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Film / X-Men: Apocalypse

"The world needs the X-Men."
"Everything they've built will fall! And from the ashes of their world, we'll build a better one!"
En Sabah Nur / Apocalypse

X-Men: Apocalypse is the 2016 sequel to X-Men: Days of Future Past and the ninth installment in Fox's X-Men film franchise, directed by Bryan Singer.

The movie is set in 1983. Professor X has successfully reopened his school with Beast's help, Magneto attempts to live an ordinary life in Poland by founding a family and Mystique continues her mission to rescue mutants who are in peril. Meanwhile, an ancient and very powerful mutant known as Apocalypse rises, and he's leading his Four Horsemen through a rampage to bring about his namesake.

Its cast includes:

Here are the teaser trailer, the second trailer and the final trailer.

Tropes applying to this film:

  • The '80s:
  • '80s Hair:
    • Professor X, Havok and Quicksilver can pull off the mullet look much better than a lot of the male celebrities of the era.
    • Raven's crimped hairdo is a cross between Madonna's and Cyndi Lauper's in the early '80s.
    • Warren's curly mane is Billy Idol-esque.
    • Nightcrawler's bangs come straight from A Flock Of Seagulls.
    • Rose Byrne likens Moira's hairstyle to Working Girl.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Psylocke's weapon can cut through a car as if it was a hot knife cutting butter.
  • Action Girl:
    • Mystique knocks out a few guys who are bigger than her in East Berlin. She later becomes the battle commander of the X-Men.
    • Jean Grey unleashes the full power of the Phoenix and obliterates Apocalypse, who can only marvel at her power.
    • An unarmed Agent Moira MacTaggert, who is covered in a burqa that hinders her movements somewhat, is able to disarm a man larger than she is and render him unconscious.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Mystique, a villain in the comics and in the original trilogy, is the field leader of the X-Men. She insists that she's not a hero, though.
    • Comic book Quicksilver was never a member of the X-Men, but his movie counterpart is. He also expresses his veneration for Mystique's courage in defeating Magneto—his own father—and preventing the latter from assassinating President Nixon.note 
    • Played with, but ultimately subverted by Apocalypse himself, who first presents himself as kind and caring towards his followers, but is disgusted by their weakness once they fail him.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Psylocke's hair is purple in the comics, but her movie counterpart is raven-haired with purple highlights.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Magneto had a daughter named Anya in the comics, but her name is Nina in the movie-verse.
  • Adaptation Personality Change:
    • Warren Worthington III in X-Men: The Last Stand was presented as a wholesome Nice Guy; in this film, he's an angry and cocky rebel.
    • Scott Summers is a bad boy instead of a "boy scout" (as he calls himself in the first movie). He encourages a few of his classmates to skip school, and he steals one of Xavier's fancy cars to drive them to the mall.
    • Kurt Wagner no longer goes hammy to remind everyone that "in the Munich circus, he was known as The Incredible Nightcrawler!", as in X2.
  • Adorkable:
    • This is Kodi Smit-McPhee's assessment of Nightcrawler from the May 2016 issue of Empire.
      "Kurt's an affectionate, cute character. He's almost a cute animal to me. [...] He's awkward and weird and amazing in a different way."
    • When Charles meets Moira at her office, he acts like a nervous and love-struck teenager, and the frequent fumbling of his words embarrasses Alex.
  • Adrenaline Time: The entire sequence in which Quicksilver rescues everyone from the mansion as it's exploding, just after Havok ruptured the generator during Apocalypse's kidnapping of Charles. The same effect appears again during Quicksilver's fight against Apocalypse towards the end of the film.
  • Adult Fear:
    • A large explosion which can decimate an entire school when class is in session is any parent's nightmare. It's only because of Quicksilver's intervention that the death toll is nowhere near as high as it could've been.
    • In Erik's case, it's the death of his wife and daughter.
  • Age Lift:
    • In the Alternate Timeline, Jubilee is (somehow) roughly the same age as Cyclops and Jean instead of being younger than them in both the original trilogy and the comics.
    • Inverted with Nina (the Adaptation Name Change for Anya), who in the comics was Magneto's eldest child, but in the movie-verse, Quicksilver is. Nina is at least 18 years younger than Peter Maximoff.
  • All Asians Know Martial Arts: Played straight with Psylocke, who demonstrates her combat skills on a few occasions.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Mystique, Beast, Apocalypse, and Nightcrawler are different shades of blue.
  • Anachronism Stew: A minor example occurs in a tie-in commercial, which suggests that the students have access to fiber-optic internet, widescreen computers and modern cars in The '80s.
  • Ancient Astronauts: Apocalypse and the Four Horsemen are debated by Xavier and Moira. Did he took the idea from the Bible... or did the Bible took the idea from him?
  • Antagonist Title: Or subtitle in this case.
  • The Antichrist: Singer invokes this when he describes Apocalypse.
    "[Apocalypse is] kind of the opposite of Christ, actually. Christ would have come years after him, by the way."
  • Apocalypse How: Accidental Pun aside, Apocalypse's goal is to cause a Class 3a event. Its scope is Planetary, and its severity is Species Extinction.
    Xavier: Apocalypse means to destroy this world.
  • Arc Words:
    • Once upon a time, Magneto asked Xavier what would he do if some day the secret is outed and the people come to take him and his students. The latter replies, "I feel a great swell of pity for the poor soul that comes to my school looking for trouble." This is another year, another timeline, another context, a Magneto and an Xavier with other lives (and played by different actors), but their dialogue is repeated, word by word.
    • "All will be revealed." Apocalypse himself uses this phrase often, both to reassure the Horsemen and to not divulge details of his plan to Xavier and the rest of the X-Men. When Jean unleashes the Phoenix Force against him, this changes to "All is revealed" just before he is disintegrated. It is left unclear if causing this event was one of his goals.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Stryker manages to go from the X-Mansion (Northern New York, Eastern USA) to Alkali Lake (stated in the first movies to be in Alberta, Western Canada) in a helicopter, without refuelling.
  • Artistic License – History: Some realities of the Soviet bloc are way off.
    • It is nigh-impossible that a CNN reporter would have been allowed to film in a Polish town, especially given that Poland in 1983 was under martial law.
    • When Apocalypse is addressing the world, he speaks in Russian to a large group of churchgoers at a solemn Russian Orthodox Christian service. It is also highly improbable that the church would have that much attendance (religious life in the USSR was very strictly policed).
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Quicksilver returns in this movie as a major character with a larger role in the plot.
    • Psylocke only had a brief (and barely recognizable) role in X-Men: The Last Stand; she has been recast with a new actress who is closer to the character's appearance in the comics.
  • The Atoner: This is how Michael Fassbender perceives Erik at the beginning of the story, as reported by the May 2016 issue of Cineplex.
    "He works in a steel factory, but he's not using his powers. I thought that was kind of interesting that he's doing honest manual labour. Penance is a bit extreme, but he's sort of left his world domination days behind him."
  • Badass Boast: As Xavier lies on the ground and loses blood after being beaten to a pulp by Apocalypse during their Battle in the Center of the Mind, he still reminds Apocalypse that he is alone, and he [Charles] is NOT! Cue Jean unleashing the Phoenix.
  • Badass Crew: Beast, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Mystique, Quicksilver and Moira (as the Token Human teammate) comprise the X-Men. Storm joins them later.
  • Badass Normal: The Ancient Egyptians of 3,600 BC, who manage to defeat En Sabah Nur and his Four Horsemen without the benefit of superpowers or modern technology.
  • Bald of Awesome:
  • Basement-Dweller: Peter Maximoff is around 27 years old in 1983, and he still lives in the basement of his mother's house.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind:
    • There is a psychic battle between Professor X and Apocalypse.
    • There is another one between Jean Grey and Apocalypse which is resolved almost instantly and is followed by a telekinesis battle, which is over almost as fast.
  • Beam-O-War: Storm's and Cyclops' powers collide during a battle.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Erik's beard is initially a Beard of Hiding From the Authorities, but it becomes this trope after he loses his wife and daughter.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Alex says that Apocalypse took the idea of the Four Horseman from the Bible. Moira counters by suggesting the Bible took the idea from him.
  • Beneath the Mask: Quicksilver's jovial facade hides some deep-seated daddy issues regarding his estranged father, Magneto.
    Peter: He left my mom before I was born. I met him ten years back, but I didn't know it was him. By the time I figured it out, it was too late. Then I saw him on TV again, and I came to the house looking for him, but by the time I got there... (sighs) Late again. You know, for a guy who moves as fast as me, I always seem to be too late.
  • Big Bad: Apocalypse is the main threat, given the Antagonist Title this movie has.
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • Alex brings Scott to Xavier's school in the hope that his former mentor can help his younger brother cope with his potentially dangerous mutant power.
    • When Apocalypse is asphyxiating Mystique, Charles doesn't even think twice before he expresses his willingness to surrender himself, but then Moira reminds him that he can't do this because the entire planet would then fall under Apocalypse's control. Xavier collapses in tears when he realizes that he can't exchange his life for his foster sister's.
  • Big Fancy House: The Xavier estate has never looked more beautiful on the silver screen—it's one of the most (if not the most) breathtaking, old-fashioned residences in cinema. It's practically a five-star hotel for mutants! The land around it is vast, lush and green, and one of its highlights is a stone-lined lake.
  • Birds of a Feather: Jean is scared of her telepathic power, and Xavier himself had struggled with his psychic abilities as a child (as mentioned in Days of Future Past), so he relates more strongly to Jean's situation than the difficulties the other young mutants have faced. They have a very profound surrogate father-daughter bond because they are the only ones who can fully understand what it's like to be a telepath and the troubles that come with their mutant gift.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Xavier's eyes turning completely black as he declares, "I've never felt power like this before" is the result of Apocalyse taking control of him to use Cerebro for disabling all of the world's nukes simultaneously. Everyone who is possessed during the process gets the same eye color.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • The flamboyant East Berlin cage match announcer exclaims, "Sorry, mutants!" after Nightcrawler is electrocuted, but the former's ecstatic giggle afterwards makes it plain that it's just part of his act; he's not the least bit apologetic for any of the abuse inflicted upon the mutants.
