Film: X-Men: Apocalypse

"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 during the Reagan administration. Professor X has successfully reopened his school with Beast's help, Magneto attempts to live an ordinary life in Poland with his 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. The movie seems to take some degree of inspiration from the Fall of the Mutants storyline.

Its cast includes:

Viral Marketing for the film can be found here and here.

Tropes applying to this film:

  • The '80s: The story takes place in 1983, when there were plenty of mullets and shoulder pads.
  • '80s Hair:
    • Professor X 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 spiky hair is very Billy Idol-esque.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Warren Worthington III in X-Men: The Last Stand was presented as a wholesome Nice Guy; in this film, he's a rebel who attends fight clubs.
  • 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.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: This magazine scan reveals that Scott is a bad boy, and he develops a romantic relationship with Jean.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Mystique, Beast, Apocalypse, and Nightcrawler are different shades of blue.
  • Antagonist Title: Or subtitle in this case.
  • Apocalypse How: Accidental Pun aside, the writer has said there is an "Extinction-Level Event", which is a Class 3 of some sort.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Quicksilver returns in this movie as a major character with a larger role in the plot.
    • Jubilee finally gets a more substantial role after brief non-speaking cameos in the first three movies.
    • 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.
  • Badass Crew: Beast, Havok, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Mystique and Quicksilver comprise the X-Men.
  • Bald of Awesome:
  • Bald of Evil: Caliban is a sinister-looking bald mutant who is allied with Apocalypse.
  • Big Bad: Apocalypse is the main threat, given the Antagonist Title this movie has.
  • Birds of a Feather: Jean is described as being scared of her telepathic power and is one of Charles' most prized students in this magazine scan. Xavier himself 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.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Xavier's eyes turning completely black as he declares, "I've never felt power like this before" can't possibly be a good thing...
  • Bling of War:
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Moira MacTaggert returns after being absent in Days of Future Past.
    • We finally get to see Nightcrawler again after 13 long years!
    • Jubilee returns in a larger role after nearly a decade of sitting X-Men movies out. Angel, who was introduced in X-Men: The Last Stand, also "waited" the same amount of time.
  • Broken Masquerade: As mutants were publicly exposed much earlier than in the original continuity, this is to be expected.
  • California Doubling: As with Days of Future Past, Apocalypse was filmed in Montreal.
  • Call Back:
    • 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 accompanies the X-Men on their mission just as she did 21 years earlier.
    • Mystique's black leather jacket is similar to the one she wore in X2: X-Men United.
    • Our introduction to Angel in the Alternate Timeline at a cage match is not unlike our first glimpse of Wolverine in X1.
  • Co-Dragons: Apocalypse makes four psychologically vulnerable mutants (Angel, Magneto, Psylocke, and Storm) his lieutenants, the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse.
  • Continuity Nod: 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.
  • Continuity Reboot: Technically the first installment in the new X-Men series following the Cosmic Retcon in Days of Future Past (though 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.
  • 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).
  • Cool Helmet: Unlike the previous models of the Cerebro helmet, the inner wiring of The '80s version lights up when activated.
  • Creator Cameo: Stan Lee has a cameo.
  • Cult: Moira informs Charles 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.
  • 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 is in the movie, but based on Hugh Jackman's limited involvement with filming, his part is much smaller compared to previous installments, and is effectively an extended cameo.
  • Disaster Movie: The genre.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Like First Class, this prequel seeks to evoke this for the teen X-Men. Jean Grey is scared of her powers and isn't in control of them yet, Cyclops is described as a "bad boy" and isn't leadership material, and Storm is a morally dubious thief who sides with Apocalypse.
  • Evil Costume Switch: All four of Apocalypse's Horsemen are given new outfits after joining his cause.
    • Angel's bird-like wings are grafted to metal, he is provided with a suit of armour, and he adopts a new persona called Archangel.
    • Erik ditches his civilian clothing, reasserts his Magneto identity, and is gifted with Bling of War.
  • The Fashionista: Jubilee is this, according to this magazine scan.
  • Fanservice: Psylocke's attire displays a fair amount of her skin.
  • Fight Clubbing: Warren participates in this in East Berlin when he's approached by Apocalypse.
