X-Men: Apocalypse is the third installment in the latest X-Men trilogy. The film opens in ancient Egypt where the world’s first mutant, Apocalypse, is treated like a god. He has managed to live for a very long time by constantly transferring his consciousness into newer, younger mutant bodies—with the added benefit of acquiring his host’s mutant powers in the process. Apocalypse’s latest vessel is to be En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac), a mutant with the power to heal himself—which should make Apocalypse’s quest for immortality a lot easier! However, just as transference ritual begins, some rogue acolytes try to assassinate Apocalypse, trapping him deep in the rubble of a pyramid. When En Sabah Nur wakes up nearly 5000 years later—in the 1980s—he resumes his plans of world domination, starting with assembling a new army of four horsemen to assist and protect him.
Elsewhere, life goes on for the mutants of Days of Future Past. Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) has been hiding out in Poland under a fake name while trying to live a normal life with his wife and daughter. However, when he uses his powers to save a co-worker at the manufacturing plant where he works, Erik’s identity as Magneto is exposed, and this has some devastating consequences that ultimately send him back down a dark path. Meanwhile, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) has become a mutant folk hero of sorts, locating and rescuing mutants in danger. Her latest venture finds her in Germany helping Kurt Wagner aka Nightcrawler (Kodi Cmit-McPhee)—a mutant with the ability to teleport—who is being forced to fight other mutants in a cage. They head to the school for the gifted run by Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Doctor Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), where Nightcrawler joins the other new arrivals, the telepathic/telekinetic Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) and Scott Summers (Tye Sheridan), brother of Alex Summers/Havok (Lucas Till), who is having trouble controlling his new laser eyesight. This new generation of mutants learn to use their powers, they prepare themselves for the ultimate showdown that is to come with Apocalypse, who has assembled his horsemen—weather-manipulator Storm (Alexandra Shipp), telepath/telekinetic Psylocke (Olivia Munn), the bird-like Angel (Ben Hardy) with his razor-sharp wings, and Magneto, who can control and transform metal.
This third installment of the latest X-Men trilogy not only ties nicely into the events of the first two films, but it also provides interesting and sometimes emotional origin stories for some of the characters from the original trilogy of X-Men movies. There are so many characters and concurrent stories in X-Men: Apocalypse, that sometimes it can feel a bit overwhelming—some of the secondary stories include the budding romance between Charles and CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), and the return of Colonel William Stryker (Josh Helman) to try to control the mutant situation. However, the film moves along quickly and things ultimately come together in the end, and there’s certainly no lack excitement and action in the process. Over the course of the film there is plenty of character exploration and growth—whether it’s the young mutants coming into their own, or Eric’s constant struggle between good an evil. I actually found the development of the various mutants to be more compelling than the Apocalypse storyline, which seems to exist primarily as a catalyst to explore the other characters’ journeys. X-Men: Apocalypse does an excellent job at bringing the viewer through a gamut of emotions. From dramatic storylines, to action and humor, this film has it all. The action sequences, battles and superb visual effects are especially impressive. One of the highlights of Days of Future Past was the amazing Quicksilver (Evan Peters) sequence, and the filmmakers have managed to out-do themselves the second time around, providing a visually-stunning and thoroughly-entertaining follow-up that is absolutely breathtaking and fun.
This 4K Ultra HD combo pack looks and sounds amazing! The crisp, clear picture quality of the Blu-ray is excellent, but the 4K HDR is nearly flawless. The 4K version provides increased detail across the board, adding textures to close-ups of mutants like Apocalypse and Nightcrawler, but also to buildings, the X-Mansion, ships, explosions and more. The color of Apocalypse’s skin is constantly changing depending on the lighting, and this presentation captures all of those nuances as it shifts between green, blue and purplish hues. One particularly stunning visual is when Apocalypse’s face is lit from the purple glow of Pyslocke’s energy blade. The audio presentation is even more exciting. Fox has reserved the Atmos track for the 4K disc, only providing 7.1 DTS-HD MA audio on the Blu-ray. The Atmos track makes great use of all of the audio channels to really immerse the viewer in what’s happening on screen. The subwoofer constantly rumbles during action and explosive scenes, the stereo and surround channels are used to add direction to the action as well as provide general ambiance, and the height channels are utilized to add an extra dimension of sound above the viewer. The latter was particularly noticeable when the pyramid is collapsing and rocks are falling overhead, when a helicopter arrives shortly after the Quicksilver sequence, and during the final act when Magneto is surrounding himself with metal particles.
This release also provides a solid set of bonus material (though almost all of it is only contained on the Blu-ray disc). The extras include a feature commentary track, 28 minutes of deleted/extended scenes with optional introductions, an 8-minute gag reel, a thoroughly-entertaining six-part hour-long making-of feature, and more. The set also includes a Digital HD copy of the film. The discs comes packed in a standard UHD keepcase with a slipcover.
4K Ultra HD:
- 2160p / Widescreen 2.40:1
- Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Descriptive Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS 5.1, Castilian DTS 5.1, German DTS 5.1, Italian DTS 5.1
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French (Quebec), French, Castilian, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional)
- 1080p / Widescreen 2.40:1
- Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, English Descriptive Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese
- Digital HD copy redeemable via iTunes, Google Play or Vudu (UltraViolet)
- Deleted/Extended Scenes (28:11)
A solid collection of 12 deleted/extended scenes—I particularly enjoyed the 1980’s mall montage. There are optional audio introductions from director Bryan Singer, who sets up each scene and explains why it was ultimately cut. Play All or select from “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'”, “Cyclops is Born + ‘I Don’t Need Luck’ + Moira Arrests Stryker”. Subtitles are available in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.
