It's tough out there for a superhero franchise. When director Bryan Singer ignited the current comic-book-movie craze with 2000's X-Men, he could have a bunch of casually powered mutants climbing the Statue of Liberty in rubber suits. Simple and satisfying. Now, to compete with Marvel's massive, multi-pronged Avengers franchise, skyscraper-size monster movies, and the gamut of alien invasion pictures, the once-quaint X-Men franchise is blowing out the action and piling up the heroes. If countless crossover comics and 76 episodes of that '90s cartoon could do it, so can Singer, who returns for this summer's X-Men: Apocalypse.
Picking up where the time-bending Days of Future Past left off, Apocalypse pits X-Men new and old against the planet's first mutant: the purple deity known as Apocalypse. Star Wars and Inside Llewyn Davis actor Oscar Issac cakes his mug in makeup to battle returning cast members James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, and Rose Byrne. Twenty-somethings Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, and Kodi Smit-McPhee joint the ensemble as younger versions of the original X-Men cast. Olivia Munn co-stars as a psychic ninja. Got it?