  • 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.
  • 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. Somehow.
  • Four Is Death: The four horsemen.
  • Friend in the Black Market: Caliban is a broker who operates behind the Iron Curtain, with Psylocke as his assistant.
  • Friendly Enemy: Professor X and Magneto will be this, 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."
  • 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: Apocalypse claims that he was worshipped as a god by various ancient cultures.
  • Grand Finale: Singer has referred to this as the culmination of all his work on the franchise, starting with X-Men way back in 2000.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather:
    • When Raven is at the mansion, she is dressed in a black leather jacket.
    • Warren has a studded one at the cage fight.
  • 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.
  • I Have Many Names: Apocalypse claims to have been known throughout history as Ra, Krishna, and Yahweh among others.
  • 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).
  • Large Ham: Erik cries out at the top of his lungs, "IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT FROM ME?!"
  • Leotard of Power: Psylocke wears a purple leaotard just like her comic counterpart.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The cast of mutants in this film rivals even Days of Future Past.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: This trope will presumably occur with Magneto and Quicksilver (at least during the Time Skip in between Days of Future Past and this movie) based on these comments by Simon Kinberg, who has confirmed that Erik is Peter's father:
    "It is a fascinating relationship. Erik grew up without a family, it's such a huge part of him, of his mission. So the idea of exploring what it means for Magneto to be a father and reconnect with a son many years after his birth, is fascinating and certainly something that would be interesting to explore in future films."
  • Marquee Alter Ego:
    • Judging by the SDCC teaser, 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.
    • Nicholas Hoult isn't in the same league as Lawrence fame-wise, but he also doesn't spend much screentime as the blue, furry Beast.
  • 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."
  • Movie Superheroes Wear Black:
    • Played straight with Mystique and Quicksilver who appear to be wearing battle-versions of the original trilogy's black outfits.
    • Averted with Magneto and Psylocke, who wear red and purple respectively; the latter's outfit in particular is quite similar to the comics.
  • 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.
  • Oh Crap!: Three moments in the leaked trailer: while Professor X is connected to Cerebro, he utters "Oh god" after Hank asks him "What is it?"; Magneto snatches Xavier, wheelchair and all, flanked by Apocalypse and the Horsemen; and at the very end when Charles' irises and pupils go pitch black while using Cerebro and proclaiming "I've never felt power like this before."
  • 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.
  • Parental Substitute: Xavier is a father figure for Jean and Scott.
  • Period Piece: The setting is 1983, so naturally some of the hairstyles and clothing match the era.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Rule of Sexy:
    • Professor X retains his thick, wavy mane for part 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 no 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.
  • Say My Name: An alarmed Raven shouts "CHARLES!!!" when her unconscious foster brother is kidnapped by Magneto.
  • Seers: Jean's precognitive ability expresses itself as a terrible dream full of death and mass destruction.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Charles' suits closely resemble 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.
    • Nightcrawler owns a jacket which is replica of Michael Jackson's from the famous Thriller music video. Which is somewhat recursive since it resembles his costume from the comics.
    • Return of the Jedi is shown to be playing at the movie theater during the mall sequence.
  • The Social Darwinist: Apocalypse takes this to an extreme level, as always.
  • Stock Subtitle: Apocalypse. Unique in that it doubles as a character name.
  • A Storm Is Coming: Xavier ominously announces that "A great storm approaches."
  • 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.
  • 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.
    "I was there to spark and fan the flame of man's 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, an older actor will play the older incarnation of Apocalypse.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Ororo is a skilled thief.
  • 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.
  • 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. Of course, this assumes that the film is set entirely in 1983 as previously claimed—if it moves ahead in the timeline, this may yet be avoided. Additionally, Singer appears to be applying Broad Strokes to details from the previous films, so some leeway is allowed.
  • 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 Days of Future Past.

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