As the box office continues in the ‘Age of Superheroes,’ it’s no surprise that X-Men: Apocalypse is the number one movie this weekend. The film opened to $65 million so far this weekend, and with it being Memorial Day Weekend, the film is expected to make $80 million when it’s all said and done. However, it’s not all fine and dandy. As you can see in our review here and the current 48% Rotten Tomatoes score, not everyone likes this movie. This being Brian Singer’s fourth X-Men film, we just were expecting better from such an accomplished director. With Captain America: Civil War having come out a few weeks ago (and knocking it out of the park) and setting the tone, we just have come to expect more from our superhero films nowadays.
That being said, this movie was not completely as bad as X-Men: The Last Stand, which was basically the “Batman and Robin” of the X-Men franchise. There were some great moments of the film, which could help it in the long run as the franchise continues with the new faces we’ve grown accustomed to in the last three films of the “First Class Trilogy.” So let’s take a look at what worked well for the film, and what left us scratching our heads.
We finally Got a Good Cyclops.
Fans of Scott Summers have been pretty bummed throughout the X-Men franchise, as he has taken a backseat to Wolverine, and even Rogue throughout the series. The ultimate slap in the face was when he was killed offscreen in X-Men: The Last Stand. It seemed as though Fox just wasn’t a fan of his character for whatever reason. In X-Men: Apocalypse, we got a pretty decent origin story for Scott Summers this time. He operated as the audience avatar as we caught up with Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters as he joined having discovered his mutant powers.
His awkwardness with Jean Grey helped develop what we all will know as their love affair. At first, they were standoff-ish towards each other, as most teenage romances are (especially during the 80s). Soon enough the two began to trust each other and learn to work together to help pretty much save the day. The cherry on top was when Jean grabbed Cyclops’ head and helped “steer” him as he used his optic blasts.
Magneto Got To Settle Down… and Have That Ripped From Him
It was an interesting take to give Magneto a new family. Following X-Men: Days of Future Past, he was the most wanted mutant in the world. As a result, he lived a quiet life, found himself a trustworthy partner and pretty much “retired” and started a family. This was actually a good look for Magneto as he was able to find some measure of peace. What was very touching as he was telling his daughter about his parents and the audience was once again reminded of the horrors of humanity in regards to The Holocaust, which is such an integral part of why Magneto is the way he is.
Once he is found out, and betrayed by his fellow “friends,” his daughter is killed by the police trying to apprehend him, and the beast is unleashed. Nothing nails that down better than when Apocalypse takes him to Auschwitz to try and use his power to its fullest extent. This is a big moment for Magneto, not only because this allows him to completely see what he is capable of doing with his magnetism powers, but because it’s such a symbolic moment for him to destroy what has caused him so much pain and suffering. It was cathartic for Magneto and most victims of such a heinous act would probably do the same if they had those powers.
Looks Like We’ll Have a Proper Dark Phoenix
The climactic battle took place in the physical world, but the key moment was when Professor Xavier asked for Jean Grey’s help in the astral world. There we got to see her let loose and the full potential of her powers was shown. Not only was young Jean Grey able to take down such a powerful mutant as Apocalypse, but we got a chance to see the fiery bird. This probably means that we will finally get to have a proper Dark Phoenix Saga. If the next X-Men film goes cosmic (as Singer promises), then we could get a very epic film.
We Finally Got to See ‘Weapon X’
Yes we know, Wolverine is the most visible character in the X-Men films. Pretty much every film has focused on him. It’s to the point where even Hugh Jackman doesn’t want to see Wolverine anymore. However, since the first X-Men film, he’s always been somewhat “tame” compared to his comic book counterpart. Fans of the Wolverine comic runs during the 80s and 90s know that Wolverine was pretty much a feral beast that had to be tamed.
Although his appearance in X-Men: Apocalypse was a glorified cameo, we got to finally see the berserker part of Wolverine that has been denied to us throughout the franchise. He even had the Weapon X mind control helmet from the comic books. The only thing that was able to calm him down was Jean Grey using her telepathy powers to help him. This is a good nod because Wolverine was also in love with Jean, and this could be the start of his feelings for her since she saved him from his rage.
Quicksilver! Quicksilver! Quicksilver!
As great as Wolverine’s scene was, nothing could escape the true scene stealer: Quicksilver! As soon as time slowed down and the music cued up, we were treated to a delightful scene as Quicksilver arrived at the mansion to come in and save everyone. The scene has the perfect blend of humor, song, and perfect CGI. How they’re going to top this scene in the next film is going to be quite hard!
The post-credits stinger at the end shows the aftermath of Wolverine’s massacre from when he was unleashed. A few guys in suits show up and collect his blood. As they collect the blood, they story it in a suitcase owned by “The Essex Corporation.”
This is a nod to Nathaniel Essex: Mr. Sinister. Mr. Sinister was an expert in genetics and was studying mutations in humans until he crossed paths with Apocalypse. With both of them having the same interest in genetics as well as “survival of the fittest,” Apocalypse gave Nataniel Essex superhuman abilities and he became Mr. Sinister.
The blood will probably be used for cloning Wolverine. There have already been rumors that the upcoming third Wolverine film (High Jackman’s last) will have the first appearance of Wolverine clone X-23, the female Wolverine.
The post credit teaser gives a great foreshadowing of both characters as they will eventually make it to future X-Men films.