- Gag Reel (8:20)
The cast has a lot of fun on set during and after takes. Subtitles are available in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.
- Wrap Party Video (4:46)
Montage of behind-the-scenes footage set to do Jim Croce’s “Time in a Bottle” and Julian Benasis’ “#Beastmode”. Subtitles are available in English.
- X-Men: Apocalypse Unearthed (1:03:58)
Excellent six part making-of documentary that gives viewers a detailed behind-the-scenes look at many aspects of the film. Includes interviews with screenwriter/producer Simon Kinberg, director/producer Bryan Singer, producer Hutch Parker, costume designer Louise Mingenbach, legacy effects Brian Sipe, stunt coordinators Jeff Habberstad and James M. Churchman, additional visual effects supervisor Matt Sloan, visual effects designer John Sykstra, make-up department head Rita Ciccozzi, head SPFX make-up artist Adrien Morot, production designer Grant Major, director of photography Newton Thomas Sigel, second unit director Brian Smrz, supervising art director Michele Laliberte, SPFX coordinator Tom Blacklock, stunts Charles W. Schults III and Colin Follenweider, editor/composer/co-producer John Ottman, and actors Michael Fassbender (“Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto”), James McAvoy (“Professor Charles Xavier”), Oscar Isaac (“En Sabah Nur/Apocalypse”), Lucas Till (“Alex Summers/Havok”), Olivia Munn (“Psylocke”), Evan Peters (“Peter Maximoff/Quicksilver”), Ben Hardy (“Angel”), Nicholas Hoult (“Hank McCoy/Beast”), Alexandra Shipp (“Ororo Munroe/Storm”), Tye Sheridan (“Scott Summers/Cyclops”), Sophie Turner (“Jean Grey”), Kodi Cmit-McPhee (“Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler”) and Lana Condor (‘Jubilee”). Subtitles are available in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. Play All or select from:
- En Sabah Nur: Setting the Stage For Apocalypse (10:56)
The cast and filmmakers discuss the film’s place in the chronology of the franchise, where the characters are at when the film opens, expanding the franchise, casting Oscar Isaac, designing Apocalypse’s costume, and more. Also see Oscar Isaacs’ transformation into Apocalypse in the make-up chair.
- Clan of Akkaba: Apocalypse And His Horsemen (14:07)
The cast and filmmakers discuss Apocalypse’s four horsemen (Storm, Psylocke, Angel & Magneto), how Apocalypse recruits them, the casting of these mutants, and the costumes, effects and stunts involved in bringing these characters to life.
- Answering the Call: Assembling the New X-Men Team (9:07)
The cast and filmmakers discuss the backstories of the latest young generation of X-Men characters (Scott Summers, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler & Jubilee), and casting the actors to play them.
- The End of Times: Creating a New Age of Apocalypse (6:20)
The cast and filmmakers discuss recreating the 1980s for this installment of the X-Men franchise, and designing/creating the X-Mansion, the fight cage and the streets of Cairo.
- Unlimited Powers: VFX, Stunts and Set Pieces (19:57)
The cast and filmmakers discuss the visual effects of the film, and give an extensive look at making the spectacular Quicksilver sequence and the big final battle. The cameras are also with James McAvoy as he shaves his head with Patrick Stewart cheering him on via FaceTime.
- What’s Next (3:33)
The cast and filmmakers talk about what could lie ahead for the characters should there be more films.
- En Sabah Nur: Setting the Stage For Apocalypse (10:56)
- Audio Commentary (2:23:56)
Director/producer/writer Bryan Singer and screenwriter/producer Simon Kinberg provide an entertaining audio commentary throughout the film. I always enjoy Singer’s commentaries, and this was no exception—the two men provide a lot of interesting behind-the-scenes and production stories, and give some insights into the franchise as a whole. Subtitles are available in English, Spanish and French (as well as French (Quebec), Castilian, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Italian, Norwegian and Swedish on the 4K UHD disc).
Collection of photo galleries. Slideshows auto-advance every five seconds, or use the remote to step through each still photo. (There is no Play All option)
- Concept Art
- Apocalypse (1:08) – 13 photos
- Four Horsemen – 3600 BCE (:28) – 5 photos
- Four Horsemen – 1983 (:28) – 5 photos
- X-Men (1:03) – 12 photos
- Nile Valley (1:28) – 17 photos
- Cairo, Egypt (:58) – 11 photos
- Pruszków, Poland (:18) – 3 photos
- East Berlin (:28) – 5 photos
- X-Mansion (:38) – 7 photos
- Alkali Lake (:23) – 4 photos
- Unit Photography (1:03) – 12 photos
- Concept Art
- Theatrical Trailers (7:15)
Play All or select from “Teaser Trailer”, “Theatrical Trailer 1” and “Theatrical Trailer 2”.
Digital HD (Redemption Deadline 10/04/2019):
All extras can only be found on the Blu-ray disc, except for the commentary, which is available on the 4K UHD as well.
X-Men: Apocalypse is another great addition to the prolific franchise. The film provides some interesting origin stories and character development, as well as all of the superb action and effects we’ve come to expect from these films. The 4K UHD presentation is top notch, with pretty much perfect audio and video, and a solid set of bonus material. Fans of the franchise will not be disappointed, and those looking for a fun action/super-hero film should also have a blast. This release is definitely worth checking out!