    • Xavier claims that he has Level 5 clearance when Moira asks him how did he get to her office, which is obviously not true—he gave everyone at the CIA building a "break" with his psychic abilities.
  • Bling of War:
    • Magneto's Horseman armour is glorious, and it's certainly more awe-inspiring than his previous costumes.
    • Archangel's silver-and-dark-grey armour is also marvelous to behold.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: Archangel takes part in mass murder after he is recruited by Apocalypse.
  • Blood Sport: The seedy side of East Berlin gets its sick thrills from watching mutants beat each other up to a pulp. Angel warns the skittish Nightcrawler that if he doesn't fight, they'll both be killed.
  • Bloodier and Gorier:
    • The film has some noticeably more violent moments than most of the previous films, most notably during Wolverine's rampage through the Alkali Lake base.
    • When Jean incinerates him with the Phoenix Force, Apocalypse's skin is shown melting off, revealing his skull underneath.
  • Body Backup Drive: En Sabah Nur is introduced performing a transfer of his consciousness into another body (that of a regenerating mutant apparently) through a ritual inside a pyramid that is powered by the sun. Later in the film, he builds a new gigantic pyramid in Cairo to perform the ritual on Charles.
  • Body Horror: Angel's empowering by Apocalypse is surprisingly disturbing. He contorts his body while his wings twist and shift as they get embroidered in metal and a second, smaller pair grows, seemingly breaking part of his ribcage and skin. He's understandably screaming in pain throughout the whole transformation.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Wolverine, when he's discovered by Jean, Scott and Kurt in the Alkali Lake base. Jean mentions that Logan has lost his humanity and been experimented on. When he emerges, he massacres Stryker's troops in a rage without hesitation, and is only stopped when Jean reminds him of his humanity and removes his helmet.
  • Break the Cutie: For the past decade, Professor X has been very happy running his school with Hank by his side, and he's pleased by human society being more accepting of mutants. He's then kidnapped by Apocalypse (and with Magneto's assistance, no less), his home is blown to smithereens, and he's brought half-way across the world into a situation where's he's completely at the mercy of a mutant who's more powerful than he is. Apocalypse wants to cleanse the Earth of any mutant or human who isn't strong enough to survive the new world order, and he intends to exploit Xavier's telepathy to facilitate this extinction-level event by taking control of him. For Charles, this is a far more terrible hell than what he had endured in the previous two films. McAvoy sums up his character's suffering as:
    "It wasn't just the weight of the world I was feeling. It was the death of the world."
  • Broken Angel: Angel's wing is seriously crippled after his fight with Nightcrawler, hampering his ability to fly.
  • Broken Masquerade: As mutants were publicly exposed much earlier than in the original continuity, this is to be expected.
  • Bullet Time: Quicksilver as he speeds through the X-Mansion.
  • California Doubling: The exterior of John Abbott College (located in a suburb of Montreal) was the stand-in for the Auschwitz concentration camp. The steel mill factory where Erik works is in Saint-Ours, a town about 75 km from Montreal.
  • Call Back:
    • Much like First Class, the plot is kickstarted by Moira going undercover to investigate a strange organization (the Hellfire Club in the first installment, and the Cult of En Sabah Nur in this film).
    • Erik is acknowledged by multiple characters and news outlets as a fugitive who is wanted for both JFK's assassination and the attempted murder of President Nixon, which is why he's hiding in Poland.
    • Jean has a "nightmare" about the end of the world. It recalls the premonition her older counterpart had in the original timeline that "something bad is supposed to happen."
    • Moira's memory loss that Xavier had caused near the end of X-Men: First Class is acknowledged and reversed. He reminisces about them being on a Cuban beach.
    • Apocalypse brings Erik to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where Lehnsherr and his parents were imprisoned as seen in X1 and First Class.
    • An adamantium-clawed Wolverine attacks Stryker's goons at the underground base at Alkali Lake.
    • Jean Grey uses her psychic powers on Wolverine, which echoes what her original timeline counterpart did in X1.
    • Moira and Raven accompany the X-Men on their mission just as they did 21 years earlier.
    • While on the X-Jet, Mystique is wistful (with a sad Beast overhearing) about the losses they have suffered throughout the First Class trilogy.
      Raven: But I was scared on my first mission. It was on a plane like this with my friends, about your age. We called ourselves the X-Men. Hank and I are the only ones left. I couldn't save the rest of them.
    • When Jean unleashes her full powers on Apocalypse, she's surrounded by a fiery Phoenix.
    • For the first time, James McAvoy's Professor X is bald and dressed exactly like Patrick Stewart's Xavier.
    • Erik's and Charles' dialogue ("Doesn't it ever wake you up in the middle of the night...") is taken verbatim from their last scene in the first film. Moreover, Lehnsherr's black turtleneck was last seen in X-Men: First Class.
    • Again, there is a Danger Room scene featuring Sentinels. Only this time, they're the 1973 ones from X-Men: Days of Future Past.
  • The Cameo: Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, who appears (initially Brainwashed and Crazy) as a prisoner in Stryker's underground facility at Alkali Lake. He shows just long enough to massacre most of Stryker's troops (and have the mechanical apparatus strapped to him removed by Jean) before he escapes into the forest.
  • Central Theme: Word of God has divulged that the main thread throughout the story is families coming together.
  • Character Development:
    • Charles' idealism is ripped away from him again, but instead of breaking into pieces like he did in between First Class and Days of Future Past, his experience with Apocalypse hardens him, resulting in a slightly darker, but wiser Professor X than Patrick Stewart's version.
    • Kodi Smit-McPhee elaborates on his character's journey.
      "Nightcrawler, he's kind of scared of his own shadow at this point, so he's probably pretty terrified. Through everything he does in this movie it's kind of, as we say, the stepping-stones of becoming the brave hero he is."
  • The Charmer: While it's not strictly part of canon, this commercial portrays Quicksilver as a romantic suitor when he tries to woo a young woman with his super-speed. Since this ad was approved by the X-Men: Apocalypse producers, we can infer that it's part of his personality to court a lady with roses and candlelight.
  • Chest Blaster: Havok unleashes energy from his chest to damage Cerebro.
  • Chivalrous Pervert:
    "Definitely he has... the hots for her! (laughs) She gives new meaning to his life, undoubtedly. [...] Charles is madly in love with Moira and he will do everything to protect her."
    • Professor X may even have a bit of competition because Quicksilver blows a couple of kisses at Moira and holds her in a traditional dance pose before rescuing her from an explosion. In this commercial, Peter sniffs the hair of the girl he's (very much) interested in, and he performs elaborate gestures just so that she can better enjoy the romantic movie she's watching.
  • Co-Dragons: Apocalypse makes four psychologically vulnerable mutants (Angel, Magneto, Psylocke, and Storm) his lieutenants, the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Played straight (Apocalypse is only referred as such when Moira reveals his backstory where he was surrounded by four destructive mutants—"like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse"; Kurt Wagner is introduced as "Nightcrawler", mentions the nickname once, but goes more commonly as "Kurt"), but also subverted (Psylocke and Angel are only referred to as that), and averted with some justification (Scott Summers, Jean Grey and Ororo Munroe are not yet X-Men).
  • Combo Platter Powers: Bryan Singer had listed Apocalypse's skills in a May 2016 Empire article. Justified in that he absorbs the powers of basically every mutant he's known, specially those whose bodies he's taken.
    "Not only can he control technology, teleport, and enhance the abilities of his chosen Horsemen, but he can move inanimate matter. He can dissolve, change and transform inanimate molecules."
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Scott's teacher lectures her students about the world's first public exposure to mutants in 1973, via their appearance at the Paris Peace Accords and Magneto's attempted assassination of President Nixon.
    • Nightcrawler is dressed in circus attire during the fight club scene; he was a Circus Brat before he met the X-Men in X2. Moreover, Mystique's sexy dress is a variation of her disguise when she seduced a prison guard. Her black leather jacket is also similar.
    • Xavier reads a passage from The Once and Future King to his class, which is the exact same edition an incarcerated Erik had in X2.
    • In this featurette, the elegant chess set in Xavier's mansion is identical to the one Charles and Erik played on the former's plane in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
    • Alex was a Jerk Jock to Hank in X-Men: First Class, and even though Havok is around 38 years old in 1983, he hasn't lost his mocking attitude because he pokes fun at Beast's blue, furry form.
    • When Jean tells Professor X that she's afraid she'll hurt someone, there is a glimmer of recognition in his eyes—he remembers what he saw of the Phoenix in Wolverine's memories in 1973.
    • Although Xavier had given up his womanizing ways a long time ago, his attraction to Moira hasn't diminished in the slightest.
    • Moira remains passionate about her career at the CIA, and her interest in mutant issues is ongoing. Even though she's missing memories of Xavier from 1962, she reads his papers on genetics.
    • Charles apologizes to Moira for erasing parts of her memory back in 1962.
    • Quicksilver is still a big Progressive Rock fan because he sports a Rush T-shirt; in Days of Future Past, he wore a Pink Floyd one (a Floyd poster is still in the basement). He also continues to be a video game enthusiast (although he has moved on from Pong and is seen playing Pac-Man).
    • When Mystique asks Beast how is he going to get the plane out of the hangar, he says he will make an entrance through the basketball court (exactly where it was shown rising up from in X1, and mentioned in dialogue by Stryker in X2).
  • Continuity Reboot: Technically the first installment in the new X-Men series following the Cosmic Retcon in Days of Future Past (although First Class is still canon). To show this trope is in full force, the writer has confirmed that we will likely see entirely different iterations of characters who appeared in the original trilogy. Word of God is that thanks to Mystique's actions in Days of Future Past, history has been altered so greatly that some mutants have now been born long before they were in the original timeline. Most importantly, it implies that, by reading Wolverine's mind in Days of Future Past, the younger Charles has learned about the grave mistakes his older self had made in the original timeline, and he did everything he could to prevent them from happening. Jean unleashing the Phoenix much earlier than in the original timeline and having complete control over it to defeat a formidable foe such as Apocalypse instead of letting it take over her personality and destroy everything around her is probably the best example.
