Follow TV Tropes


Film / X-Men: Apocalypse

Go To
"I think the world still 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/prequel to X-Men: Days of Future Past and the ninth installment in Fox's X-Men Film Series, 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.

The film takes some inspiration from the X-Factor side of the crossover Fall of The Mutants.

    The cast includes: 

The film was followed by a 2019 sequel, Dark Phoenix.

Not to be confused with X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse.

X-Men: Apocalypse provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    Tropes # to C 
  • 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.
    • Angel's curly mane is Billy Idol-esque.
    • Nightcrawler's bangs come straight from A Flock of Seagulls.
    • Rose Byrne likens Moira's career-minded hairstyle to Working Girl.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Psylocke's psionic blade can slice through a car as if it were a hot knife cutting butter.
  • Accidental Murder: Magda and Nina are impaled together with an arrow after a policeman shoots it by accident.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: There are scenes dedicated to familial connections and friendships, such as Erik and Nina, Charles and Jean, Jean and Scott, etc.
  • Action Girl:
    • Storm, naturally, was always one of the strongest X-Men, and has no shortage of butt-kicking opportunities here.
    • 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 niqab that hinders her movements somewhat, is able to disarm a man larger than she is and render him unconscious.
    • Psylocke, despite being a minor character, gets to showcase her badass powers that made her popular in the comics.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • James McAvoy had portrayed a dorky, idealistic intellectual with a feathered mullet who is smitten by a beautiful woman in Starter for 10, which mostly took place at a school in 1985. This Tumblr post even pokes fun at the strong resemblance between Professor X and Brian Jackson.
    • Charles' opening narration about powers, including prophecy, and being worshiped as a god because of them (with a desert scene, no less) alludes to McAvoy's role as Leto Atreides II in Children of Dune. Moreover, Xavier and Jean Grey have a very close surrogate father-daughter relationship because of their telepathy, which mirrors the emotionally intimate sibling bond between Leto and his twin sister Ghanima, who are both pre-born, and therefore are plagued by the "voices" of their genetic ancestors. Like Professor X, Leto is also kidnapped, forcibly placed on a slab, and undergoes an agonizing mental assault which causes him to nearly lose his identity. Both characters survive and become tougher because of it.
    • Raven has now become an inspiration to mutants around the world for rebelling against authority, much in the same way that Katniss Everdeen has.
    • Ally Sheedy appears as Scott Summers' teacher in 1983, the same year that she starred in WarGames. In this film, the screens of the United States military command, are very reminiscent of the screens in NORAD.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Mystique, a villain in the comics and in the original trilogy, has been traveling the world rescuing mutants following the events of Days of Future Past, and she becomes 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.
  • Adaptational Jerkass:
    • Warren Worthington III in X-Men: The Last Stand was presented as a wholesome Nice Guy; in this film, Angel is an angry and cocky rebel. He later becomes a Horseman of Apocalypse.
    • 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. He then becomes more serious and focused after Alex's death, so its apparent that this is Scott before he became a boy scout.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Defied to some extent. Bryan Singer wanted to give Psylocke a more modest black outfit, but Olivia Munn insisted on wearing the fan-servicey but traditional Leotard of Power.
  • Adaptational Nationality: Psylocke is British in the comics, but is played by the American Olivia Munn in the film.
  • Adaptational Superpower Change:
    • In the comics, the purple energy blade Psylocke projects from her hand is simply a manifestation of her telepathic powers, and it can't do any physical damage. In the movie, the blade cuts through steel and concrete, and Psylocke can also morph it into a whip.
    • One of the comic book Apocalypse's main powers is total control over every molecule in his body, which means he can't be hurt by mere physical force. In the film, he instead has a very potent Healing Factor, which meets its match when Jean vaporizes him.
    • Comic-book Quicksilver is nowhere near as fast as his portrayal here. In the comics he tops out at the speed of sound without some sort of plot powerup, and is limited to more standard speedster tricks like water and wall running. The sort of frozen-time antics he gets into in the movie are more akin to his DC counterpart, The Flash.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Psylocke and Archangel are acting as Horsemen of their own free will and unlike Storm and Magneto, they don't repent. Well, Archangel doesn't get a chance to. Psylocke's status at the end is more ambiguous as she pulls a Screw This, I'm Outta Here after coming to from being knocked out and sees Apocalypse get killed.
    • This trope seems to apply offscreen to Angel/Archangel's father. In X-Men: The Last Stand, Warren Worthington II is a well-meaning father even if he attempted to "cure" his son. Here, Angel's dad was a neglectful parent, according to Ben Hardy (Angel's actor), to the point that Angel lives by himself and makes a living by being cage fighter before becoming Apocalypse's Horseman.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Apocalypse's recruitment of the Horsemen. In the comics, they are thoroughly brainwashed into loyal henchmen and could still take a beating until killed. In the movie, they are a psychologically and emotionally vulnerable mini-boss team that easily fall prey to his persuasion ability, which led two of them to their eventual Heel–Face Turn in the climax.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Psylocke's hair is purple in the comics, but her movie counterpart is raven-haired with purple highlights.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The main storyline of the movie is adapted from Louise Simonson's original Apocalypse arc in X-Factor (Apocalypse's origin and philosophy is explained, he recruits his Horsemen, he fights the X-Men), but it also takes elements from several other comic book stories:
    • Age of Apocalypse: Apocalypse tries to become the God-ruler of Earth.
    • New X-Men: Magneto wants to take over the world, he uses his powers to destroy the bridges around Manhattan.
    • Barry Windsor-Smith's original Weapon X series: Wolverine has been captured by the the authorities, they give him his adamantium claws and skeleton and control him through a psionic helmet, until he breaks free, kills his captors, and escapes.
    • The Dark Phoenix Saga: Jean Grey's massive Phoenix powers concern Xavier and the other X-Men, so Xavier has put those powers under a telepathic lock, but eventually the lock gets opened and the Phoenix is unleashed.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Magneto had a daughter named Anya in the comics, but her name is Nina in the movie-verse.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Kurt Wagner no longer goes hammy to remind everyone that "in the Munich circus, I was known as The Incredible Nightcrawler!", as in X2: X-Men United. In fact, the one time he does try to say it, he's cut off.
  • Admiring the Abomination: Apocalypse is in awe of Jean's powers before she annihilates him.
  • Adrenaline Time: Quicksilver's super-speed scenes are shown this way; he sees everything in slow motion, but the movie will quickly alternate to the "standard perception" of time, which is much faster.
  • Advertised Extra: Jubilee got a fair amount of focus in the advertising along with the co-stars who played the new recruits Cyclops, Jean, and Storm. In the middle of the movie, it looks like she's going to be on the same squad of rookies with Cyclops, Jean, and Nightcrawler, even going with them on their teen rebel mall trip as a heroic team of four to contrast the Horsemen. Then she gets knocked out and left behind at the mansion in the next scene, leaving the others as a Power Trio instead.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Charles tenderly caresses Jean's forehead to calm her down after she becomes agitated by an apocalyptic vision. It's also a visual cue that they have a surrogate father-daughter relationship.
  • Affirmative Action Girl: Mystique was the only female mutant to have a lead role in the previous two First Class movies, and Moira was absent in Days of Future Past. Moira is re-inserted here, and significant roles are given to Jean and Storm.
  • Age Lift:
    • In the Alternate Timeline, Jubilee is roughly the same age as Cyclops and Jean instead of being younger than them in both the original trilogy and the comics.
