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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that X-Men: Apocalypse (the third film in the X-Men: First Class reboot series), pits the super-powered heroes against a mighty foe who's bent on nothing less than laying waste to the whole world. Expect plenty of superhero-style action violence; aside from one sequence with some disturbing slashing, it's not particularly gory, but it does involve lots of combat, destruction, and weapons. There's also some swearing (mostly "piss," "damn," etc., but there's one use of "f--k"), a couple of scantily clad characters, and a few intense scenes centering around one character's loss of his family. Most of the popular X-Men from the prior movies are back, and there are a few new ones, too; overall, they're a pretty diverse bunch, with several strong women. And in the end, the story showcases the value of teamwork.
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What's the story?
At the start of X-MEN: APOCALYPSE, it's the 1980s, and the mutants have scattered around the globe. Professor X (James McAvoy) now runs a school for kids gifted with superpowers, Magneto (Michael Fassbender) is living a quiet life as Erik Lehnsherr, a factory worker with a wife and young daughter, and Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) is keeping to herself. But then a 6000-year-old super-mutant, Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), is awakened from his deep slumber, ready to wreak havoc everywhere aided by his crew of evil mutants (Alexandra Shipp, Ben Hardy, and Olivia Munn). With stakes so high, it's hard for the team not to reunite, especially since Magneto is deeply troubled and has been lured to the dark side because of a deep loss. Will the X-Men prevail?
Is it any good?
This adventure has the requisite gang's-all-here clash and bang of a Marvel superhero movie that's sure to enthrall franchise fans, but there's more to it: It has depth. Instead of just jumping from one mishap to the next, X-Men: Apocalypse takes some care unveiling its storyline, which touches on fairly intense themes.
Although we once again find Magneto teetering on the line between good and evil, the cast's game-on performances elevate the film from mere special-effects showcase. (And to be clear, those effects are astounding, right from the get-go with an impressive opening sequence.) At times, Apocalypse feels a bit overcrowded, as is the case with most ensemble action films, but for the most part, most of the franchise's big characters -- even Wolverine -- gets his or her moment in the sun.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the action violence in X-Men: Apocalypse. Scenes of battle and mayhem are a big part of superhero movies: Do you think they're always necessary to the story? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
What is the movie saying about being suspicious -- or accepting -- of others who may not be quite like you? How does this theme play out in the X-Men franchise?
The X-Men don't always agree about how to proceed with a mission -- or even if they all have the same intentions. Talk to your kids about the role that disagreement plays within a group of peers.
- In theaters: May 27, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: October 4, 2016
- Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender
- Director: Bryan Singer
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Superheroes
- Character Strengths: Teamwork
- Run time: 144 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sequences of violence, action and destruction, brief strong language and some suggestive images
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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