  • Continuity Snarl: Singer appears to suggest that several characters featuring in this film as teenagers would have been born earlier thanks to DoFP rewriting the timeline... problem is, it's only been 10 years since the point of divergence so nobody "born much earlier" could possibly be older than 9 years old in 1983. Applying Bellisario's Maxim definitely helps (or assuming, like was the case in the original comic story, the past scenes of Days were always a different universe, thus accounting for the different birth dates). Not to mention that Cyclops and co. look young for their age in the 2023-scene of Future Past.
  • Cool Helmet: Unlike the previous models of the Cerebro helmet, the inner wiring of The '80s version lights up when activated.
  • Cool Shades: Charles, Scott, Alex, Peter and Stryker are seen in '80s-style sunglasses.
  • Cool Teacher: Professor Xavier is well-liked by his students because of his warm and pleasant disposition. He even dresses cool by '80s standards (his clothing is more casual than what he wore in the original trilogy and in X-Men: First Class), which makes it a little easier for the youngsters to relate to him because he puts in some effort in following current trends.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Unlike Charles, Hank doesn't believe that human-mutant relations will always be smooth, and he has spent the past decade building a new model of the Blackbird (and presumably equipment, combat uniforms, etc.) so that the X-Men will be ready should things suddenly go south. As Nicholas Hoult puts it:
    "Hank, since the last movie, still believes that the world kind of needs the X-Men, and that even though there's peace between humans and mutants at this point, he senses trouble and has kind of been building this jet war plan and kind of preparing for the worst."
  • Creator Cameo:
  • Creepy Monotone: This is how Apocalypse sounds when he informs Professor X, "I'm here for you, Charles." The voice is quite chilling, and it forebodes that Xavier will soon be in really deep trouble.
  • Cult: Moira informs Charles and Alex that cults began to sprang up after the public discovered the existence of mutants, and some of these secret societies believe those with special abilities are part of a Second Coming.
  • Crusading Widower: After Erik loses his wife and daughter, he takes up Apocalypse's offer to get the ultimate revenge against a world which has been cruel to him, a world which he feels deserves to be destroyed.
    Magneto: They took everything from me. Now, I'll take everything from them.
  • Cult of Personality: Apocalypse emphasizes his god-like qualities to draw in potential followers. Singer highlights the character's role as a cult leader.
    "He's also a false god, which makes him kind of like a cult leader. So Oscar Isaac and Simon Kinberg not only studied religion, but also studied the nature of cults and how they function."
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Professor X is at a tremendous disadvantage when he confronts Apocalypse because the latter can sizeshift to an impressive degree. After being crushed like a bug and smashed against a wall like a rag doll, Xavier is left crawling and he's covered in blood.
    • Mystique learns the hard way that Apocalypse is much stronger than she is when he holds her up in the air with his hand constricting her throat, asphyxiating her.
    • Apocalypse in general against anyone who goes up against him, except for Jean; the one who comes the closest to get good hits in is Quicksilver, and he's ultimately dispatched, too.
    • Jean, meanwhile, shows that Apocalypse was ultimately small peanuts compared to the Phoenix Force.
  • Damsel in Distress: Mystique and Moira are imprisoned by Stryker.
  • Dark Action Girl:
    • Storm wields enough power to attack Jean, Cyclops and Beast simultaneously and was overpowering Scott in their Beam-O-War.
    • Psylocke goes toe to toe with Beast and almost kills him.
      Olivia Munn: Psylocke is very lethal, and she's not afraid to get her hands dirty.
  • Dark Is Evil: The black background of the "Destroy" poster (which promotes the villains) signifies this.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • As usual, Nightcrawler looks like a dark blue demon, and he's one of the good guys.
    • The X-Men are all clad in black and are the heroes.
  • Dark Lord on Life Support: En Sabah Nur would periodically transfer his essence into a new host body whenever the old one started to wear out. His current body is thousands of years old due to him having been sealed away for so long, and he's actually reliant on his life-support suit to help him keep it going until he can find a suitable replacement. Without the suit, Apocalypse really does show his age.
  • Decomposite Character: In the comics, Magda was the mother of both Nina (the Adaptation Name Change for Anya) and Quicksilver, but in the movie-verse, Magda and Ms. Maximoff are two separate characters; the former is Erik's wife, and the latter is a woman he once had a fling with in the mid-1950s. Nina and Peter Maximoff are therefore half-siblings.
  • Demoted to Dragon: Magneto isn't the leader of the supervillain team; this time around, he plays second fiddle to Apocalypse.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Wolverine and Colonel Stryker have an extended cameo.
    • The Blob is one of Angel's opponents at the East Berlin fight club.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Xavier twists Apocalypse's worldwide message to tell the strong to protect the weak if they can. Apocalypse's "bitch, please" expression at the sheer audacity is priceless.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: When Jean Grey accesses the full force of the Phoenix, she ultimately becomes the one who defeats Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant. Everything is Curb-Stomp Battle for her.
  • Dirty Coward: When Logan is set free by Jean and starts slaughtering the soldiers at Alkali Lake, Stryker loses his nerve and abandons his team to escape the base.
  • Disappeared Dad: Quicksilver tells Mystique that Magneto left his mother before he was born, and Ms. Maximoff remains bitter at Erik for how he had treated her. She even tries to dissuade her son from attempting to contact his father.
  • Disaster Movie: The genre.
  • Disposable Woman: Magda and Nina are sacrificed so that Erik becomes Magneto again.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Xavier can hardly think straight when he meets Moira again, and this is Played for Laughs.
  • Distressed Dude:
    • Kurt is rescued by Raven when he's at the East Berlin cage match.
    • Xavier is abducted by Apocalypse and his team.
    • Beast and Quicksilver are imprisoned by Stryker.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Apocalypse's relentless pursuit of Xavier for the latter's body and the subsequent Mind Rape is a disturbing analogy for an obsessive stalker/rapist wanting to violate his prey; it also doesn't help that Charles is a Pretty Boy, which further enhances his image as a victim.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Jean's dreams about Apocalypse, although they might also be about the Phoenix Force.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: The Giza pyramids are in the background in the wide shot of Cairo.
  • Energy Beings: Apocalypse is a non-corporeal entity who can collect the powers of any mutant he possesses. He still needs a body to actually exist.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep":
    • Jubilation Lee goes by her nickname Jubilee.
    • Psylocke is only known by her code name.
  • Evil Costume Switch: All four of Apocalypse's Horsemen are presented with new outfits after joining his cause.
    • Erik ditches his civilian clothing, reasserts his Magneto identity, and is gifted with red Bling of War.
    • Ororo is given black armour with silver highlights, and her new code name is Storm.
    • Psylocke receives a form-fitting purple leotard.
    • Angel's bird-like wings are grafted to metal, he is provided with a suit of silver-and-dark-grey armour, and he adopts a new persona called Archangel.
  • Evil Overlooker: Apocalypse in the poster, as seen above.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: James McAvoy's Professor X is finally bald, which means that his transformation into Patrick Stewart's character is complete, albeit with a few tweaks to his personality because his experience in the Alternate Timeline is quite different.
  • Eye Beams: Cyclops has a lot of trouble controlling his optic blast, but with a little help from Jean, he is able to use it against Storm during a battle.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Archangel's face may look cherubic, but his personality is anything but that. He's Apocalypse's "angel of death," and he assists his leader in bringing about the worldwide extinction of humans and mutants alike.
  • Fanservice: A minor example with Professor X, who owns a white shirt with vertical strips of semi-transparent material, so parts of his chest are somewhat visible. It's a deliberate attempt by the filmmakers to evoke the Hot Teacher trope, as he was a Hot Scientist in X-Men: First Class. Even the V-neck of Xavier's lilac shirt and the 3/4 sleeves of his blazer expose a bit more flesh underneath his neck and around his lower arms than the conservative clothing that is archetypal to his character, so although he's not presented as outright sexy, the costume designer is nonetheless depicting Charles in a more sensual manner than in previous movies.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Magneto's coworkers, they're all simultaneously dissolved by Apocalypse, with only an assortment of limbs (some of which still twitching) remaining of them.
  • Fantastic Racism: Although mutants are generally treated better in the Alternate Timeline, some places are less tolerant than others (e.g. the East Berlin fight club exploits mutants for entertainment), as Raven points out when she says, "Mutants are being hunted, living in fear." She also insists to Charles that "Just because there's not a war, doesn't mean there's peace."
  • The Fashionista: Jubilee is this, according to this magazine scan.
  • Fight Clubbing: Mutants are forced to participate in this in East Berlin.
  • Fish Out of Temporal Water: Apocalypse wakes up in 1980s Egypt after being sealed for thousands of years, and he's understandably confused at first. He speaks ancient Egyptian at first, and none of the Arabic-speaking people he bumps into can understand what he says. He quickly overcomes the problem after meeting Storm: he learns every language in the world and the world's history in a matter of seconds by simply touching a TV screen.
  • Foil:
    • Apocalypse sees himself as a god, whereas Professor X serves as a Messianic Archetype of the movie series.note  They are both mentors to their respective teams, and they reach out to mutants who feel lost, confused and alone, so their dominant leadership style is Charismatic. They promote radically different ideologies: Apocalypse believes that the Earth should only belong to the strongest and the weak should be wiped out, while Charles thinks that it can be shared by everyone equally and peacefully. During the Final Battle, Apocalypse ends up alone, but Xavier is very much not. Their position on the "Defend" and "Destroy" posters mark them as foils.
    • Carolina Bartczak directly compares her character Magda with Xavier—the former is Erik's wife and the latter is his Heterosexual Life-Partner—and her arc somewhat resembles Charles' from X-Men: First Class. They both love Lehnsherr in a similar way despite knowing the numerous crimes he has committed in the past. They both "start a family" with him (Magda gives birth to a daughter, while Charles and Erik "adopt" mutant teenagers with a Team Mom and a Team Dad dynamic). Both relationships end in tragedy—Magda is accidentally killed by Polish police, whereas Xavier and Lehnsherr's very close friendship ends in a "divorce," plus Charles is accidentally crippled by Magneto. Erik cradles both of them in his arms.
      Carolina Bartczak: She meets Erik after he has become this globally wanted criminal, and even on their first night, he tells her who he is. She sees something beautiful in him, something peaceful, something like Charles also sees in him, that he can be a good man and live a normal life. They actually fall in love and start a family.
