Bryan Singer’s X-films arrive like weather reports, from a forecaster disappearing sideways out of the frame in a howling digital gale.
X-Men: Apocalypse does indeed include a big sci-fi buffoon making a cheesy speech about tearing down the world and building a better one — but he makes it while a Holocaust survivor flattens Auschwitz, wiping off the map one source of the franchise’s unease since day one and a locus of Bryan Singer’s interests. It’s another of Singer’s imaginary reset buttons, troubled and impossible, in a film that also returns to 9/11 eschatology, when in the midst of the climactic mayhem Apocalypse builds a new pyramid, and its striated sides at the base echo the World Trade Centre. None of this turns Apocalypse into anything beyond average art, but is nonetheless not nothing; and not much like the outright placebos of the Avengers franchise either, whose character motivations struggle to stay consistent within their own frameworks never mind the bracing chill of the outside world. The superhero genre has become critic-proof in more ways than one, but there must be some way to talk about these things without throwing the forecast out with the forecaster.