New faces add to sensory overload in X-Men Apocalypse
X-MEN APOCALYPSE is a mind-bending trip of a movie, one likely both to exhilarate spectators and to leave many either with severe feelings of sensory overload or scratching their heads.
Like its predecessors in The X-Men series, it combines extraordinary special effects with cartoonish characterisation, plus moments of very dark sturm und drang with scenes that might have been lifted from a kids' TV series.
It is certainly spectacular.
There is no sense at all that audiences are being short-changed or that the franchise is petering out. If anything, the film feels re-energised by the introduction of several new 'mutant' faces.
The action begins here in the Nile Valley in 3600BC, where the original mutant Apocalypse (an unrecognisable Oscar Isaac) is first trying to wreak havoc.
Over the credits, we are then whisked thousands of years through a time tunnel.
In 1983, he reawakens.
"I have returned," he growls in his impressively amplified and eerie voice.
With his green cased armour plating, he looks like a more malevolent version of a teenage mutant turtle. Apocalypse gathers together his four horsemen and prepares to bring the world to ruin.
The film is set in the 1980s, the era of Reagan and Brezhnev. The period isn't recreated with any great conviction, although we do hear the Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams on the soundtrack at one stage.
Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark from Game Of Thrones) is very impressive as a younger version of the telepathic Jean Grey whose blessing (or curse) is to know "what everyone feels".
Tye Sheridan plays a young Cyclops, first seen as a high-school student with a hint of James Dean about him.
X-Men Apocalypse is very rousing fare even if it does leave a mind-boggling number of loose ends and unanswered questions.
Director: Bryan Singer
Stars: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Olivia Munn
Reviewer: Geoffrey Macnab (The Independent)