    • Professor X and Quicksilver are light-hearted, charismatic Pretty Boys and Chivalrous Perverts, and they even share an attraction towards Moira.note  They have both undergone a Man Child phase and have parental issues—Charles had experienced emotional neglect from his mother, and Peter grew up fatherless. Xavier and Maximoff are Erik's brother figure and biological son, respectively, yet ironically, Quicksilver is more comfortable staying with the Professor (who will become his mentor and Parental Substitute) than revealing to Lehnsherr that they're related. Xavier also shows an almost fatherly concern for Peter's safety during the battle against Apocalypse because Charles anxiously utters the young mutant's name when he's able to sense through his telepathy that Maximoff has been seriously injured.
    • Angel and Nightcrawler are incapable of hiding their visible mutation and face prejudice because of it, but while Angel becomes vengeful, anti-social, and bitter, Nightcrawler attempts to maintain an upbeat attitude which grants him friends and a larger support network. Angel is abandoned even by his comrades.
    • Erik and Charles each have one scene which demonstrates their father-daughter bond—one is born through blood ties and the other is forged through a shared manifestation of the X-gene. Nina is happy with her Friend to All Living Things mutant gift, and as Lehnsherr tucks her into bed, he sings her a song and tells Nina about her grandparents. Jean Grey, who views her telepathy as a curse, is extremely troubled by a "nightmare" about the end of the world, and Xavier tries to comfort his surrogate daughter by confiding to her that he too can be overwhelmed by the incessant thoughts of others. Nina is accidentally killed by Polish police, and because they are using non-metal weapons, Erik can't do anything to save her. When Apocalypse is about to destroy Charles' mind, the latter uses the last ounce of his strength to urge Jean to release the full force of the Phoenix, and she eventually succeeds in rescuing her father figure. Magneto's love and grief for Nina leads him to participate in the Earth's destruction, but Professor X's love and faith in Jean leads her to save it.
    • The Four Horsemen are depicted as members of a fanatical cult who seek to destroy the world, whereas the X-Men are portrayed as members of a paramilitary group with moderate views who do all they can to defend it.
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    • Since the movie takes place in the 1983 of the Alternate Timeline, and the ending scene of DoFP is set in 2023 of the same timeline, it is obvious that at least Xavier, Beast, Storm, Jean, Cyclops, Wolverine, Rogue, Iceman, Shadowcat and Colossus will survive the events of this film.
    • Or that the Horsemen will betray Apocalypse. Storm was shown in the last scene of DoFP and Magneto was hinted at (to say nothing of the planned New Mutants film) while the X-Force film in development would certainly hint at Archangel and Psylocke's survival. Archangel is killed while Psylocke escapes.
  • For Want of a Nail: Because of the changes to the original timeline, the public is widely aware of the mutant presence in the world nearly two decades before they originally did... And this ends up bringing En Sabah Nur into the mix. Also, various characters were born much earlier than they were originally, and in different countries. Somehow.
  • Four Is Death: The Four Horsemen; Agent MacTaggert details their importance in En Sabah Nur's cult.
    Moira: Wherever this being was, he always had four principal followers, disciples, protectors he would imbue with powers.
    Alex: Like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. He got that from The Bible.
    Moira: Or the Bible got it from him.
  • Freudian Excuse: After Erik loses his family, he's in so much grief that he's willing to follow Apocalypse, who convinces him that he's God, and God has granted Magneto a divine purpose.
  • Freudian Slip: While talking to Hank, Charles' subconscious can't hide his lust for Moira when he's supposed to be concerned about an unusual energy surge.
    Xavier: I'm going to check her out—check out the situation.
  • Friend in the Black Market: Caliban is a broker who operates behind the Iron Curtain, with Psylocke as his bodyguard.
  • Friendly Enemy: Professor X and Magneto are this during the early part of the movie, according to Simon Kinberg:
    "At the end of the [Days of Future Past], [Magneto] flies away without his helmet, with the implication that he'll go off and continue to be Magneto in some form, but not be able to hide it from Charles, who'll be able to read his mind and track him. There's a truce of some kind between Charles and Magneto, but there's a part of Magneto that will always be the Magneto we know from the comics."
  • Friend to All Living Things: The mutant ability of Nina, Erik's daughter.
  • Funny Foreigner: Nightcrawler's culture shock get milked for some laughs.
  • Gene Hunting: Quicksilver seeks out his father Magneto, but Peter chooses not to disclose to Erik that they're related.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: Writer Simon Kinberg has said that they want to avert this trope with Apocalypse's character in the film, according to the interview listed under Apocalypse How.
    Simon Kinberg: So he's not just somebody who's out there destroying the world because he can. What he's doing is—in his mind—justified and validated by a real compelling, coherent philosophy. He tries to proselytize and convert people—maybe some of our most familiar characters—to come to his cause.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Jubilee sports these instead of the Boyish Short Hair she usually wears in the comics.
  • A God Am I: Inverted; En Sabah Nur claims that the various deities worshipped throughout history were just different names for him. Apocalypse is so powerful that Hank essentially acknowledges that the former might as well be a supernatural being ("It's all of us against a god"). Singer clarifies Apocalypse's "divine" status.
    "He's kind of more the God of the Old Testament, the vengeful God who wants the world in a certain order and wants to be worshipped—but he's also forgiving."
  • Go-Getter Girl: Lana Condor views Jubilee as this.
    "She's a really, really, really fun girl. [...] She's very much a student. Like, she knows her subjects and knows her stuff. So for example, if Professor X were to lecture us, I'd be the first one to be like, 'Yo, me, pick me, because I know.' She gets along with everyone."
  • Good Costume Switch: Storm dons the X-suit after her Heel–Face Turn.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Occurs multiple times during Wolverine's rampage through the Alkali Lake base.
  • Grand Finale: Bryan Singer has referred to this film as the culmination of all his work on the franchise, starting with X-Men way back in 2000. He states in the May 2016 issue of Empire:
    "This movie to me is closure. It's in a way, a conclusion to a six-film journey."
  • Grand Theft Me: En Sabah Nur rejuvenates himself by transferring his essence into the body of a younger Egyptian man in his Lazarus chamber. Thousands of years later, he chooses Xavier to be his next host.
  • Happy Flashback:
    • Magneto recalls a couple of cherished moments that he had shared with Xavier in 1962.
    • When Charles restores the memories that he took away from Moira, there's greater emphasis on the cheerful times they had spent together.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Storm undergoes one at some point, seeing as how she's one of Apocalypse's Horsemen in this film, but was seen in her usual role as a teacher in Xavier's school at the end of DoFP. Confirmed, as she switches sides during the battle once she sees Apocalypse nearly killing her idol, Mystique.
    • Magneto also decides to go against Apocalypse thanks to a combination of a speech about family, courtesy of Mystique and Quicksilver, and remembering that Apocalypse's current target was ultimately his best friend.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: This is The '80s, so leather clothing is very much in fashion.
    • Both Raven and Warren are dressed in a studded black leather jacket.
    • Scott's leather jacket is mostly artichoke green with some blue on the front.
    • Kurt's Thriller jacket is made out of red leather.
    • Peter sports silver leather pants and a silver leather jacket with black sections.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Charles and Hank retain their close friendship from X-Men: Days of Future Past, and it's a lot healthier now because McCoy is no longer Xavier's enabler, and they've ceased to be co-dependent. They also behave more like peers, as Hank is a teacher, and he has grown out of being needy of his former mentor's approval.
  • Hidden Depths: Archery is Jean's hobby, and it later becomes handy when she assists Cyclops with aiming his Eye Beam during their confrontation with Storm.
  • Hollywood Old: It's been 21 years since First Class, and yet most of the cast has barely changed (an exception is Beast: regular Hank seems normal, but when he goes back to blue, he's getting closer to Kelsey Grammer). There's even a lampshade of sorts when Xavier observes that Moira "hasn't aged a day".
  • Homage: The George Takei-narrated ''In the Footsteps of... En Sabah Nur'' is a tribute to In Search Of, a TV series which ran from 1977 to 1982 and was hosted by the late Leonard Nimoy, Takei's co-star on Star Trek: The Original Series.
  • Homoerotic Subtext:
    • Simon Kinberg said that Apocalypse is the third chapter of a love story between Magneto and Professor X.
      "If First Class was Erik's story and Days of Future Past is Charles' story, then Apocalypse will be both of their stories. The first movie was about Erik becoming empowered. That's the origin story of a man's power. Days of Future Past is about a guy who is a mess, masterminding the end of this massive movie. So they are both at their peak powers at the start of Apocalypse, so Apocalypse for me is the culmination of that three-act love story."
    • While promoting Apocalypse at SDCC, James McAvoy summarized his charater's love-hate relationship with Erik (and Michael Fassbender agrees).
      McAvoy: It's that thing in a love story where you don't always like the person you're in love with, but you still love them. Charles and Erik always hated the way [the other] approached things. It's like, "Argh, he's always wanting to kill the humans! He's always going about the same old shit," and yet I just love the guy. I can't kill him, I don't want to mind-control him, I love him.
      Fassbender: That's right.
  • Hot Teacher: Professor Xavier apparently thinks it's okay for him to wear a white shirt which is partially semi-transparent while teaching a class filled with hormonal teenagers. It's the first time in the franchise where his character is mildly objectified, and it's a progression from his Hot Scientist days in X-Men: First Class.
  • Iconic Outfit: Professor X embraces a more serious and distinguished-looking three-piece suit, which is a variation of his tweed-preppy look in X-Men: First Class.
  • I Have Many Names: Apocalypse claims to have been known throughout history as Ra, Krishna, and Yahweh among others.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Happens to Apocalypse, once Jean destroys his barrier. Erik stuffs him full of metal girders thrown at high-speed just before he dies.
  • Info Dump: Moira's scene with Charles and Alex at her CIA office serves as exposition; she details the cults that have formed after the world learned about mutants in 1973 and Apocalypse's origin.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Since this movie partly recycles Charles' arc from First Class, his radiant blue irises are once more a symbol of him being too idealistic for his own good.
  • Inspector Javert: Oddly enough, Stryker plays this role in the film. After Apocalypse took control of Charles's mind and ordered him to control the nuclear missile controllers and send the missiles into space, Stryker tracks the signal to the X-Mansion and mistakenly believes that Charles is actually the one who's behind it. So he leads a special forces to raid it and capture some key mutants to interrogate them about Charles's whereabouts.