    • Nina (the Adaptation Name Change for Anya) was Magneto's eldest child in the comics, but in the movie-verse, Quicksilver is. Nina is at least 18 years younger than Peter Maximoff.
    • Psylocke is an adult in this film. In X-Men: The Last Stand, she was roughly the same age as Kitty Pryde, which would have made her an infant (or possibly not even born) in 1983.
  • Agent Peacock: Professor X is the second-most powerful mutant for most of the story, and his androgyny (in both looks and personality) is taken up a notch in comparison to X-Men: First Class. He graduates from a Pretty Boy to a Long-Haired Pretty Boy, and the name of his hairdo, a feathered mullet, brings to mind a peacock's tail — he even fixes a handful of loose strands shortly before he reaches Moira's office. Xavier fully embraces being a sensitive guy, as he's more overtly "maternal" towards his students and he freely sheds Tender Tears. He was close to death after a botched Grand Theft Me procedure just a few minutes beforehand, yet Charles still has the fortitude to instigate a Battle in the Center of the Mind against the Nigh-Invulnerable Apocalypse, being one of only two mutants who dishes out multiple blows on the self-proclaimed god. Xavier is so vain that even when he's already bald, his mental projection has a head full of hair during the psychic brawl.
  • The Alcoholic:
    • Ms. Maximoff is implied to be a heavy drinker because she's holding a glass of what appears to be whiskey in the middle of the day. She also took a sip of alcohol during daytime in The Rogue Cut.
    • Angel seems to have devolved into a drunkard when Apocalypse finds him.
  • All Asians Know Martial Arts: Played straight with Psylocke, who demonstrates her combat skills on a few occasions.
  • All-Loving Hero: Hank summarizes Charles's mindset as "He thinks the best of people. He has hope." Xavier is willing to forgive Erik for endangering his life by aiding in his kidnapping, and the global carnage caused by Magneto affecting the Earth's magnetic field to decimate cities. Professor X welcomes Storm to his school in spite of the fact that she had tried to kill the X-Men in Cairo.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: The other students at Xavier's school are terrified of Jean Grey because whenever she has a nightmare, the entire mansion shakes. Simon Kinberg addresses the irony of a mutant being discriminated by mutants on the Blu-Ray's "Answering the Call: Assembling the New X-Men Team" segment.
    Kinberg: She's like an outcast within the outcasts, so there's nowhere for her.
  • All There in the Script:
    • A viewer who doesn't read comic books wouldn't know that Erik's wife is named Magda.
    • Or that the young mutant accompanying Scott, Jean and Kurt to the mall was Jubilee. She is never named in dialogue.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population:
    • Mystique, Beast, Apocalypse, and Nightcrawler are different shades of blue.
    • The Horseman in Ancient Egypt who kills two traitors by ripping the flesh from their bodies has red skin.
  • Amnesiac Lover: A case of someone inflicting the amnesia on purpose on their loved one. When Charles and Moira reunite, he has trouble acting like they've never met before.
  • Ancient Astronauts: Apocalypse and the Four Horsemen are debated by Moira and Alex. Did he take the idea from the Bible... or did the Bible take the idea from him?
  • Ancient Egypt: The prologue takes place in 3600 BC somewhere in the Nile Valley, and En Sabah Nur rules the region as a god-king.
  • And I Must Scream: Apocalypse seals the street vendor into the wall when the guy threatens Ororo, so just his eyes (which are still moving) are visible. He later does this to Cyclops, but not as deep. Hank later frees him.
  • Animal Battle Aura: When Jean Grey releases her full power, she gains a fiery aura in the shape of a bird of prey, with which she immolates Apocalypse.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Alex either rolls his eyes or ignores his younger brother Scott whenever the latter complains or is impolite.
  • 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 Cult: En Sabah Nur is the leader of one; his objective is to eradicate most of human civilization and reshape it as he sees fit. The Four Horsemen are his adherents who are tasked with aiding their master achieve his dream of a "better world" where only the strong are permitted to exist.
  • Apocalypse How: Accidental Pun aside, Apocalypse's goal is to cause a severe Class 2 in the form of using Erik's enhanced magnetic powers to manipulate the planet's magnetosphere and upturn every metal construct on Earth; which will surely eradicate global population centers, and it's speculated in the movie that it'll likely set the world all the way back to the Iron Age. Apocalypse explicitly intends to ensure "the strongest" alone inherit the Earth, with Apocalypse himself on top as The Omniscient inflicting Mass Hypnosis on the survivors.
    Xavier: Apocalypse means to destroy this world.
  • Apocalypse Wow: During the plot of the film, Apocalypse uses his power to tear apart and reshape Cairo into a giant pyramid lair, and he has Magneto use his powers over the Earth's magnetic field to begin leveling every city on the planet.
  • Arc Words: "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 two movies to be in Alberta, Western Canada) in a helicopter, without refuelling.
  • Artistic License – History: Some realities of the Soviet bloc are off... assuming those realities didn't change in the altered timeline, of course.
    • 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).
    • In the middle of the movie, there is a discussion about which Star Wars film is the best, which results in Jean saying the third is usually the worst. While that is Truth in Television today and has been since the Special Edition release of the trilogy in 1997, in the '80s, it was the now universally praised Empire Strikes Back that was viewed as the lowest performing of the series while Return of the Jedi was seen as a return to form.note 
    • The question of whether the Bible inspired Apocalypse or vice versa is moot. The prologue takes place over three thousand years before the Book of Revelation would be written. This would seem to make it clear that Apocalypse inspired the Bible, as the alternative is impossible.
  • Artistic License – Military: The shot of the nuclear missiles launching, heavily featured in advertisements, could not happen as shown. Silos are spaced miles apart from each other in order to maximize the number of targets required for a counterforce strike.note 
  • Artistic License – Physics:
    • As with his previous appearance, Quicksilver's super-speed is made on Rule of Cool more than real physics.
    • While Magneto can indeed manipulate nonferrous metals, a man at a government meeting mistakenly calls nonferrous metals magnetic as if they can be affected by standard magnetism.
  • 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.
  • Assimilation Plot: After discovering what Xavier's telepathy can do to others, Apocalypse decides he'll take over his body so as to "Be everywhere. Be everyone".
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: All of the Ancient Egyptian Horsemen resemble their 1983 homologues an awful lot. Death is a fiercely loyal blonde, just like Angel, who inherits her title; Famine is a tall black woman with a mohawk-like haircut, just like the next Famine, Storm; War wears a helmet similar to Magneto's and looks a bit like him; and Pestilence, while being the least similar to his counterpart, shares with Psylocke a penchant for physical combat and the skills for it.
  • As You Know: Scott's teacher begins her lecture with, "As everyone knows, the existence of mutants was first discovered during the Paris Peace Accords after the Vietnam War in 1973."
  • 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 labor. Penance is a bit extreme, but he's sort of left his world domination days behind him."
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Apocalypse turns into a giant during his Battle in the Center of the Mind with Charles to represent the difference in their mental power.
  • 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 Charles is not. Cue Jean unleashing the Phoenix.
    • Apocalypse delivers one regarding how futile he regards nuclear weaponry.
      Apocalypse: You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike God!
    • Erik and Charles have an exchange at the end mirroring the one they share at the end of X-Men.
      Charles: I feel a great swell of pity for the poor soul who comes to my school looking for trouble.
  • 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 defeated En Sabah Nur and his Four Horsemen without the benefit of superpowers or modern technology.
