberg, Apocalypse is notable for the way it successfully merges an '80s period aesthetic with the X-Men's colorful and distinct comic book look, creating a strong throwback for fans of the X-Men comics from that era. That very same fanbase, however, might be disappointed by the filmmakers' decision to all but jettison this approach in the film's third act, in favor of yet another climactic battle fought with sleek, futuristic technology and dark, leathery uniforms.

It all adds up to a divisive moviegoing experience, because while some audiences will appreciate the fan service the film pays to longtime devotees of the franchise, others will assuredly take issue with the way the movie fails to truly propel the series forward, from a storytelling aspect. That being said, there's still plenty of fun to be had here, especially if you're a fan of Oscar Isaac, Weapon X cameos or the 1990s X-Men animated series. Just don't expect X-Men: Apocalypse to be as narratively complex as Days of Future Past, or as subtly thought-provoking as X2.

X-Men: Apocalypse makes its way to Blu-ray with a reference-grade technical presentation; and while some viewers may question the caliber of the film itself, there's nothing divisive whatsoever about how the movie looks or sounds. Long story short, the 1080p visuals on display here are spectacular, with deep blacks and a razor-sharp level of overall detail throughout, not to mention eye-popping bursts of vibrant color, from the golden tones of Ancient Egypt, to the varying shades of blue of Apocalypse, Mystique, Beast and Nightcrawler, to the colorful assortment of garish '80s fashion. On top of that, the disc's DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix serves up a fully-enveloping accompaniment to the flawless image, surrounding listeners with the 360 degree chaos of superpowers being unleashed, crumbling stonework, creaking metal, explosions and whirlwinds of debris.

Fox's two-disc Blu-ray release includes an iTunes/UltraViolet digital copy, a DVD and the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Deleted/Extended Scenes (28:11 with optional introductions by Bryan Singer, 23:08 without) - 12 scenes ("Hey Big Brother," "Welcome Scott + Jean Archery w/ Powers," "Magneto Reborn + Apoc Alley," "Be Good, Brother," "Nice to Meet You (Jubilee and Birds)," "Raven Tour + Jubilee Tour (Extended)," "Original Mall ("Safety Dance")," "Old Houses + You'll Find It a Little Different," "Jet Memories," "'You Don't Know Me'," "'It's Over'" and "Cyclops is Born + "I Don't Need Luck" + Moira Arrests Stryker").
  • Gag Reel (8:20) - Goofing around and silliness from the set.
  • Wrap Party Video (4:46) - A compilation of behind-the-scenes footage, set to music.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse Unearthed (1:03:58) - A six-part making-of documentary that covers where the film fits in with the rest of the franchise, the characters, the '80s-themed production design, the visual effects and stunt work, and the possibilities in store for future X-Men installments ("En Sabah Nur: Setting the Stage for Apocalypse," "Clan of Akkaba: Apocalypse and His Horsemen," "Answering the Call: Assembling the New X-Men Team," "The End of Times: Creating a New Age of Apocalypse," "Unlimited Powers: VFX, Stunts and Set Pieces" and "What's Next").
  • Audio Commentary by Bryan Singer and Simon Kinberg - Director Bryan Singer and Screenwriter Simon Kinberg talk about the film's story, the production design, the cast and their characters, the visual effects, the various homages, the cameos, shooting in 3D, and more.
  • Gallery - 35 images of "Characters" ("Apocalypse," "Four Horsemen - 3600 BCE," "Four Horsemen - 1983" and "X-Men") and 47 images of "Locations" ("Nile Valley," "Cairo, Egypt," "Pruszk√≥w, Poland," "East Berlin," "X-Mansion" and "Alkali Lake").
  • Theatrical Trailers (7:15) - 3 trailers ("Teaser Trailer," "Theatrical Trailer 1" and "Theatrical Trailer 2").

X-Men: Apocalypse is available from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment as of October 4th, 2016. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS 5.1 and English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, Spanish, French and Portuguese subtitles. The total runtime is 2 Hrs. 24 Mins.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on May 12th, 2016.

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