X-Men Apocalypse came to theaters May 19th 2016, as with most comic book movies I went to see it day one. I’ll admit that good, bad, or just plain terrible, I’ll pay to see every comic book movie in theaters because I love them; or at least I try my hardest to love them. This latest X-Men movie though, it’s left me fatigued and losing hope in the X-men franchise.
I suppose we’ll start with me saying, I didn’t really like this movie, by the start of this article you could probably already see that. There is some good stuff in this movie, the beginning of Magneto’s story is very interesting, dark, and emotionally charged and is perfect motivation for him becoming one of Apocalypse’s Four Horsemen. Before we get to Magneto becoming the 4th horsemen, were introduced to the other 3, Storm, Psylocke and Angel. Apocalypse finds Storm in an alley after being chased for stealing food from a street vendor, Apocalypse promptly kills the men pursuing Storm. Apocalypse decides storm should be one of his horsemen, at this point we haven’t seen Storm use any of her weather powers, just her telling Apocalypse that she looks up to mystique for what she did in the end of Days of Future Past. Not that I don’t like storm, I actually really like storm, she’s powerful, sure of herself and a great leader, but in this movie, she’s literally the first mutant Apocalypse sees, like it’s not like he saw Toad or Jubliee and passed on them and looked for the best of the best, she was the first FUCKING one!
But I can say I at least liked Alexandra Shipp’s performance as Storm, she sounded, looked, and acted like Storm would. When we get to our second Horseman, we may as well have just had a purple pool toy playing the role of Psylocke, I may have remembered more of what Psylocke actually did in this movie. This was also the 3rd mutant he’s seen in present day, he see’s and talks to Calliban, the mutant trafficker, but no one really likes him in the comics anyway. At this point Apocalypse just seems impatient, he really wants to get busy and destroy the world ASAP, not like anyone really knew what was going on at that point. I suppose with a goal this monumental maybe he should have worked for an extra week or two and roughed out the details and found some top-notch horsemen.
After indoctrinating Psylocke, she leads Apocalypse to the probably one of the most iconic Horsemen from the Comics, Archangel. Well he isn’t Archangel yet, but he will be. Angel is drinking and stewing in self loathing due to his wing being damaged from a fight earlier in the movie between Nightcrawler and himself. The Apocalypse Fam teleports into Angel’s hideout and offers him a new set of wings and a chance to fight. The best part of this scene is the Metallica being played in the background while Angel is sulking and not much else. Archangel does show some motivation in wanting to join apocalypse, but compared to what’s been done in comics where Angel’s wings were brutalized and developing gangrene and is forced to have them amputated. After nearly dying in an explosion on his sabotaged private jet, apocalypse takes him away and offers him new wings in exchange for him becoming his horseman, this forever changes Angel and to this day is an empty shell of his former self. Now you compare to the movie, where Angel get’s beat up when trying to kill Nightcrawler and has a small burn on his wing, is mad and decides to become Archangel. Also did they visit any mutants before Angel? did they try to find anyone else, especially someone who main power wasn’t fucked up? Who knows, maybe every declined and Apocalypse turned them into miscellaneous goo.
Now we get to Magneto, the only horsemen who has perfect motivation for joining Apocalypse and one of the most powerful mutants you’d want when reshaping the world. At the start of Magneto’s story in this movie, we see that he is working in Poland at a refinery and has a wife and daughter. Magneto seems at peace and likes his life, but due to an accident at the refinery Magneto is exposed. Being reported to the police, they come to arrest him which leads to the tragic death of his wife and daughter. This set’s Magneto on a rampage killing all the police and confronting the workers in the refinery for reporting him. Out of the entire movie, these are the most compelling scenes, they make you feel for Magneto and you understand why he’d join with Apocalypse’s “Cleanse the Earth” agenda.
Now that we know the players, Let’s try to figure out what they really contributed to Apocalypse’s plan. We have Storm, who could easily use her weather powers to drown, electrocute, or literally blow them away. Storm fights for a bit but very shortly turns on Apocalypse when seeing him choke her personal hero, Mystique. So in terms of Apocalypse’s plan, she runs interference for him and Magneto but in turn her character is completely underutilized. I would say Psylocke is absolutely useless in this movie, she only really does two things, lead Apocalypse to Angel and be someone who’s somewhat challenging for Beast to fight. If Psylocke was more like her comic counterpart, they wouldn’t have needed to abscond with Xavier since Psylocke has telepathic, telekinetic, and precognitive powers. Did Apocalypse not like the idea of becoming a women? Is that why he didn’t transfer his mind to her body? Cause he could have done the same thing he wanted to without alerting the X-men at all. Before we move onto the only mutant Apocalypse really and truly needed to complete his plan, let’s talk about Archangel’s role in his plan, Archangel fights Nightcrawler and then get’s smashed by a plane. That’s pretty much all he does and it’s all fuckin’ useless. Now, the only useful mutant in Apocalypse’s plot, Magneto. When Apocalypse finds Magneto earlier in the movie, they all travel to Auschwitz, the infamous German death camp which Magneto had been locked away in and tormented as a child. Apocalypse shows Magneto that his power can tear any modern man-made structure from the Earth by having Magneto destroy the remaining buildings in Auschwitz.
At the end of the movie we have everyone including Apocalypse fighting and Apocalypse makes the worst decision by choking Mystique, this turns two of his Horsemen against him, unsurprisingly it’s the only two ones you care about. They all work together and defeat Apocalypse and the worlds strongest mutant to ever exist is dead.
I wanted so badly to like this movie, I wanted to leave the theater with a spring in my step and a twinkle in my eye for the future of these X-Men movies. In some ways there are things to be excited about, maybe we’ll see some radical changes to direction, writing, and overall tone in these movies in the future. But with the X-Men’s greatest threat defeated, where do they go from here? I suppose we did get a post Credits scene teasing Mr. Sinister aka Essex Corp, which could turn out to be a really interesting movie. But after this one, I really don’t know if that could be done.