    • The Polish police officers deciding to go after the Master of Magnetism with just bows and arrows, and if not for an unfortunate misfire and metal locket they would have succeeded.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: A Brainwashed and Crazy Wolverine slaughters all of Stryker's soldiers holding our heroes prisoner.
  • Bald of Evil: Caliban isn't evil per se, but he works in the black market, and there isn't a hair on this criminal's head.
  • Barrier Maiden: Gender-flipped with Professor X. The death of his mind through Apocalypse's commandeering of his body will prompt The End of the World as We Know It where weaker individuals across the globe are swiftly eradicated, and the "lucky" few who survive lose their free will after being put under Mass Hypnosis. To drive this point further, Xavier's study is decorated with bookends of Atlas, a deity from Classical Mythology.note  Also see Rule of Symbolism.
  • Barrier Warrior: One of Apocalypse's many superpowers is to create a forcefield around himself which he basically uses as a more elaborate form of telekinesis. He escapes from his underground tomb by expanding it to lift up the pyramid that collapsed on top of him, and later uses it to ward off attacks from multiple opponents ganging up on him. He's so strong that they're actually losing the fight until Jean Grey unleashes her Phoenix powers.
  • Basement-Dweller: Peter Maximoff is around 27 years old in 1983, and he still lives in the basement of his mother's house. He later moves in with Professor X along with the other new X-Men.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind:
    • There is a psychic slug-fest between Professor X and Apocalypse. The latter is clearly the stronger one, able to both fight physical opponents and Xavier's mind attacks in real time, and winning.
    • There is another one between Jean Grey and Apocalypse which is resolved quickly and is followed by a telekinesis battle, which is over almost as fast.
  • Beam-O-War: Storm's lightning and Cyclops's Eye Beams collide during a battle. Nightcrawler teleports Cyclops away before a winner is established.
  • The Beastmaster: The mutant ability of Nina, Erik's daughter, is to talk with animals and influence their behavior.
  • 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.
  • The Beautiful Elite: More so than in X-Men: First Class, this film accentuates Xavier's physical beauty, his vanity and the splendor of his estate.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Alex says that Apocalypse took the idea of the Four Horsemen 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.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Nightcrawler doesn't want to fight at the East Berlin cage match, but when he's forced to, he wipes the floor with Angel (who is a Blood Knight and a multiple victor). Kurt then apologizes profusely.
    • Jean Grey is very fearful about the "fire" growing within her and the harm it can cause, but when Charles is on the threshold of death's door because of Apocalypse's mental assault, she releases it in all of its glory to rescue her father figure. The Nigh-Invulnerable En Sabah Nur is reduced to ashes by the Phoenix's wrath.
    • Professor X is an All-Loving Hero who is extremely dangerous because of (and not in spite of) his magnanimity. Even when his telepathy is negated by Apocalypse's Psychic Block Defense, Charles can still use The Power of Love as a weapon and he defeats the self-proclaimed god with it. Ironically, Xavier is a conditional pacifist who has a knack for inciting others to engage in violence on his behalf. The foremost example of this is the Phoenix, who is his defender in the Alternate Timeline instead of his doom because he avoids the blunder of his original timeline's self. Instead of being motivated by fear and forcibly caging Jean's "dark power" (which brought out the worst in her), Charles is motivated by love and helps her to cope with it emotionally (which brings out the best in her). The Phoenix is the most powerful entity in the movie-verse to date, and now that Jean has gained mastery over it, by extension, it's also under Professor X's command. In the first film, Magneto belittled Xavier for being weak, but in Apocalypse's denouement, Erik recognizes his friend's strength after his love for Charles redeems him during the Final Battle ("You can convince me to do anything"). En Sabah Nur makes a fatal error in underestimating his captive because the former only measures power through brute force, and Xavier is so much more than his mutation; the latter proves to be the superior and the more lethal leader because of his empathy.
  • Big Bad: Apocalypse is the main threat, given the Antagonist Title this movie has. He is the one recruiting the other four villains and advancing an Evil Plan.
  • 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 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.
    • Beast behaves this way towards Cyclops. He designs a means to help the young man see without vaporizing everything. During the final battle, the two are constantly by each other's side, which is especially poignant considering Scott's actual older brother and Hank's former teammate Alex had died earlier.
    • Once Magneto pulls a Heel–Face Turn, he stretches his powers to their limits, doing everything he can in order to protect Charles, whom he loves like a brother, from Apocalypse.
  • 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.
  • Big Good: Professor X; the good vs. evil conflict chiefly revolves around him and the Big Bad Apocalypse, who are each other's Foil, and the latter is also the former's Evil Counterpart and Shadow Archetype. Charles, despite being relatively feeble as an individual mutant compared to his god-like foe, is the better leader because he's the epitome of Machiavelli Was Wrong, and that's why the X-Men triumph whereas the Four Horsemen crumble as a team.
  • Big "NO!": Apocalypse exclaims this when he realizes that Charles had been freed before the Grand Theft Me procedure was completed.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Notice before the fight between Nightcrawler and Angel, the girl is holding up a sign announcing "Kampf 11"? If you know any German, the number 11 is called "elf". Now what is Nightcrawler's in-team nickname again (courtesy of Kitty Pride)? "Fuzzy-elf", or again, just "Elf".
  • 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 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.
      Jean: [upset] You don't know what it's like to be afraid to shut your eyes, to be trapped inside your own head.
      Charles: Oh, I think I do. It wasn't so long ago that I was plagued by voices myself. All their suffering, all their pain, their secrets.
    • Scott and Jean are able to relate to each other when their other classmates look down on them because of the uncontrollable nature of their powers, and gradually, their friendship deepens. Throughout the movie, Jean is emotionally supportive to the newcomer Scott, which mirrors their psychic rapport in the comics.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Apocalypse is dead, Magneto is reformed and redeemed, Jean Grey has full control over her powers, Mystique is an X-Man, Xavier and Moira are back together, and the school is rebuilt. However, Cairo is a smoking ruin, Magneto had caused a lot of destruction across the planet, the balance of global power has been thrown into chaos with the loss of the world's nuclear arsenal, which is still floating in space, and humans are now having second thoughts about embracing mutants. If anything, the defeat of Apocalypse is just chapter 1 in what is probably a much bigger story about the conflict between mutants and humans.
  • 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 to disable all of the world's nukes simultaneously. Everyone who is possessed during the process gets the same eye color.
  • Blade Brake: Psylocke narrowly survives what would have been a fatal fall by using her energy sword to slide down a building. It still takes her out of the fight, though, allowing Mystique to impersonate her.
  • 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.
    • Apocalypse mutters that "the world needs... [mutters 'cleansing' in Ancient Egyptian]". Storm asks what he meant. He pauses, and says, "saving." Of course, to him, they're probably the same thing.
    • Xavier claims that he has Level 5 clearance when Moira asks him how he got into her office, which is obviously not true — he gave everyone at the CIA building a "break" with his psychic abilities.
    • Stryker says "I'll be right back" to his subordinates during Logan's rampage. In his next scene, he escapes by helicopter.
    • Professor X telling Jean Grey that her "nightmare" was just a dream is a necessary fib to prevent her from running away, as Bryan Singer points out in his commentary.
      Singer: He lies to her. Because he knows, because he's such a powerful psychic, [...] the power of Phoenix is growing inside her, and it's going to become out of control. And she's terrified of it, but doesn't understand it. And he does understand it. And he can't let on to her that he understands it because it would be too frightening, and she would run away.