  • Internal Homage:
    • Our introduction to Angel in the Alternate Timeline at a cage match is not unlike our first glimpse of Wolverine in X1. Like Logan, Warren defeats a large, bald challenger.
    • Singer copied his own shot from X-Men: Days of Future Past of Charles facing the camera as he's waiting for the Cerebro doors to open, and an X-shaped blue light shines on his visage.
    • A flannel-wearing Erik trying to live a normal life and working at a labour-intensive job brings to mind a flannel-wearing, lumberjack Logan in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. They haven't been actively involved in any mutant issues in years, but they are pulled back into the conflict after they lose a loved one.
    • Beethoven's "Symphony No. 7" is heard when Apocalypse hijacks Cerebro and forces Xavier to mind-control everyone at nuclear launch sites, which results in every nuclear weapon being launched into outer space; this mirrors the use of Mozart's "Dies Irae" during Nightcrawler's attack on the President in X2.
    • As in X2: X-Men United, Professor X is captured by the Big Bad who wants to use the telepath's powers as part of his Evil Plan.
    • Xavier starts off beaming like a ray of sunshine and then is subjected to a harrowing Break the Cutie incident... again.
    • Quicksilver takes the time to move around small pieces of debris and to stretch his arms before he rescues Raven, Hank and Moira from an incoming explosion, so just like in X-Men: Days of Future Past, he fools around a little bit before saving three of his allies from mortal danger.
    • Also echoing X2 is Stryker's arrival to the mansion's grounds via a military helicopter, kidnapping a few mutants and bringing them to his underground facility at Alkali Lake.
    • Cyclops' and Storm's mutant power duel is reminiscent of Iceman's and Pyro's in X-Men: The Last Stand.
  • In Touch with His Feminine Side: One of Charles' shirts is lilac, which is not considered to be a masculine colour, and it reflects his androgynous personality.
  • Irony: Unlike the last movie where the conflict stemmed from man's hatred and fear of mutants, the problem is now centered around mutants being admired to the point of worship (see Cult).
  • It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: Mystique became a great hero for all mutants by saving President Nixon on live television in 1973. From the students of the Xavier institute to a poor mutant thief in Cairo, all revere the unknown mutant hero. But Mystique herself wants nothing to do with it, as she does not consider herself a hero, and consistently avoids her real form to avoid unwanted praise.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Nightcrawler was an elfin cutie pie during his adolescence.
  • Jedi Mind Trick: When Stryker's soldiers search for more mutants and pass where Jean, Scott and Nightcrawler are hiding, Jean uses her powers to conceal them from sight. She keeps using it to board the helicopter and go around the military base, staying undetected.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Magneto again. Under Apocalypse's orders, he seizes what seems to be Earth's entire magnetic field, causing worldwide destruction all but assuredly millions of deaths. By the end of the movie, he's again on good terms with Charles and apparently his name is now being cleansed because he helped fight Apocalypse.
    • At the end of the Final Battle, Psylocke sneaks away undetected by the X-Men.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Psylocke prefers to harm her enemies with a katana and a psionic blade.
  • Kill All Humans: Magneto isn't aware at first that Apocalypse's ultimate goal is to eliminate anyone (regardless if they're human or mutant) who doesn't meet his criteria for "the survival of the fittest."
  • Killed Off for Real: Havok, Archangel, and Apocalypse himself.
  • Kill the Cutie: The sweet and innocent Nina accidentally dies at the hands of the Polish police.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Nightcrawler's teleportation power is blocked by electrical fields. They also interfere with Jean's telekinesis and telepathy.
  • Large Ham:
    • In the SDCC trailer, Erik cries out at the top of his lungs, "IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT FROM ME?!"
  • The Leader:
    • Bryan Singer has said many times that Apocalypse's greatest superpower and non-superpower skill is persuasion, so he falls under the Charismatic category.
    • Mystique is a reluctant field leader of the X-Men because she's used to working on her own, and she's of the Headstrong variety. She's outspoken, determined and courageous.
  • Legendary in the Sequel: Mystique is hailed as a living legend and a source of inspiration for young mutants.
  • Leotard of Power: Psylocke wears a purple leotard just like her comic counterpart.
  • Lighter and Softer: Kinberg has characterized this film as a cross between the lightness of First Class (as expressed through '80s kitsch) and the darkness of Days of Future Past because of the global stakes.
  • Light Is Good: The pale grey background of the "Defend" poster (which promotes the heroes) signifies this.
  • Light Is Not Good: Archangel with his angelic motif and being a Horseman of Apocalypse.
  • Living Legend: Mystique is greatly admired for saving President Nixon from Magneto in 1973, but she resents her fame, and she chooses to disguise herself in her blond Raven form so that people won't recognize her blue, scaly self.
    Raven: I told you I'm not a hero.
    Jean: You're a hero to us. Seeing you that day on TV changed my life.
    Scott: Mine too.
    Peter: Mine too.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The cast of mutants in this film rivals even Days of Future Past.
  • Logical Weakness: Jean Grey's Jedi Mind Trick is useless against security cameras.
  • Logo Joke: The "X" of the 20th Century Fox logo is highlighted.
  • Male Gaze: The way the camera moves when we first see Mystique in her cleavage-exposing dress evokes this.
  • Man Child: At the age of 27, Quicksilver still isn't an independent adult because he continues to reside in his mother's basement, although his living space is a lot less cluttered than it was in Days of Future Past, which implies that his kleptomania has toned down in the past decade. He cracks a joke about his mother wanting him to get out of the house, and Peter acknowledges his Basement-Dweller status on the X-Jet.
  • Manly Tears:
    • Erik openly sobs when he cradles his wife's and daughter's lifeless bodies.
    • Professor X sheds a tear while he's using Cerebro to communicate with Magneto because he's able to feel the latter's grief over the deaths of Magda and Nina.
    • Scott weeps when he learns that his brother Alex is dead.
    • Charles' eyes are red and wet when he urges Magneto not to join Apocalypse.
  • Marquee Alter Ego:
    • Mystique appears more often in her Raven-as-Charles'-sister form than her natural blue, scaly self. Jennifer Lawrence is the most well-known cast member, so the filmmakers wanted the actress' face to be more visible, not to mention that Lawrence has a strong aversion towards the long make-up process. She even appears as Jennifer Lawrence on the poster, while two previous movies featured her blue form instead.
    • Nicholas Hoult isn't in the same league as Lawrence fame-wise, but he only spends roughly half of his screentime as the blue, furry Beast.
    • Oscar Isaac briefly appears without makeup at the beginning of the film.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: A foster siblings variation with Raven and Charles. Both are mutant activists, but they use different approaches when saving the world one mutant life at a time—the sister is more "active" and the brother is more "passive." Mystique is a forthright Action Girl who travels around the globe and regularly employs violence to free mutants who are in physical danger. Professor Xavier, on the other hand, is a sweet Non-Action Guy who remains at his home/school and coaches his mutant students on how to master their inherently hazardous abilities so that they're no longer a threat to themselves or to others.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!":
    • Erik's coworkers are visibly distressed at the sight of Apocalypse.
    • Something goes terribly wrong while Xavier is linked to Cerebro because he is screaming in agony and cannot sever the connection. Raven, Hank and Moira are unable to help him, so in desperation, Alex is forced to use his power to disable the supercomputer.
    • They are later shocked when Magneto snatches the unconscious Charles, wheelchair and all, flanked by Apocalypse and the other Horsemen.
    • A worldwide oh crap once Apocalypse relays a message of destruction to the entire world through Charles.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • In Real Life, En Sabah Nur means "The morning light" (he represents the dawn of mutantkind), but the comics (and presumably the movie-verse) translate it as "The first one."
    • It's no accident that Jubilee's given name is Jubilation because she carries a sunny disposition.
    • Warren's code name Angel refers to his angelic looks, which include his large, white wings and blond curls. He later becomes Apocalypse's "angel of death."
      Ben Hardy: Angel is pretty angry, and he casts a shadow of death across the land.
  • Messianic Archetype: Although the parallels were obvious in previous films, Bryan Singer finally makes it explicit that Professor X is analogous to Jesus in the franchise.
    "I've gotten to explore Professor X when he was an older, bald, wise man, when he's insecure, when he's defenseless, when he's powerful. He's more of a Christ figure. He chooses to be a teacher. He could go inside Cerebro and rule the world, but he chooses not to. He chooses to teach and preach and hope that people follow his message: peace and unity. And I've gotten to see him as a drug addict and a loser, and in this movie, you're going to get to see him prosperous and almost blindly optimistic, and how he changes."
  • Mind Rape: Charles suffers this torture thrice: the first is being mind-controlled by Apocalypse through Cerebro, the second is during Apocalypse's near-successful Grand Theft Me attempt, and the third is during their mental battle.
  • Monochromatic Eyes: Apocalypse's and Storm's eyes turn white when they actively use their mutant abilities.
  • Monster Progenitor: En Sabah Nur is the world's first mutant and the most powerful one. Over the millennia, he accumulates the abilities of all of his mutant hosts, so he's virtually god-like.
  • Monumental Damage: The Sydney Opera House, the Auschwitz concentration camp (a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site), and a section of the Manhattan Bridge are obliterated in spectacular fashion.
  • Mook Horror Show: Wolverine's run through Striker's goons in lake Alkali.
  • More Than Mind Control: Apocalypse has superhuman persuasion abilities that he uses on the Horsemen, according to Bryan Singer.
    "He has various abilities and powers, one of them, like [Apocalypse actor Oscar Isaac said during the Comic-Con panel], is the power of persuasion, and part of why that's necessary is he needs other followers to be his Horsemen, and some of them would be hard to persuade—Magneto, Erik being the hardest. It's interesting, what's a little bit, hopefully, complex in the movie, or even ambiguous, is how much he's persuading his followers with a superhuman ability or just he's like any cult leader who is really good at convincing people to follow him, so we don't really ever make that explicit. It's not like he's putting people under a spell, but he is superhumanly persuasive."
