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. 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:

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

Tropes applying to this film:

  • The '80s: The story takes place in 1983, when there were plenty of mullets and shoulder pads. America is under the Reagan administration. This commercial for a faux TV documentary about En Sabah Nur has an aspect ratio of 4:3 and the footage is of VHS quality.
  • '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.
  • Action Girl: Mystique knocks out a couple guys who are bigger than her in East Berlin. At Beast's request, she becomes the battle commander of the X-Men.
  • 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.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Psylocke's hair is purple in the comics, but her movie counterpart is raven-haired with purple highlights.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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 Anya, who in the comics was Magneto's eldest child, but in the movie-verse, Quicksilver is. Anya 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.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 original trilogy.
    • 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, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Mystique, Quicksilver and Moira (as the Token Human teammate) comprise the X-Men. Storm joins them later.
  • Bald of Awesome:
  • Bald of Evil: Caliban is a sinister-looking bald mutant who is allied with Apocalypse.
  • 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:
    • Empire magazine confirms that there is a psychic battle between Professor X and Apocalypse.
    • There is another one between Jean Grey and an Apocalypse-controlled Xavier.
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • 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 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. (This is confirmed by Sophie Turner.) Bryan Singer states in this article that "Jean has a special connection with Xavier, she has a special connection with the psychic world and she has enormous untapped power that's growing."
  • 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:
    • 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.
  • 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 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:
    • 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."
    • 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.
    • Moira's memory loss that Xavier had caused near the end of X-Men: First Class is acknowledged.
    • 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.
    • Moira and Raven accompany the X-Men on their mission just as they did 21 years earlier.
    • 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.
  • 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 darker 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: In this French interview, James McAvoy discloses Xavier's lust and adoration for Moira.
    "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."
  • Co-Dragons: Apocalypse makes four psychologically vulnerable mutants (Angel, Magneto, Psylocke, and Storm) his lieutenants, the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse.
  • Combo Platter Powers: Bryan Singer had listed Apocalypse's skills in a May 2016 Empire article.
    "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:
  • 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). 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 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: Stan Lee has a cameo, which (alongside his cameo in Deadpool) is the first time he's done one for a Fox/Marvel production since Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
  • 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 deserves to be destroyed.
  • 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.
  • Damsel in Distress: Mystique and Moira are imprisoned by Stryker.
  • Dark Action Girl:
    • Storm's lightning clashes with Cyclops' optic blast.
    • Psylocke is trained in martial arts, and at one point she attacks Beast.
  • 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.
  • Decomposite Character: In the comics, Magda was the mother of both 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. Anya 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 has an extended cameo.
    • The Blob is one of Angel's opponents at the East Berlin fight club.
  • Disaster Movie: The genre.
  • Disposable Woman: Magda and Anya are sacrificed so that Erik becomes Magneto again.
  • 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.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Like X-Men: First Class, this prequel seeks to evoke this for the adolescent X-Men. Jean Grey is scared of her powers and isn't in control of them yet, Cyclops is a bad boy and isn't leadership material, Nightcrawler is afraid of his own shadow, and Storm is a morally dubious thief who sides with the Big Bad.
  • 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.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Jubilation Lee goes by her nickname Jubilee.
  • Evil Costume Switch: All four of Apocalypse's Horsemen are given 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.
  • 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 innocent, but he's anything but that.
  • 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 First Class.
  • Fantastic Racism: Although mutants are generally treated better in the Alternate Timeline, some places are less tolerant than others, 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 we're at peace."
  • The Fashionista: Jubilee is this, according to this magazine scan.
  • Fight Clubbing: Warren and Kurt are forced to participate in this in East Berlin, according to Empire magazine.
  • 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. 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. Their position on the "Defend" and "Destroy" posters mark them as foils.
    • 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.
  • 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.
    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.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In Moira's office, there is a framed photo of her with a boy, and another of a teenage boy (or possibly an 18 to 20-year-old young man) who may be her son.
  • 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.
  • 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 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."
  • Gene Hunting: Quicksilver seeks out his father Magneto.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Storm obviously 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 by this promotional image.
  • 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 shiny black leather pants at his mother's home. He also has a grey leather jacket.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • I Have Many Names: Apocalypse claims to have been known throughout history as Ra, Krishna, and Yahweh among others.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Just like 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 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).
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Nightcrawler was an elfin cutie pie during his adolescence.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Psylocke prefers to harm her enemies with a katana and a psionic blade.
  • Large Ham:
    • In the SDCC trailer, Erik cries out at the top of his lungs, "IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT FROM ME?!"
  • The Leader: 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.
  • 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.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The cast of mutants in this film rivals even Days of Future Past.
  • Magic from Technology: En Sabah Nur had used advanced alien technology to enhance his mutant powers. In the eyes of Ancient Egyptians and other societies of the era, his incredible abilities would appear to be magical, and they would further reinforce the belief that he is a god.
  • 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 to Nightcrawler.
  • Manly Tears:
    • Erik openly sobs when he cradles his daughter's lifeless body.
    • Professor X sheds a tear while he's using Cerebro, and later we see that his face is wet.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 wings and blond curls.
  • 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."
  • Monochromatic Eyes: Apocalypse's and Storm's eyes turn white when they actively use their mutant abilities.
  • Monumental Damage: The Sydney Opera House and a section of the Manhattan Bridge are obliterated in spectacular fashion.
  • 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.
    • Archangel is shirtless when he shows off his metallic wings.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Mystique is in a very low-cut, skin-tight outfit when she's at the East Berlin fight club.
    • Psylocke's Horseman attire displays a fair amount of her skin.
  • 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 Anya in the original timeline, but he does in the Alternate Timeline, which is a nod to the comics.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • New Old Flame: According to Singer, Charles and Moira rekindle their romance which was hinted at in First Class, and so do Raven and Hank.
  • 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.
  • Oh Crap!:
    • While Professor X is connected to Cerebro, he utters, "Oh god. He can control all of us" after Hank asks him "What is it?"
    • 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."
    • 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 opponent.
    • Scott panics when he realizes that there's nothing left of the mansion but rubble.
    • Mystique's terror as she's being choked by Apocalypse.
  • 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 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)!
  • Origins Episode: For Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm and Nightcrawler.
  • 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 and Scott 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. But I am here now. I'm here for you."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Product Placement: Scott's sunglasses are Ray-Bans.
  • Purple Is Powerful:
    • In his natural gaseous form, Apocalypse is purple.
    • The highlights in Psylocke's hair, her Horseman leotard and her psionic blade are purple, and she's very dangerous.
    • The walls of Cerebro glow purple when Xavier is "possessed" as he says, "I've never felt power like this before."
    • Mystique's risqué dress looks black at first glance, but the material is purple when it's exposed to enough light. 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 may be a sign that her Phoenix powers are being unleashed.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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: Archangel is bare-chested when he displays his metal wings.
  • Shock and Awe: Storm's mutant ability is magnified by Apocalypse.
  • 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 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 later changes into a Rush T-shirt.
    • While in class, Jubilee wears a Journey T-shirt.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, an older actor will play the older incarnation of Apocalypse.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Charles loses his hair due to a psychic trauma inflicted upon him by Apocalypse.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Visual Pun:
    • Quicksilver is in a Rush T-shirt as he's rushing through the mansion.
    • 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 Singer has explained that this is the result of the character absorbing many "souls" throughout his lifetime.
  • 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.
  • What Beautiful Eyes: Nightcrawler's irises were yellow in X2: X-Men United, but they are red in this movie.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: In the teaser trailer, Sophie Turner's American accent doesn't sound quite right.
  • 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. 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 X-Men: Days of Future Past.

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