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • Professor X invokes this in his opening narration ("A gift can often be a curse"). When a blindfolded Scott tells him that a mutation "doesn't exactly feel like a gift," Charles agrees and responds with, "It never does at first."
    • Jean Grey's ever-expanding superpowers make her life miserable because her classmates don't want to be near someone who's prone to losing control, and she's anxious that she might inadvertently hurt others.
  • Bling of War:
    • Magneto's Horseman armor is glorious, and it's certainly more awe-inspiring than his previous costumes.
    • Archangel's silver-and-dark-grey armor is also marvelous to behold.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Xavier bleeds profusely from his mouth on the mindscape, which means that his mind is dying.
  • 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, such as 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.
    • At one point, Apocalypse decapitates a group of three men with his powers onscreen.
    • During the Battle in the Center of the Mind between Apocalypse and Professor X, it can be surprising that the resulting No-Holds-Barred Beatdown that the former inflicts on the latter after growing in size (throwing Charles against a wall, no less) does not actually kill him. Just before pleading for help from Jean, Xavier is reduced to crawling on the floor, and not only is he covered in his own blood, but he is also lying in it.
  • Blue Is Heroic: Charles is only garbed in blue after he concludes his transition from a schoolteacher to a leader of mutantkind.
  • Body Backup Drive: En Sabah Nur is introduced performing a transfer of his consciousness into another body (that of a regenerating mutant) 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.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: It's the duty of each generation of the Four Horsemen to protect the god-like En Sabah Nur. He is vulnerable when he transfers his consciousness to another body, and his traitors in Ancient Egypt took advantage of this. Without the absolute dedication of his Horsemen, Apocalypse would've died when his pyramid collapsed.
  • 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.
  • Book Ends: Because this is the conclusion of a 6-movie saga, the first shot of the first X-Men film can be compared to the final shot of Apocalypse. In the former, we hear Professor X's voice, but he's not seen; in the latter, Xavier is staring straight at the camera, but he does not speak (although his Icy Blue Eyes do convey a message — see that trope's entry). By starting and ending the hexalogy with the same character, it designates that Charles is the most important one (even if he doesn't necessarily have the most screen time).note 
  • Bowdlerise: TV airings of the movie, such as on FX, sometimes redub lines with swearing with alternate takes. For example, Eric's "Who the fuck are you?" line is tweaked to "Who the heck are you?"
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Wolverine, when he's discovered by Jean, Scott and Kurt in the Alkali Lake base, has been turned into a mindless weapon. 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."
    • Literally in the case of Quicksilver. He's a Manchild living in his mother's basement who simply wanted to meet his estranged father. When he seeks the Professor's help in locating Magneto, Peter is abducted, imprisoned and interrogated by Stryker. He joins the X-Men when they head to Cairo, but the reunion Maximoff had longed for with Erik doesn't come to fruition because he learns that the older mutant has another family and is mourning their deaths. Quicksilver fears that Magneto may not embrace him as a son because Lehnsherr doesn't love his mother, so Peter assists Mystique in attempting to take down Apocalypse. The god-like mutant then breaks Maximoff's leg, which leaves the latter thoroughly vulnerable, and it seems that Quicksilver will meet his death at the tip of Psylocke's katana.
  • Broken Angel: Angel's wing is seriously crippled after his fight with Nightcrawler, hampering his ability to fly.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Quicksilver utilizes his super speed to punch Apocalypse a few times. The latter catches on and twists Peter's arm, traps his left foot into the ground and then breaks his right leg. As a result, in a latter scene, said leg is in a cast.
  • Bubblegum Popping: During the trip to Cairo, the mood among the X-Men is quite solemn and no-one is speaking, so when Quicksilver blows a bubble with his bubblegum which then pops, it provides a brief moment of levity for the audience. It's also a visual shorthand that he's immature.
  • Bullet Time: Quicksilver speeds through the X-Mansion at a pace that makes everything else look like it's crawling. He uses this for slow-motion hijinks and rescues.
  • Bullying a Dragon: The last time anyone saw Magneto, he easily and ruthlessly defeated the entire security detail of the White House after dropping a stadium around it. Erik's neighbors in Poland think they've found Magneto when he stops a several ton piece of steel mill equipment cold on reflex. Confronting this guy and threatening his kid to detain him sounds like a great idea. Ironically, it works because Erik has given up violence and surrenders without a fight; he apparently isn't even carrying any metal weapons of his own. Then things go horribly wrong and Magneto shows just how dumb this idea was in the first place.
  • By the Hair: Apocalypse grabs Quicksilver's hair to expose his victim's neck so that Psylocke can cut his throat.
  • Call-Back:
    • 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.
    • 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 X-Men and First Class.
    • It turns out that Quicksilver had kept Professor X's business card from X-Men: Days of Future Past. Peter had glanced at it ("What is this Gifted Youngsters place?") and then dropped it on the floor after he was done rummaging through Xavier's wallet. Charles had retrieved the card, and either gave it to the young man before they parted ways, or Maximoff stole it from him as a souvenir.
    • Mystique and Stryker strongly dislike each other because of their confrontations in 1973.
    • Charles tries to remind Erik that there is good in him, that he felt it, a call back to their conversation at the lakeside in First Class when Charles taught Erik how to better use his powers. Magneto responds that whatever good he had left in him died with his family.
    • An adamantium-clawed Wolverine attacks Stryker's goons at the underground base at Alkali Lake.
    • While on the 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 Magneto is coming to his Heel Realization in the middle of the final battle, he sees flashes of his conversations with Charles from X-Men: First Class, when Charles told him that under all his rage, he is a good man.
  • 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.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Quicksilver just can't tell Magneto that the latter is his father. Peter knows he'll say it to him some day, but just couldn't do it even when standing right in front of him at a moment where doing so could've convinced Erik to fight against Apocalypse sooner.
  • Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: This is Professor X's and Mystique's dynamic with the X-Men in the final scene. Xavier is A Father to His Men who looks after his protégés as individuals, while it's Raven's duty as the Sergeant Rock to discipline the team so that it functions smoothly as a unit. It suits not only their roles, but their personalities as well: Charles is very sentimental and enjoys being affectionate, whereas Mystique was influenced by Magneto and she had adopted his mindset that the successful completion of a mission is much more important than sentiment.
  • Care-Bear Stare: A dying and weakened Professor X enters a state of Dissonant Serenity so that he can focus his residual psychic powers to transmit to Jean his absolute faith in her that she can let loose the Phoenix without killing him. Through The Power of Love, she finally sheds her deep-seated misgivings, and she's able to direct her devastating flames solely at the intended target (namely Charles's would-be murderer Apocalypse).
  • Casting Gag:
    • Psylocke went through an infamous period in the comics where she was literally half-white and half-Asian. So to play her in a live-action film, they cast Asian-American Olivia Munn.
    • Accidental example. Angel is played by Ben Hardy in this film. He was previously played by another Ben — Ben Foster — in The Last Stand.
    • Ally Sheedy, who starred as an '80s-era high school student stuck in detention in The Breakfast Club, is Scott's teacher, and she sends him to the principal's office.
  • Catch and Return: Storm generates strong winds to launch a car towards the X-Men. Beast is able to slow it down slightly, twirls the car around with its remaining momentum, and then hurls it back towards her with his Super Strength. Storm would've been crushed to death if Psylocke didn't arrive in the nick of time to cut the car in half.
  • Catching the Speedster: Peter punches Apocalypse a few times using his super speed. Apocalypse catches Peter by the arm and breaks his right leg.