  • Movie Superheroes Wear Black:
    • Played straight with the X-Men, who don battle versions of the original trilogy's black outfits. Ditto for Storm, whose Horseman armour is mostly black with a few silver highlights. Later averted with the second set of uniforms, which still contain some black, but it's no longer the primary colour.
    • Averted with Magneto, Archangel and Psylocke, who wear red, silver/grey and purple respectively; the latter's outfit in particular is quite similar to the comics. Interestingly, Psylocke's costume was going to be black, but Olivia Munn had requested that it be purple so that it would be faithful to the comics.
  • Mr. Fanservice:
    • Oscar Isaac is covered only in a loincloth when he's lying on a slab during an Ancient Egyptian ceremony; he's the mutant host that En Sabah Nur wishes to possess.
    • Angel is shirtless when Apocalypse tries to recruit him.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Time travel causes mutants to be publicly exposed earlier, prompting Apocalypse to try to take over the world. This is the foundation of the plot of the most famous Apocalypse story, Age of Apocalypse.
    • Apocalypse's Large Ham moment sounds eerily similar to a quote that he said as he gathered his Horsemen in the 90's cartoon:
      Apocalypse: The old world passes away. Together, we shall forge a new one, in fire and blood. [...] From the ashes of this world, I shall build a better one!
    • This is not the first time Magneto and Storm were Horsemen of Apocalypse.
    • Alex Summers is an executive at Berkshire Hathaway, a company located in Omaha, Nebraska. In the comics, Havok was placed in an orphanage in the same city.
    • Storm's mohawk was first introduced in the comics in 1983 by Paul Smith, and this film is set in 1983.
    • Magneto was never married or had a daughter named Nina (the Adaptation Name Change for Anya) in the original timeline, but he does in the Alternate Timeline, which is a nod to the comics.
    • Peter Maximoff is established to be Erik's son in this film, and just like in the original source, Magneto wasn't aware that he had fathered Quicksilver for many years.
    • Moira has a son and was married like her comic book counterpart.
    • At a music store, Scott shows Jean an album called "Sounds of Light and Fury" which was recorded by Dazzler, a mutant from the comics who hasn't appeared in the movie-verse.
    • The blue uniform Cyclops gets later in the film resembles his classic Jim Lee costume from the 90's, complete with the Y-shaped chest belt.
    • Scott and Kurt's friendship is similar to their X-Men: Evolution incarnation.
    • The bracers on Nightcrawler's costume are white like the gloves of his classic costume, but share a similar design to the armored bracers he wore in the Age of Apocalypse series.
    • Wolverine/Weapon X breaking out of containment and massacring a large group of soldiers as the commanding officers watch helplessly over security cameras is taken from a similar arc in the "Marvel Comic Presents" series. The mechanical apparatus strapped to him is even modeled directly on the comic version.
    • In the original trilogy, Xavier went out of his way to suppress Jean's Phoenix powers. In this movie, he encourages her to unleash them.
    • In the first X-Men movie, a scene was planned showing teenage Cyclops' powers manifesting in the school bathroom. It was never shot, but it appears in this film.
    • In the final scene, Mystique is delivering the Danger Room briefing in her costume from the comics.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The trailers heavily imply that Apocalypse will try to use nuclear weapons to bring about the end of the world, while in the actual movie Apocalypse launches every nuke in the planet into space to get rid of them, thus taking away humanity's ability to fight back against him.
    • In a case of Never Trust the Promotional Material, Fox released a timeline listing major historical events that Apocalypse had been involved in. note  However the movie makes clear that Apocalypse was entombed in 3,600 BC, meaning he couldn't have been involved with any of those events.
  • Nice Guy: Scott Summers, based on his classic characterization.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Havoc's attempt at saving the professor from Apocalypse only manages to blow up a generator under the school, causing a huge explosion. Thanks to Quicksilver, the only casualty ends up being Havoc himself, being the closest to the blast.
    • The cultists managed to locate En Sabah Nur's resting place but had made no progress in reviving him... until Moira left the entrance to the cave uncovered, allowing the sunlight in to power the machinery and waking Apocalypse.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Erik uses his powers to save an innocent worker, which leads to the police coming after him and accidentally killing his wife and daughter.
  • Nothing But Hits: Metallica's "Four Horsemen" plays when Archangel is "born," and the Eurythmics' most famous song, "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)," is heard during Quicksilver's rescue of Xavier's students. Both were released in 1983.
  • Number Two: By the end of the movie, Mystique becomes Professor X's second-in-command, which is the Adaptational Heroism equivalent of her position as Magneto's Dragon in the original trilogy. In the Alternate Timeline, she sides with her foster brother instead of her ex-lover.
  • Official Couple: Erik and Magda are married.
  • Oh Crap!:
    • This is Nightcrawler's reaction when he's unceremoniously dumped into a cage match surrounded by a large crowd of humans who are hollering for mutant blood to be spilled.
    • While Professor X is connected to Cerebro, he utters, "Oh god" after Apocalypse hijacks Cerebro.
    • Apocalypse creepily tells Xavier, "I'm here for you, Charles," which freaks out the telepath.
    • Charles' irises and pupils go pitch black while using Cerebro as he proclaims in both awe and fear, "I've never felt power like this before."
    • Scott panics when he realizes that there's nothing left of the mansion but rubble.
    • The default expression of any soldier right when getting face-to-face with a brainwashed Wolverine.
    • Mystique's terror as she's being choked by Apocalypse.
    • During a psychic battle, Xavier tries to punch Apocalypse, who easily blocks him; the latter then alters his body so that he's gigantic, and he easily crushes his now smaller opponent.
  • Older Than They Look: Professor X, Magneto, Moira, Beast and Havok have barely aged since the Cuban Missile Crisis, which took place 21 years prior to this film. Mystique isn't the only one with good genes.
  • Old Flame: Charles and Hank still carry torches for Moira and Raven, respectively.
  • Old Money: This detailed look at Xavier's mansion practically screams this trope. The narrator introduces it as, "In its near 300 years of service, this estate has been the primary residence for New York's elite society." She later adds, "...every effort has been made to preserve its historical and architectural integrity of the above-ground structure." It is estimated to be worth $75,850,000 USD (2016)!
  • Only in It for the Money: Mystique accuses Caliban of caring only about money.
  • Origins Episode: For Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm and Nightcrawler.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Erik outlives his daughter Nina, who didn't even get the chance to reach adolescence.
  • Pac Man Fever: Quicksilver is still at his mom's basement, playing with Ms. Pacman. Justified, as the film is set in 1983, and Pacman was the great videogame success of the time.
  • Parental Abandonment: Alexandra Shipp confirms that Ororo's parents died when a plane crashed into their home when she was five years old.
  • Parental Neglect: Ben Hardy suggests that a lack of parental nurturing is a major factor in Warren turning to the dark side.
    "People who don't get looked after enough can end up being very angry and I feel like this is where Angel's anger comes from and maybe that gives him the potential to transform and become one of the villains."
  • Parental Substitute:
    • Xavier is a father figure to all of his students, and to Jean especially.
    • McCoy is a teacher at the school, and he has a paternal relationship with the younger mutants.
    • Apocalypse serves this role to Storm. He also invokes this trope when he asserts that "You are all my children, and you're lost because you follow blind leaders." He also tends to call mutants "my child."
  • People Puppets: Professor X "insists" with his mind-control abilities that everyone at the CIA building a "take a break" so that he and Havok can visit Agent MacTaggert without having to deal with security.
  • Period Piece: The main setting is 1983, so naturally most of the hairstyles and clothing match the era. The Cold War is still in effect, so Nightcrawler, as a resident of East Berlin, must queue to receive a loaf of bread.
  • Perma Stubble: Charles has faint stubble instead of being clean-shaven (which is his regular look in the franchise), and it conveys to the audience that he hasn't fully reclaimed his heroic Professor X identity. He's a relaxed, content principal, teacher, and low-key mutant activist, not a commander of a paramilitary group like in X-Men: First Class. He gets rid of the extra facial hair once he decides that it's necessary for him to step up his role as a leader of mutants. Xavier's stubble is also a Shout-Outnote  to Detective James "Sonny" Crockett from Miami Vice.
  • Physical God:
  • Playing Gertrude:
    • During filming, James McAvoy and Rose Byrne were 36 years old while Michael Fassbender was 38, but their characters are in their late forties/early fifties in 1983.
    • Nicholas Hoult was 25 years old during principal photography, but if we assume that his character was around 20 in 1962, then in 1983 Beast is pushing 40.
    • Lucas Till is 8 months younger than Hoult, and Havok is only a couple of years younger than Beast. Alex Summers is roughly two decades older than his brother Scott, but Tye Sheridan is just 6 years Till's junior.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Quicksilver and Nightcrawler provide some of the more amusing moments in the film.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Charles and Alex discuss this as they're heading towards Moira's office.
    Alex: So you really haven't see her in all these years? You never looked her up? Not even in Cerebro?
    Charles: Alex, what do you take me for, some kind of pervert? Yes, I looked her up once, twice. But not in a long time, alright?
  • Precision F-Strike: Continuing the trend from First Class and Days of Future Past, Magneto has the honor this time around when he comes face-to-face with Apocalypse. ("Who the fuck are you?")
  • Pretty Boy:
    • Professor X is around 50 years old, yet before he loses his hair, he's still gorgeous and youthful-looking for his age (he can pass for a man in his early 30s)—in fact, he doesn't appear all that different from his graduate student days in First Class. This alludes to him embracing his former naïvety again, and it makes him look much more helpless and vulnerable when he becomes Apocalypse's prisoner. Being boyishly beautiful also emphasizes Charles' status as a victim when he's Mind Raped by Apocalypse, which is a metaphor for sexual assault.
    • Repeating a theme from First Class is Hank being a mirror image of Charles with a few key differences. McCoy remains pretty and boyish in a similar way to Xavier, but despite being a decade younger, he is much more cautious and realistic than his ex-mentor, and he makes plans to ensure that the X-Men have everything they need when (and not if) the peace between mutants and humans is shattered.
    • Warren is beautiful, and it's meant to be ironic that an angelic-looking youth is actually quite ruthless and deadly.
    • Although Nightcrawler falls more on the "cute" side, he is extremely attractive with his elfin features (particularly larger, more prominent ears) which are further enhanced by his adolescent development. They reflect his Adorkable personality, and even with the scars on his face, the impression Kurt leaves on viewers is that he's a lovely blue elf rather than a freaky blue demon.
