Have been to the movies again. You can tell from the reviews that I’ve got action adventure taste and that I’m a Marvel buff. This outing was to see X-Men: Apocalypse.

We’re in the 1980s. Professor Xavier has established his school for exceptional children and has it up and running. He’s concentrating on helping mutants learn to cope with their extraordinary powers and fit into society more comfortably. Meanwhile, CIA agent Moira MacTaggert, investigating ancient Egyptian gods, accidently awakens powerful mutant En Sabah Nur (Apocalypse). Mayhem ensues, as Nur notices that a powerful civilization has arisen to challenges his rule while he has slept under the ruins of a pyramid. Can a young team of X-Men defeat him?

I wasn’t happy with this, or with the last X-Men film, either. The X-Men should be a really strong franchise because of the theme and symbolism—this represents hugely talented people who just don’t quite fit in and are ostracized from society because of it. There a really strong cast of characters here including Xavier, Magneto, Mystique, Hank and the young Jean, Cyclops, Quicksilver, Angel, Storm, Havoc and a really charming Nightcrawler. They’ve also put their money into a couple of A-list stars, Michael Fassbender as Magneto and Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique. Hugh Jackman puts in a quick appearance as Wolverine. This should be great. Problem? The script sucks. Instead of character development that would have let us get to know these wonderful people, we get tedious posturing from Apocalypse and over-wrought but stereotypical emoting from everybody else. Then there are some special effects for the climax and we’re done.

This hasn’t performed well in theaters, and I suspect part of that may be because the last film was lacking. I saw another review that said this franchise needs to be shaken up with more diversity, but I don’t think that’s the issue. Marvel produces great (and diverse) characters, but they have to have decent scripts and decent production values to let them work. You just can’t crank out hit films based on a tired formula.

Two and a half stars.