  • Catching Up on History: Hand Waved with En Sabah Nur's mutant power of knowledge absorption. When he wakes from a 5000-year slumber, he gains an in-depth understanding of the modern age just by touching a television screen and making it cycle rapidly through various shows.
  • Celebrity Paradox:
  • Central Theme: The main threads throughout the story are families coming together, and that love is stronger and more powerful than fear, hate or anger.
  • Chained to a Bed: Unlike most male examples of this trope, it's Played for Drama, not for laughs. Apocalypse (with Archangel's assistance) places Charles flat on a slab and restrains him with cuffs as a set-up for the Grand Theft Me procedure, which involves a terrifying Mind Rape where Xavier's mind, body and soul are being violated.
  • Character Development:
    • Charles's 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 (according to Word of God), but wisernote  Professor X than Patrick Stewart's version in the original timeline.
      Simon Kinberg: "I feel a great swell of pity for the poor soul looking for trouble." The way that James said that line, to me, it's almost a Magneto delivery. It's a threat. And there's a response from Fassbender where he gives a little smile. And the little smile to me, that I read that smile and Michael and I talked about that smile, the smile was Magneto understanding Charles has learnt my lesson. That's a militant Charles Xavier.
    • Kodi Smit-McPhee elaborates on his character's journey.
      Kodi Smit-McPhee: 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:
    • When Moira informs Charles that her investigation in Cairo is classified, he wraps up his bold-faced lie about having Level 5 clearance with a twinkle in his eye and a winning smile. Since he doesn't appear to be using his telepathy, Moira completely buys what he's selling with his charm because she then gives him a summary of what she had discovered about En Sabah Nur's cult.
    • During the jet ride to Cairo, Quicksilver (who is a stranger to all of the X-Men present except for Beastnote ) freely admits that he's a "total loser," but instead of sounding pathetic, his allies are amused and charmed by his self-deprecation. This commercial portrays Peter as a romantic suitor when he tries to woo a young woman with his super-speed.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The business card for Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters that Quicksilver received (or stole) in the last movie helps him find the mansion.
    • The fact that electrical fields interfere with teleportation comes into play during the cage fight and on Stryker's helicopter. Near the end, when Apocalypse tries to teleport away, Storm's lightning attacks disrupt him and gets him killed.
  • 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.
      James McAvoy: 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.
  • Cleanup Crew: In The Stinger, several people are shown vacuuming the spent cartridge cases and mopping the blood from Wolverine's carnage at the Alkali Lake facility.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Each of the younger X-Men has a specific color in their civilian clothes that is linked to their classic costumes from the comics:
    • Scott/Cyclops — blue.
    • Kurt/Nightcrawler — red.
    • Ororo/Storm — black.
    • Quicksilver — silver.
    • Jubilee — yellow.
    • Jean/Phoenix gets two: green and red for the Phoenix and Dark Phoenix, respectively.
  • Combat Stilettos: Psylocke's thigh-high boots come with high heels, and Storm wears wedge heels with her Horseman and X-Man attire.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • When Hank inquires to Charles about what he's seeing with Moira through Cerebro, Xavier completely misinterprets the question.
      Hank: Moira MacTaggert?
      Charles: [with a goofy grin on his face] Uh huh.
      Hank: Give me the details.
      Charles: She looks amazing. She has barely aged a day.
      Hank: No, I meant, what is she doing there?
    • Peter mentions that he's the son of Magneto, causing a Big "WHAT?!" when Raven asks him how was that possible, he says that Magneto had met his mother and the two of them had sex.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: It's Played With:
    • Played straight with Apocalypse, who is only referred to 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 in a cage fight as Nightcrawler, corrects Mystique when she calls him "Crawler", and Jean says his code name when she orders the X-Men to "grab hold of Nightcrawler," but he goes more commonly by "Kurt".
    • Averted with Psylocke and Angel, who are only referred to by those names and not their civilian identities.
    • Played straight with some justification for the younger mutants (Scott Summers, Jean Grey, Peter Maximoff, Ororo Munroe) who are not yet X-Men. Although in a deleted scene, Hank gives Scott a visor for him to wear and Scott hopes the others don't start calling him "Cyclops".
    • Erik's "Magneto" moniker comes up often because that is what he is known as to the world.
    • Alex's code name is alluded to when Professor Xavier orders him to "Wreak havoc," but the name is only used once in this film when Mystique recounts their first mission. The rest of the time, he's just Alex.
    • Charles is addressed by his professor title or his given name, not his code name.
  • Combined Energy Attack: How Apocalypse is finally defeated. See No Kill like Overkill for more details.
  • Combo Platter Powers: Bryan Singer had listed Apocalypse's skills in a May 2016 Empire article. It's justified in that he absorbs the powers of his mutant hosts.
    "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."
  • Composite Character:
    • Movie Apocalypse has been merged with the Shadow King, especially during his mind duel with Xavier.
    • Scott and Alex are composite characters of each other, with Alex being the responsible, guilt-ridden older brother this time around, and Scott more of a cool, laid-back younger brother.
  • Continuity Nod: Has its own page.
  • 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 the best example.
  • Continuity Snarl: Singer suggests 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.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • It's awfully convenient that Colonel Stryker and his team were already near Westchester, NY when Apocalypse mind-controls Xavier with Cerebro to force every nuclear missile operator across the globe to launch nukes into outer space.
    • It's also incredibly lucky that Quicksilver decided to drop by the X-Mansion at the exact moment that the generator explodes, taking out most of the mansion, and is thus able to save everyone. Imagine if he'd stopped for a bite on the way...
  • Cool Helmet: Unlike the previous models of the Cerebro helmet, the inner wiring of The '80s version lights up when activated.
  • Cool Loser: In a moment of self-deprecation, Quicksilver calls himself a "total loser," and the rest of the X-Men chuckle with him (and not at him). They barely know Peter, but they are already beginning to like him.
  • 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.
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower: Magneto is a fugitive, so he pretends to be a regular human while living in Poland. When Erik uses his superpower to save a coworker's life, everyone who had witnessed it immediately learns that he's a mutant, and his metallokinesis is a dead giveaway to the steel mill employees that the man they knew as "Henryk Gurzsky" is actually the world's most wanted criminal.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Scott and Jean first meet when the former bumps into the latter, and Jean would've dropped all of her textbooks and notes if it weren't for her telekinesis. To be fair, Scott's eyes were concealed at the time as he still hadn't learned how to safely use his powers yet.
  • 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. He and his wife are one of the many shots of frightened citizens watching the nuclear bombs launch into space.
    • Composer John Ottman is an officer at the facility monitoring missile launches who is briefly seen during Apocalypse's New Era Speech.
    • Bryan Singer is the final soldier that Wolverine visibly slays onscreen. The director concedes on his commentary that viewers can't tell that it was him because the camera passes by too quickly.
  • 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.
  • Criss-Cross Attack: In an unarmed example, Quicksilver uses his super-speed to viciously beat up Apocalypse by punching him from several angles, but Apocalypse is able to use his powers to speed up his own senses and trap Quicksilver in rock while he's running, and then breaks his leg.
  • Crusading Widow: 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 away from me. Now, we'll take everything from them.
  • 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.
  • 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:
    • 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. Professor X is at a tremendous disadvantage when he confronts Apocalypse on the mindscape 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 gets one sneak attack on Apocalypse and then it's over. His hand constricts her throat, asphyxiating her.