    • Quicksilver is affirmed to be Magneto's son, so Peter's softer features juxtapose his father's Villainous Cheekbones. Quicksilver fights for the heroic team, and Magneto sides with the Big Bad. Maximoff's puckish looks also mark him as a Man Child and a Basement-Dweller.
  • Previews Pulse: There are several of these in the SDCC and the teaser trailers.
  • Priceless Ming Vase: The destructive test of Cyclops' powers results in a tree that was in the garden being carved in half. Xavier says that it was the first tree planted by his grandfather. After he says it, the tree finally breaks in half, and Scott fears that they will kick him out of the school.
  • Product Placement: Scott's sunglasses are Ray-Bans.
  • Pstandard Psychic Pstance: Jean performs this gesture when she uses her telepathy.
  • Psychic Powers:
    • Xavier is the most formidable telepath in the world (and is described as such by Stryker), which is why Apocalypse covets his "extraordinary" abilities—the best that he has encountered in "a thousand lifetimes"—and selects Charles to be his next mutant host.
    • Jean uses her telekinetic powers several times and in a god-like scale against Apocalypse.
  • Purple Is Powerful:
    • In his natural gaseous form, the god-like Apocalypse is purple, and his teleportation "bubble" also has a purple tint. The walls of Cerebro glow purple when Xavier is "possessed" by him.
    • The highlights in Psylocke's hair, her Horseman leotard and her psionic blade are purple, and she's very dangerous.
    • Mystique's risqué dress is shiny and purple, and she's the most effective combatant at the cage match.
    • In a shot of Jean Grey screaming, a purple filter was used over her face, and it's a sign that her Phoenix powers are being unleashed.
    • Inverted with Professor X, who is wearing a lilac (which is a pale shade of purple) shirt when he's Apocalypse's prisoner, and he's weaker than the god-like mutant.
  • Pyramid Power: En Sabah Nur build a high-tech pyramid in Ancient Egypt, and used it as his base, to assimilate the powers of other mutants. Once in the XX century, he built a new one in the middle of Cairo, for the same purpose.
  • Ragnarok-Proofing: Back in the old days of Ancient Egypt, En Sabah Nur build a pyramid with weird technology, which is activated by the sun. The Egyptians betrayed him and sabotaged the pyramid, which collapsed under the ground. Apocalypse stays dormant, the pyramid is buried rubble, end of story. Until several centuries later, when an excavation found the pyramid, the sun rays get though, reached the pyramid, and it was activated, as good as new.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The Polish cops who try to arrest Eric early in the film, especially compared to the usual depiction of law enforcement authorities in this franchise. They target Eric simply because he's an internationally wanted man, and not out of anti-mutant prejudice or hysteria. Moreover, they do not wish to harm his family and simply want to take him in alive. When one of them accidentally kills Eric's wife and daughter they are all horrified and remorseful at what they'd done in the brief moments before Eric kills them.
    • Stryker of all people is presented as one compared to his previous depictions in the franchise. He only abducts Raven, Peter, Moira and Hank so that he could question them about a cataclysmic psychic event that seemingly originated from the Mansion, and leaves behind the innocent students of the school (unlike his visit in X2). Then again, he did torture and brainwash Logan into becoming Weapon X in this continuity as well.
  • Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?: When talking to Mystique, multiple characters mention that she stopped Magneto from killing the president 10 years ago.
  • Rule of Sexy:
    • Professor X retains his thick, wavy mane for most of the movie instead of being bald for its entirety. Justified in this case because Xavier didn't display any signs of male-pattern baldness in Days of Future Past, so the hair loss which occurs later on is not natural.
    • The actors in their 30s who play characters who are in their late 40s/early 50s (McAvoy, Fassbender and Byrne) were not given any ageing make-up, and there is very little grey in their hair. This is especially jarring with Professor X (at least when he's not bald), who should appear at least 30 years older than Jean Grey and Scott Summers, but James McAvoy's youthful features make him look like he's only about 15 years their senior.
    • Psylocke's revealing uniform isn't sensible for a battle, but it does provide Fanservice. It's actually sexier in the movie-verse than in the comics because of the addition of a boob window.
    • The semi-transparent vertical "stripes" on Charles' white shirt. It even seems out-of-character for him to put on a garment which could potentially be distracting to some of his students as he had never been overtly objectified in the franchise before. (Another way to look at it is if a female teacher had worn the same shirt, it would be considered inappropriate.) This was clearly done by the costume designer to exploit James McAvoy's desirability before his character loses his hair and becomes more serious.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • The Four Horsemen represent four different aspects of a cult's power to attract and recruit new members.
      Bryan Singer: It has a political faction, and I'd always felt Magneto could fill those shoes. It always has a military faction, so Archangel could fill those shoes as the guardian. There's also a youth faction. Those that you're trying to seduce and grow into your cult—the young, whose minds are malleable [such as Storm]. And lastly, the sexual component, because cult leaders tend to sexualize their position and have sex with half the people in their cult. And the Psylocke character, who was a very bright character in the comic, but is always looking for guidance and leadership, always trying to find the right guy, so she ends up with Apocalypse in this one.
    • There are bookends in Charles' study which are shaped like the mythological figure Atlas, and they symbolize his heavy burden of trying to save the world.
      We look around Xavier's school some more, exploring every nook and cranny of Prof. X's office. We spot a couple of Atlas-themed book-ends, with two muscular men carrying planets on their backs. It makes us flashback to that dark room, where we saw McAvoy cry. If ever there was a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders, it's James McAvoy's Professor X.
    • Charles and Erik have at least one costume which was strongly influenced by Miami Vice, and they are basically dressed as Detective Crockett and Detective Tubbs, respectively. Like Crockett and Tubbs, Xavier and Lehnsherr are Heterosexual Life-Partners.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Havok is only one of five characters to appear in every entry of the First Class trilogy, but because he's the least developed, he's killed off here.
  • Say My Name:
    • An alarmed Raven shouts "CHARLES!!!" when her unconscious foster brother is kidnapped by Magneto.
    • Apocalypse bellows Charles' name several times while searching for his escaped prisoner.
  • Seers: Jean's precognitive ability expresses itself as a terrible dream full of death and mass destruction.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Stryker wastes no time getting himself out of Alkali Lake's base after Wolverine/Weapon X gets loose.
  • Sequelitis: Discussed in-universe. Which is the best Star Wars film? The Empire Strikes Back, with the reveal and the dark ending? Or A New Hope, which laid the ground for all the others? In any case, they agreed on something: Return of the Jedi was the worst of the three films.
  • Series Continuity Error: When Raven reminiscences about the original team from First Class, she talks about how they were called the "X-men". However, going by the events of that film, Moira only coined the term "X-men" after the events in Cuba, by which point the team had already broken up and Raven herself has left.
  • Shapeshifting Seducer: Mystique's electric purple ensemble is quite revealing, and it's meant to be a distraction to the big, burly guards at the fight club venue; one underestimates her by calling her "little mouse."
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Played with in Professor X's case. His Miami Vice-inspired wardrobe is relatively casual compared to the more formal suits that were iconic to his character in the original trilogy (and X-Men: First Class to a lesser extent). However, he adopts his classic look after he loses his hair.
  • Shirtless Scene: Angel is bare-chested when Apocalypse transforms him into Archangel.
  • Shock and Awe: Storm's mutant ability is magnified by Apocalypse.
    Alexandra Shipp: Storm's got this darkness to her. Apocalypse makes her stronger and more powerful.
  • Shout-Out:
    • James McAvoy has said in numerous interviews that Charles' suits were ripped off from the iconic outfits worn by Detective James "Sonny" Crockett from Miami Vice, a popular TV series which made its debut in 1984, one year after the events of this film. Don Johnson's wardrobe on the show ignited a fashion trend, so in the movie-verse, it appears that Xavier was ahead of his time style-wise. Michael Fassbender mentions that Erik has a suit which was inspired by Detective Ricardo "Rico" Stubbs, Crockett's partner.
    • Nightcrawler owns a jacket which is a replica of Michael Jackson's from the famous Thriller music video, which is somewhat recursive because it resembles his costume from the comics.
    • When Quicksilver is talking to his mother, his T-shirt has a cartoon print of The Six Million Dollar Man, and he plays Pac-Man. He also changes the TV's channels from the News to Knight Rider. He later changes into a Rush T-shirt, and near the end of the film, he's seen in an Atari one.
    • The Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Who Mourns for Adonais?" plays on Ororo's TV set.
    • While in class, Jubilee wears a Journey T-shirt.
    • While sending the students back to bed during Jean's nightmare, Charles chides them "Spit Spot."
    • Return of the Jedi is shown to be playing at the movie theater during the mall sequence.
    • A barrage of missiles being launched simultaneously brings to mind Terminator.
    • The character poster for Apocalypse evokes the Yorick's skull scene from Hamlet.
    • Singer shot a scene which was directly influenced by a seminal moment from Apocalypse Now.
      We're watching a bald man loom out of the shadows in a stone room, somewhere in a violent foreign land. Emotion wracks his face, and a solitary tear trickles down his cheek. We brace ourselves to hear the iconic line "The horror, the horror" before remembering we’re not actually on the set of Apocalypse Now, but X-Men: Apocalypse. We're not seeing Marlon Brando shoot a key scene as Colonel Kurtz, but James McAvoy's Professor X. His head's shaved for accuracy, not madness.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Although Charles and Raven are on better terms than in X-Men: Days of Future Past, they still strongly disagree over how humans in general treat mutants. He believes the world is gradually becoming more tolerant of their kind, but she has seen with her own eyes that there's still a lot of oppression. This article uses the metaphor of Xavier being a peaceful dove and Mystique is an aggressive hawk.
    Charles: I have plans for this place. I mean to turn it into a real campus, a university. Not just for mutants, either; for humans, too. Living and working, growing together.
    Raven: You know, I really believed that once. I really believed we can change them.
    Charles: We did.
    Raven: Just because there's not a war, doesn't mean there's peace. You wanna teach your kids something, teach them that, teach them to fight, otherwise they might as well live in this house for the rest of their lives.