What Didn’t Work:
Besides Magneto, the X-Men’s most formidable foe has been Apocalypse. After all, he was “The First One,” a mutant so powerful that in one possible future he ruled the world. In this movie, he was a mere shell of his comic book counterpart. It’s hard to take the film seriously when the title’s namesake is somewhat a joke.
The makeup was off, which is a big part of selling the character. Not wanting to compare against the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but they were able to make Vision a believable character through the proper use of makeup and somewhat CGI. The same could have been done for Apocalypse, but it fell flat because he just looked goofy.
Although they gave a good explanation for his powers, it differed from the comic books, so that somewhat a sore point for fanboys. Also, his name literally named “The First One,” yet when we see him in ancient Egypt, there are already hordes of mutants serving him. There is no explanation for the Celestial technology, which would have been nice to use. Overall, this was a waste of a high-quality actor like Oscar Isaac, who until this movie could not lose in any role he’s had so far. The hope is that this role won’t leave a black eye for him in the future.
There are a few deaths in this film that are very frustrating to the average fanboy. To be fair, these deaths are not 100% “confirmed,” but it would be a very hard stretch if they show up in future X-Men films.
The first death is Havok. He’s been with us since X-men: First Class. When he uses his power to stop Apocalypse, which ends up destroying the whole mansion, he ends up being the only one that Quicksilver doesn’t save. Speaking of which: why is Havok the older brother? In comic books, Alex Summers is the younger brother of Scott Summers, but in the film the roles are reversed for no reason. Havok’s death is meant to give Cyclops some sorrow, so he can quickly step up, but he literally forgets about his brother’s death the next scene. Also, if they do decide to go “cosmic,” Havok eventually joins ‘The Starjammers’ with their long lost father Corsair. With Havok dead, that can’t happen.
The second death is Angel’s death. First off, Angel had such a rich story arc in the comics. He was one of the original X-Men, whose wings got clipped and he basically could not fly. As a result, the near suicidal angel joins Apocalypse so that he could fly again. Apocalypse brainwashed him into being one of his horsemen, but eventually Angel broke free of the brainwashing and once again joined the X-men. This film he loses one of his wings in a cage match, and then just becomes one of the Horsemen, but there’s no redemption arc. The film saved the redemption only for Storm and Magneto. Speaking of which, why were they chosen as members of the Horsemen. It would have been better to use other mutants. Before we can ever get a redemption from Angel he’s killed in battle with the X-Men. Just a waste of such a beloved character.
So Nightcrawler Isn’t Mystique’s Son?
In X2: X-Men United, there was a missed opportunity between Mystique and Nightcrawler to reveal that he was her son. In the comics, he was the son of her and Azrael. As you remember, Azrael was one of the bad guys in X-Men: First Class. When Mystique left with Magneto and the rest of the evil mutants, it was assumed that Nightcrawler would be the result of a romantic encounter between the two.
In X-Men Apocalypse, for a brief moment Mystique goes out of her way to rescue Nightcrawler from a mutant cage fighting ring, but after she frees him, she pretty much wants to send him to Caliban and out of sight out of mind. Speaking of Caliban, waste of a character. It’s good to have a sudden cameo, but Caliban was not a mutant “Coyote.” He was a mutant-sensing mutant, who when he was afraid gained superhuman strength, and could also make people afraid around him. He was a force to be reckoned with as well, and they de-fanged him in the film.
There’s no reference to Mystique and Nightcrawler being related, and that’s a bummer.
Speaking of Mystique: These Films Have Totally Changed Her Character
This is due to hiring a powerhouse actress like Jennifer Lawrence, but Mystique was never a true and blue X-Man. She has always been with Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, or she has been solo. Making her Charles’ Xavier’s “sister” somewhat cheapened the character.
The bigger Jennifer Lawrence got, so did the role of Mystique in the X-Men franchise. Take a look back at the original X-Men trilogy, she was barely a sidekick to Magneto. Now she’s the most famous mutant in the story as many mutants look up to her a folk hero for stopping Magneto and saving the president in the last film. It fits the story, but also cheapens the original character.
Also, if she’s so “mutant and proud,” then why does she spend three-quarters of the film not proud of her appearance. Of course, it’s because Lawrence is sick of blue makeup, but that goes against everything she said in the past films.
The Timeline Is All Jacked Up!
With the resetting of the timeline from X-Men: Days of Future Past, there has been no clear explanation of where we are going from there forward. However, it doesn’t seem the film was following the timey-wimey logic from the last film.
When Days of Future Past ended Mystique had impersonated Stryker when he had captured Wolverine. However in this film, Stryker had custody of Wolverine. So basically Mystique just handed him over to the government to be experimented on? That would go against everything she was doing in the previous movie. She was willing to kill Trask because he was experimenting on mutants, and the hands wolverine over to get dissected?
Speaking of time: No one ages!!!! The “First Class Trilogy” has covered 3 decades, and every character looks pretty much like they’ve aged 2 years. There really was no reason to move the calendar forward in the films if other than to show pop culture references from each time period. This film could have remained in the 70s and no one would have batted an eye. Instead, we moved the time forward 10 years and meanwhile everyone didn’t age during that time.
Even with such glaring problems, the film still was entertaining and should be watched in your local theater. After all, if we stop seeing these films, Hollywood will stop making them, and we’ll be stuck with the Transformers films. Go and support your local superhero film and judge them yourself. Overall, X-Men: Apocalypse was a fun time!