    • Jean, meanwhile, shows that Apocalypse is ultimately small peanuts compared to the Phoenix Force.
    • On a smaller scale, Wolverine vs. the soldiers at Stryker's facility.
    • Mystique vs. one of the bouncers who is running cage matches of mutants. She tries to stop it, he gets in her way. She oneshots him with an elbow before finishing what she was doing.
  • The Cutie: Because Charles is happy again, he mostly reverts back to his characterization in X-Men: First Class; he's sweet, compassionate, naïve, peace-loving and cheerful. He's given more comedic lines here than in previous movies to increase his endearing factor. His official temporary emoji is modeled on the gleeful boyishness that James McAvoy brings to the role.

    Tropes D to F 
  • Daddy's Girl:
    • A surrogate variation occurs between Jean Grey and Professor X, who is her Parental Substitute. Jean is shunned by her classmates because they're afraid of her inability to fully control her powers, and Xavier, who knows all too well the isolation that telepathy can bring, is her steadfast provider of emotional support. She thus falls under "The third possible character is the socially awkward one who gets understanding and encouragement from her father" category. Before Scott's arrival, Charles is the only person at the school whom Jean feels close to, and Xavier is more attentive towards her compared to the other young mutants under his care, which parallels how he had favoured Hank over the other teenage recruits in X-Men: First Class because he and McCoy shared more in common. Because Jean admires her father figure, she emulates some of his behaviour (see the Junior Counterpart entry).
    • A more literal and straightforward example with Erik and Nina, as their relationship is tender and loving, and Magneto's daughter inherits mutant gifts from her father's DNA.
  • 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. The suits aren't theirs, anyway; they stole them from Weapon X.
  • 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 before he was transferred into his current body (which had a Healing Factor), he was reliant on his life support suit to help him keep it going until he could find a suitable replacement.
  • David Versus Goliath: On a mental battlefield, Professor X faces off against a behemoth-sized Apocalypse, and unlike most other examples, this good vs. evil clash goes horribly wrong for the underdog hero. However, Xavier's situation is a little closer to the biblical tale because in the trope's description, it's stated that David admits he had won only because of Divine Intervention, so it's fitting that a "goddess" in the shape of the Phoenix comes to Charles's aid and becomes his weapon in his time of need.
  • Deadly Training Area: In the last scene, the young X-Men prepare to test their mettle against a few 1973-era Sentinels that have been repurposed for combat training.
  • Death by Irony: Angel, whose mutant power is being able to fly, is killed in a plane crash.
  • A Death in the Limelight: Havok gets a lot of focus in this film, mostly regarding his relationship with his younger brother Scott. The character gets killed mid-way through the film.
  • Death of a Child: Played straight with Erik's daughter Nina, who (along with her mother) is killed by an officer when he accidently shoots an arrow into her back.
  • Defiant to the End: Epically done by Professor X, who resists Apocalypse in any way he can even when the situation is absolutely hopeless and his options are virtually nil. Charles warps the ending of Apocalypse's New Era Speech to try to give the weaker individuals of the populace a chance (however small it may be) to survive, and as he's forced to carry out Apocalypse's bidding, Xavier sends Jean a secret telepathic message to let her know of his location. Professor X initiates a psychic battle with Apocalypse to buy time for Mystique and Quicksilver, who are both in immediate mortal danger because of the god-like mutant. No matter how brutal or violent Apocalypse's Mind Rape is, Charles's spirit doesn't break as long it can still draw breath. Even as his mind is on the verge of death, he still uses what little energy he has left to respond to Apocalypse's threat with a Badass Boast, and Xavier then summons Jean to unleash the Phoenix.
  • 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.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: The Four Horsemen are downtrodden mutants who obey Apocalypse's "divine" will because he grants them a sense of direction and a feeling of worth from being specially chosen to form his "sacred" inner circle. Just like any cult leader, Apocalypse selects individuals who are at a low point in their lives and manipulates them into believing that his doctrine is the solution to their spiritual emptiness. From the Blu-Ray's "Clan of Akkaba: Apocalypse and His Horsemen" segment:
    Olivia Munn: We're all looking for someone or something to give us a purpose.
    Alexandra Shipp: He is basically saying, "You don't have to worry. I'm here. I'm your God. If you treat me as such, you will reap all of the benefits."
  • Deus ex Machina: Had Quicksilver not arrived at the right time, it would have been game over for the heroes.
  • 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.
      Apocalypse: Those with the greatest power, this Earth will be yours.
      Charles: Those with the greatest power... protect those without. That's my message to the world!
    • Shortly beforehand, Professor X dismisses Apocalypse's grand vision as nothing more than manipulation, and he continues his conversation with Erik as if his captor was just a nuisance who rudely interrupted them.
      Apocalypse: I've shown him a better way, a better world.
      Charles: [irritated] No, you've just tapped into his rage and pain, that's all you've done.
  • 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.
  • 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 him.
  • Disappointed in You:
    • Xavier isn't at all pleased that Magneto has reverted back to his violent ways.
      Charles Xavier: You're going to take part in all this killing? Destruction?
    • Archangel receives this posthumously when Apocalypse disparages him as "Useless."
  • Disapproving Look: This is Xavier's expression throughout the rocky ledge scene. He takes a dim view of Apocalypse's plans for planet-wide devastation and Magneto letting himself be used as a pawn in this mad man's schemes.
  • Disaster Movie: In publicity for Days of Future Past, producer Simon Kinberg mentioned that this was the genre of film they were going to ape for Apocalypse. They weren't kidding, given the widespread madness Apocalypse and his Horsemen deliver unto the world, with buildings demolished across the planet and the big guy himself being presented more as a force of nature than a regular mutant.
  • Disposable Woman: Magda and Nina are sacrificed so that Erik becomes Magneto again.
  • Dissonant Serenity: As Apocalypse is killing Charles's mind, the latter is lying in a pool of his own blood and is plainly in agony. But when Jean Grey enters the mindscape, Xavier's expression suddenly becomes peaceful and he smiles at her.
  • Distant Prologue: The caption of the introductory scene reads, "Nile Valley, 3600 BCE." The opening credits sequence is a time tunnel which takes viewers to Ohio, 1983.
  • 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 Horsemen, and the X-Men mobilize to save him.
    • 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 helps the impression that Charles is a Pretty Boy, which further enhances his image as a victim. A later scene reinforces this subtext; after being denied possession of Xavier's body, Apocalypse begins to angrily call out to Charles and demand he show himself in a manner reminiscent of an abusive spouse. In addition to the not-so-subtle shot of Professor X being cuffed to a slab against his will while his captor looms threateningly over him, there is an I Have You Now, My Pretty vibe when Apocalypse forcibly pushes his bloodied, but still beautiful-looking captive down to the floor and gloats, "You're mine now."
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Threatening Apocalypse doesn't end well, with the Cairo bandits being killed by sand and Caliban seeing his gun disintegrated, with his life only being saved by Psylocke's intervention. Once Quicksilver uses his Super Speed to repeatedly punch Apocalypse, it gets bad once he catches on (see the next entry). Raven is also nearly strangled to death after trying to slit Apocalypse's throat.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Apocalypse gets around Quicksilver's Super Speed by trapping his foot in the ground and breaking one of his legs. By the end of the movie, Peter is in a cast.
  • Dramatic Irony: Played for Laughs. After Weapon X (the mostly amnesiac Wolverine) runs off into the wilderness, Scott notes that this will be the last they see of that guy. How wrong he is.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Jean's dreams about the end of the world, which is taken to mean Apocalypse, although it might also be about the Phoenix Force.