  • Shown Their Work: The movie has a scene where a USAF officer lists off nuclear weapons launches in/by the UK, France, USSR, China, India, Israel. Sharp viewers might notice that he did not mention Pakistan. That is not a mistake — Pakistan did not become a Nuclear Power until 1983, coincidentally when this movie's set.
  • Sickly Green Glow: There is green lighting at both the East Berlin fight club and the Alkali Lake base, neither of which are pleasant places for mutants.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: Xavier's attire before and after his encounter with Apocalypse is quite different, and it illustrates a major change in his worldview. He begins with laid-back, '80s-influenced apparel, and he then switches to a conservative, Simple Yet Opulent suit. Charles is naïve at first, but his optimism is later tempered by realism.
  • Single Tear: Magneto sheds a lone tear when he remembers the close friendship he once had with Charles.
  • Sizeshifter: Apocalypse can change his size at will.
  • Skyward Scream: Erik does this as the Auschwitz concentration camp is being disintegrated.
  • Smug Smiler: During her duel with Beast, Psylocke has a boastful glee on her face, and he doesn't appreciate it one bit.
  • The Social Darwinist: Apocalypse takes this to an extreme level, as always.
    Apocalypse: Together, we will cleanse the Earth for the strongest.
  • The Sociopath: Judging by Psylocke's big grin when she almost cuts off Beast's toes, she's sadistic towards her foes.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams" while Quicksilver saves (almost) everyone at the X-Mansion from a massive explosion. It's because he's listening to it in his walkman.
  • The Stinger: It involves the abandoned Alkali Lake facility being raided by Essex Corp.. If you don't understand the significance, Mr. Sinister's name is Nathaniel Essex. The genetic info about Wolverine may be used to create Comic Book/X23.
  • Stock Footage:
  • Stock Subtitle: Apocalypse. Unique in that it doubles as a character name.
  • A Storm Is Coming: Xavier ominously announces that "A great storm approaches" in the SDCC trailer.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge:
    • Erik's wife and daughter are killed off to fuel his anguish for the rest of the story, and to make him vulnerable to Apocalypse's influence.
    • In a rare male example, Alex dies to kick-start his younger brother's Scott Character Development.
  • Stunned Silence: The survivors of the mansion's destruction are all shocked and speechless when they realize that their school has been reduced to a big pile of smoking debris.
  • Super Empowering: Apocalypse can amplify a mutant's power, and it's one of the gifts that he bestows on his Four Horsemen. He also does this to his prisoner Xavier.
  • Superhero School: This is the only entry in the First Class trilogy where we get to see a fully operational Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. Since mutants aren't hiding from humans in the Alternate Timeline after 1973, the school's enrollment is much greater than what we saw in the original trilogy, plus there is generally less angst among the youngsters due to society being more accepting of them (relatively speaking).
  • Super Strength:
    • Beast tosses Psylocke over a tall building (with room to spare!) like it's no big deal.
    • Apocalypse easily lifts up Mystique off the ground while strangling her.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: What song is Angel listening to when Apocalypse, Psylocke and Storm come draft him? Metallica's "The Four Horsemen."
  • Take That: Done in a ridiculously meta way. Some of Xavier's students go watch Return of the Jedi, and afterwards they argue about which installment of the trilogy was the best. Jean then says at the end, "We can all agree that the third one is the worst!". Counts as Self-Deprecation given Simon Kinberg also co-wrote X3.
  • Team Dad:
    • James McAvoy stresses in the June 2016 issue of F*** magazine that Professor X, for all of his kindness and altruism, has a profound psychological need to be the "king of the castle," so to speak. Xavier genuinely loves his friends and his students and he cares deeply about them, but it's also very important to him to hold a certain amount of authority over them.
    McAvoy: That's partly why he's building a school and he wants that family that he never really had, and he wants to be the father. He's got that slight... he's a good man, but he's got a little bit of a god complex as well. He wants to be at the head of the table. It's a good thing, but it's his flaw as well.
    • Ironically, Quicksilver chooses to be mentored by Charles instead of beginning a relationship with his estranged father Erik. Although Peter doesn't know either man well at this point, his decision strongly suggests that he feels a greater affinity towards Xavier, who did briefly display his paternal side towards Maximoff before they had parted ways in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
  • Tender Tears: Xavier cries a lot as reported by this article.
  • That Man Is Dead: Charles pleads with Erik not to join Apocalypse, but Lehnsherr has already reclaimed his Magneto persona.
    Xavier: Erik, don't join them.
    Magneto: Whatever it is you think you saw in me, I buried it with my family.
  • Third-Person Person: Caliban always refers to himself by his own name.
  • This Means War Paint: Archangel has markings on his face.
  • Time Abyss: Since he was young during the reign of the Egyptian Empire, En Sabah Nur has been around for four to five thousand years at the least. According to Moira, some believe him to be tens of thousands of years old.
    Apocalypse: I was there to spark and fan the flame of man's awakening... to spin the wheel of civilization...
  • Time-Shifted Actor: New actors portray the teenage incarnations of Cyclops, Storm, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Jubilee, and Angel. In addition, actor Berdj Garabedian will play the older incarnation of Apocalypse.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Charles loses his hair due to a psychic trauma inflicted upon him by Apocalypse.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • Several adverts and character previews have made it impossible not to know that Storm joins the X-Men at the end.
    • For non-comic book fans, the final trailer ruined part of the story when Magneto reveals, "I buried it with my family," and the clips make it clear that he's referring to his wife and daughter, not his parents.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Ororo is a skilled thief in Cairo before Apocalypse takes her under his wing.
  • Understatement: Most definitely applies when Wolverine is involved.
    Raven: Well, you've been busy.
    Scott: We had a... little help.
  • Uncertain Doom: Archangel's fate.
  • Undying Loyalty: Although Havok was under Professor X's tutelage for no more than a year when he was a teen, note  he remains grateful for the help that Charles gave to him. Havok is the first one to run after the Professor and try to rescue him when his ex-mentor is seized by Magneto.
  • The Unsmile: Nightcrawler tries to smile for a fake passport photo. The results are ghastly.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Xavier and co.'s altering of the timeline in X-Men: Days of Future Past ends up making it possible for En Sabah Nur a.k.a. Apocalypse to rise and walk the Earth once more. After mutants became public knowledge in 1973, a cult was formed to worship En Sabah Nur, and his followers must have found a way to awaken him from his ancient "slumber."
  • Villain Teleportation: It's one of Apocalypse's numerous mutant abilities.
  • Villainous Breakdown: After the X-Men prevent Apocalypse from possessing Xavier, he becomes noticeably more unhinged and desperate. It only worsens after Storm and Magneto betray him.
  • Visual Pun:
    • Quicksilver is in a Rush T-shirt as he's rushing through the mansion.
      • Later, the words I LOVE RUSH are written on his cast just above the knee.
    • There are stylized horsemen on Jean's pillow case, and she later has to face the Four Horsemen in battle.
  • Voice of the Legion: Apocalypse sometimes sounds like he speaks with multiple voices, and Bryan Singer has explained that this is the result of the character absorbing many "souls" throughout his lifetime.
  • Waistcoat of Style: James McAvoy's Professor X hasn't been seen in one since X-Men: First Class, and the vest he has near the end of film is more polished-looking than the tweed-preppy style of his Oxford days, which signifies that he's now embodying Patrick Stewart's character.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Word of God is that the film will take great pains to demonstrate why Apocalypse views his genocidal actions as rational and necessary. Which is a bit of a... departure from his usual portrayal, which presents him as a nihilistic, megalomaniacal monster with a literal god-complex.
  • We Need a Distraction: What do Jean, Scott and Kurt do to escape from Stryker's guards? Releasing a brainwashed Wolverine.
  • What Beautiful Eyes: Nightcrawler's irises were yellow in X2: X-Men United, but here they are also rimmed with red.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's not explained how Wolverine ended up at Alkali Lake with the real Stryker as his jailer, seeing how at the end of the last film Mystique pulled him out in the disguise of Stryker. The brief angry conversation between Stryker and Mystique makes it even more of a Noodle Incident.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: In the teaser trailer, Sophie Turner's American accent doesn't sound quite right. It's slightly improved in the actual film, but occasionally she slips into Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Xavier has regained most of his cheery optimism from First Class, and Word of God even says that he has too much hope at the beginning of the story.
  • Winged Humanoid: Angel begins the movie with feathered wings, but they are later replaced by metallic ones by Apocalypse.
  • Wizard Duel: There's a mutant equivalent of this trope with Storm's lightning vs. Cylops' optic blast.
  • Would Hit a Girl:
    • Apocalypse chokes Mystique while lifting her off the ground.
    • Beast must defend himself when the homicidal Psylocke fights him.
    • Cyclops attempts to target Storm with his Eye Beam, and she barely manages to get out of the way.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: As per Singer's claims, many of the younger characters are depicted as teenagers in the 1983 timeframe when they would have been younger (or not yet born) in the original trilogy's timeline. This would be fine... except that the point of divergence—Mystique sparing Trask's life—happened only a decade prior, meaning they couldn't be older than nine years if their births were sped up specifically by that nail in question. (The only exception is Cyclops, who was already a teen by 1979 as shown in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.) Notably, in X-Men: The Last Stand, Jean Grey was depicted as a preteen in its prologue scenes (set "20 years ago")—and Viral Marketing for Days of Future Past states that the original trilogy starts in 2005. Additionally, Singer appears to be applying Broad Strokes to details from the previous films, so some leeway is allowed.
  • You Are Too Late:
    • The school's main reactor has exploded, but fortunately, Quicksilver has just arrived and got everyone out of the blast radius, so they don't die. All except Havok, who was next to it and had already been caught by the explosion when Quicksilver arrived.
    • When Apocalypse talks about the torments that Magneto must have suffered in Auschwitz, the latter complains, where was he when all that was happening? Apocalypse is sorry, he was still sleeping in the darkness, and couldn't help Erik back then.
  • Younger and Hipper: This movie features Jean Grey, Cyclops, Storm and Nightcrawler as adolescents. Inverted with Jubilee and Angel, who in the original trilogy would either have not been born yet or were toddlers in 1983, but they are now teens during this era courtesy of the Alternate Timeline created by X-Men: Days of Future Past.

"I've never felt power like this before."