  • Drowning My Sorrows:
    • Angel has several bottles of alcohol to choose from when Apocalypse pays him a visit. Angel is drunk because although he managed to escape from the East Berlin fight club venue, he has no friends, nowhere to go, and his wings were badly injured; it seems painful when he uses them at all.
    • Ms. Maximoff drinks heavily in the middle of the day because she still resents Erik for abandoning her before Peter was born, which would've been in the mid-1950s, a time when unmarried women with children were ostracized.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Professor X enters a deep trance when Apocalypse possesses his mind through Cerebro. Xavier is so overwhelmed and mesmerized by the plethora of god-like abilities that he comes into direct contact with ("I've never felt power like this before") that he initially doesn't resist the invasion, and he's temporarily corrupted by it (hence his Black Eyes of Evil). It's only when Hank tries to remove the Cerebro helmet that Charles snaps out of the daze (which results in him regaining his normal eye colour) and attempts to fight off his attacker. While under Apocalypse's control, Professor X is in a calm state (the drug-like high), but the moment he struggles to break free, he's constantly screaming in agony (the withdrawal)—Evil Feels Good, in other words, even for an All-Loving Hero like Xavier.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Professor X is savagely victimized by Apocalypse. After his mind, body and soul are violated, and he nearly dies twice because of it — on the mental plane, Xavier is not only drenched in his own blood, but he's also lying in a pool of it—his terror and misery are rewarded with a surrogate family that is larger than what he had in the original trilogy. Raven returns home as his second-in-command, plus Quicksilver and Nightcrawler are now officially part of the X-Men, which they never were in the original timeline. Charles and Erik reconcile much earlier, even though the latter decides not to stay at the school. The Professor succeeds in preventing Jean Grey from developing a Superpowered Evil Side, and thus ensures that she, Cyclops, himself and many others won't die because of the Phoenix.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect:
    • The Giza pyramids are in the background in the wide shot of Cairo.
    • There is a clear view of the Sydney Opera House and the Twin Towers during a group of cutaway scenes to the destruction Apocalypse is causing around the world.
  • Elite Four: The Horsemen of Apocalypse, who have two incarnations.
  • Emotional Powers: Because of her insecurities, Jean finds it exceedingly taxing to deal with her telepathy and her increasingly unstable "dark power". With the Professor's guidance and encouragement, however, she learns to let go of her apprehension at a critical moment during the climax, and Jean's newfound assertiveness enables her to achieve total dominion over the Phoenix.
  • Environmental Symbolism: Nina's bedroom lamp is on to reflect the joy and warmth of her interaction with her father Erik. In contrast, Jean Grey's room is bathed in darkness because she's frightened by her apocalyptic "nightmare," and her emotional ties to her surrogate father Charles are based on their mutual struggles with telepathy.
  • 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 armor 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 armor, and he adopts a new persona called Archangel.
  • Evil Counterpart: Apocalypse is this to Professor X; they operate in a similar manner when it comes to recruiting mutants and converting them to a specific belief system. What separates the Big Bad from the Big Good is merely the differences in their personalities. Bryan Singer labels Apocalypse as The Antichrist (who thrives on mass murder and purports to have been "born from death") and Charles as the Christ figure (a pacifist who wishes to preserve life). Both are capable of treating the world as their personal playground, but only the former exercises Might Makes Right; the latter espouses With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility. They both enjoy being idolized; En Sabah Nur wants nothing less than to be worshipped as a god while Xavier wants to be adored as a paternal figure. Apocalypse's Lack of Empathy is the antithesis of Charles being the personification of empathy, and these traits are exhibited when they interact with their underlings. The selfish Apocalypse pretends to be attentive towards his Horsemen, but he's in truth a Bad Boss who is only concerned about how their superpowers will serve his goal for world domination. The altruistic Professor X is a Cool Teacher who cherishes his students and works hard to engage their intellect and ameliorate their psychological health. As a tyrant in Ancient Egypt, En Sabah Nur had utilized fear and violence to control his subjects; Xavier, on the other hand, relies on love and harmony to exert his authority over his surrogate family.
  • Evil Gloating: While Apocalypse is in the process of crushing Xavier to death on the mental plane, the former brags about his victory to the latter.
    Apocalypse: It's over, Charles, you're finished. You're mine now.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Rolling Stone reported that Oscar Isaac's Apocalypse was "a performance that director Bryan Singer calibrated by asking for 'quarter Skeletor,' 'half Skeletor' or 'full Skeletor.' Needless to say, 'You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike God!' called for full Skeletor."
  • Evil Overlooker: Apocalypse in the movie 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.
    • When Apocalypse empowers his Horsemen, their hair changes. Storm's turns white, Psylocke gains purple streaks and Angel gets a mohawk. Magneto isn't subjected to this, but he does receive a new helmet.
  • Eye Beams: Cyclops has a lot of trouble controlling his optic blast, but he is able to use it against Storm and Apocalypse during the Final 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.
    • It lasts for only a couple of minutes, but when Professor X is briefly "seduced" by Apocalypse's immense power while connected to Cerebro, Charles makes no attempt to oppose the invader inside his mind at first, and Xavier's Black Eyes of Evil signify that he has surrendered to the dark side. Although his eyes are eerie in this state, he remains a Pretty Boy, and because the character's looks are closely tied with his personality throughout the First Class trilogy (i.e. youthfulness = naïve), Professor X at his most evil would still be beautiful because he was such a good person to begin with (he is the Christ figure of the franchise), and this evokes the image of a Fallen Angel.
  • Famed in Story: Mystique has gained a positive reputation thanks to her actions in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
  • Family of Choice: 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 (see their Foil entry), who did briefly display his paternal side towards Maximoff before they had parted ways in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence:
    • During the Distant Prologue (which is set in Ancient Egypt), several of En Sabah Nur's followers, including his original Horsemen, are either crushed by debris, blasted into skeletons or set on fire — all onscreen.
    • Another example from the above-mentioned scene; the mutant En Sabah Nur is planning to possess (played by Oscar Isaac) has a Healing Factor, and Apocalypse's servants demonstrate this by slicing the mutant's chest with a knife, revealing red tissue underneath before the wound heals.
    • When the ground under Magneto's coworkers is simultaneously dissolved and then reset by Apocalypse, the end result is an assortment of limbs (some of which are still twitching) sticking out of the ground.
    • Apocalypse decapitates a trio of Cairo men shortly after meeting Storm, and we see their heads fall to the ground onscreen.
    • Blood-splatter galore during Wolverine's rampage.
    • Mystique slicing Apocalypse's throat.
  • Fan Disservice: Angel shirtless is definitely Fanservice. Angel shirtless and undergoing a Painful Transformation courtesy of Apocalypse, metal spikes impaling their way out of his skin while he howls in pain the entire time, is definitely not.
  • Fanservice:
    • The first sequence involving Apocalypse transferring to a new body has said body being Oscar Isaac in nothing but a loincloth.
    • Mystique is introduced with a blatant Male Gaze shot of her breasts squeezed into a tight, cleavage-revealing outfit.
    • Angel is recruited by Apocalypse while completely shirtless.
    • 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 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.
  • Fanservice Extra: The skimpy ensemble of the lady with the "Kampf 11" sign bares her buttocks.
  • Fanservice Pack: A rather literal example. Psylocke is dressed modestly when we first see her. When Apocalypse recruits her, she's given skimpy Leotard of Power as her costume. She also wears her hair loose afterwards.
  • 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 to Charles.
      Raven: Out there, mutants are still running, hiding, living in fear. Just because there's not a war, doesn't mean there's peace.
    • A news report near the end of the film points out that society was just beginning to accept mutants (as evidenced by nobody batting an eye at Kurt Wagner walking around in the mall in plain sight), but the events of this movie suggest tensions are likely to rise again. Whether or not they happened, the tensions are resolved by the time of Dark Phoenix.
  • The Fashionista: Jubilee is this, according to this magazine scan.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Apocalypse recruits mutants he considers strong enough to be worthy, names them his "children" with affection, and promises them privileged positions in his new world. The moment they underperform, he brushes them off with a contemptuous "Useless". It's cold enough to break the pedestal that Storm put him on.
  • Feet-First Introduction: The deleted scene at the mall begins with a shot of Cyclops, Jean, Jubilee, and Nightcrawler stepping off an escalator, the camera focusing on their feet and showing Nightcrawler only has two toes on both his feet.
  • Female Gaze: Downplayed with Professor X since he's more precisely a sensual subject rather than a sex object (see his entry in Fanservice). In the scene where he's on a rocky ledge facing Cairo, his body position, the camera angles and the lighting sometimes evoke the impression that he's a male fashion model posing for a magazine shoot. The focus on Xavier's physical beauty in these shots later intensifies the blatant rape subtext of his next scene because he looks like an attractive and vulnerable prey when Apocalypse shoves him down on to a slab and cuffs Charles's wrists to restrain him as preparation for a violent Mind Rape.
  • Fight Clubbing: Mutants are forced to participate in cage fights 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, 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 touching a TV screen.
  • Flashback Cut: As Magneto is testing out his newly augmented powers at Auschwitz, images of his parents, wife and daughter appear for a split second.
  • Flat Character: Psylocke and Angel are Blood Knights who receive virtually no characterization.
  • Foe Romantic Subtext:
    • It hasn't escaped the notice of Oscar Isaac and James McAvoy that there is a slash-y vibe between their characters because on the Gag Reel, Isaac turns Apocalypse's scream of pain when Professor X bombards him with the "voices" of other minds into an orgasmic "IT FEELS GOOOOD!!" McAvoy then cheekily wags his eyebrows at the camera.
    • On the Blu-Ray's "Unlimited Powers: VFX, Stunts and Set Pieces" documentary, McAvoy jokes that Apocalypse lusts after Xavier.
      McAvoy: So he really desperately wants to get in my body. Also because, I mean... [gestures towards himself in a "Look how beautiful I am" manner] Do you know what I mean? [winks]
  • Foil: Enough to have its own page.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Scott is the rebel of the Summers brothers, while Alex, being older, is the more responsible one.
  • 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 at least some of the Horsemen will betray Apocalypse as Storm was shown in the last scene of DoFP.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Nina asks her father, "Is someone going to take you away?"
    • Jean talks about a dark power growing inside like fire.
    • When Beast asks Moira what she meant about there being a mutant stronger than Charles, the scene cuts to Jean.
    • Professor X warns Apocalypse, "And whoever's left to follow you when this is all over, they will betray you again."
  • Forgot About His Powers: Quicksilver is able to spot Xavier's mansion in the process of blowing up and use his super-speed to save everyone, yet in the very next scene, he watches a bunch of armed men take aim at the students and fire without reacting.
  • 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 three decades before they originally did. This leads to En Sabah Nur gaining a cult, Moira investigating it and the ancient mutant waking up when he otherwise didn't. Also, various characters were born much earlier than they were originally, and in different countries.
    • Besides the above (mostly the fault of freeing Erik from prison), the worldwide destruction can be traced to either Erik reflexively saving a steelworker at his mill or the police choices in trying to arrest him that cause the death of his family. So you could possibly blame a literal nail in the manufacture of the mill equipment for Apocalypse getting his most powerful Horseman.
  • 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.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Nightcrawler has three. Lampshaded when he tries to count to three when Scott frees Moira, Peter, Hank and Raven from Stryker's cell.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Pay close attention when Quicksilver starts saving everyone from the exploding Xavier's mansion.
    • When he just arrived at the entrance, he immediately noticed that something odd is going on from a distance. Just before he starts running, the leftmost/western part of the mansion's exterior is already catching fire.
    • Alex isn't in the shot, meaning he'd already been consumed by the blast when Quicksilver arrived.
  • 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's subconscious can't hide his lust for Moira when he's supposed to be concerned about an unusual energy surge in Cairo.
    Xavier: I want to go check her out — check out the situation. [awkwardly clears his throat]
  • Friend in the Black Market: Caliban is a broker who operates behind the Iron Curtain, with Psylocke as his bodyguard. Mystique goes to him for fake IDs for the mutants that she helps.
  • Friendly Enemy: Professor X and Magneto are this during the early part of the movie, according to Simon Kinberg.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Nina's "friends" are all forest animals.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • When the scantily clad lady who holds up the "Kampf 11" sign passes by the cage, Angel wolf-whistles at her.
    • After Jean dismisses Scott as an airhead when he's rude to her for reading his mind ("Don't worry, Scott, there's not much to see."), Alex can be seen laughing at her joke.
  • Funny Foreigner: Nightcrawler's culture shock gets milked for some laughs.
  • Futuristic Pyramid: Apocalypse raises a titanic, intricate stone-and-metal pyramid as his new base of operations by telekinetically disintegrating and recycling the entire city of Cairo.

    Tropes G to L 
  • The Gadfly: After Scott accidentally damages Professor X's most beloved tree on the estate, the latter, strictly speaking, didn't have to say anything about the tree being planted by his grandfather (especially when Charles had already made up his mind that he'll accept Scott as a new student), yet he did so anyway just to provoke a reaction from the teen. Scott doesn't want to be at the school (and thus one would assume that he would prefer to be rejected), yet he becomes extremely apprehensive over the possibility that Xavier is furious at him for ruining a priceless family heirloom. It should be noted that Scott is blindfolded, so he can't see Charles's facial expression to judge the latter's emotional state. Alex most likely informed his brother that Xavier is a very powerful telepath, and warned Scott (who has a tendency to be rude) that he should behave himself in front of the Professor. Scott obviously failed spectacularly in that regard, and Charles then teased the young man by making him wince for a moment.
    Charles: My grandfather planted that tree when he was five years old. I used to swing from the branches of it myself. [tree finishes falling apart] I think that was probably my favorite tree.
    Scott: [worried] Does that mean I'm-I'm expelled?
    Charles: [smiles] On the contrary. You're enrolled.
  • Gene Hunting: Quicksilver seeks out his estranged 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 and is significantly more girly here.
  • Gladiator Games: Nightcrawler and Angel are introduced fighting in an underground death match.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Professor X is the second-most powerful mutant (third after Jean accesses her Phoenix Force), and the story even makes a point about how a "god" is incomplete without his psychic ability ("To be everywhere, to be everyone"). But because his telepathy is ineffective against Apocalypse's Psychic Block Defense, Charles is totally defenseless; as a paraplegic, he can't even try to run away from his captor.
    • Quicksilver's Super Speed, which normally gives him a huge advantage over his foes in combat (Apocalypse is flying through the air when Peter is punching him), is nullified after Apocalypse traps his foot in the ground and breaks his leg. In the vicious hands of the god-like mutant, Maximoff is as fragile as a toy.
  • A God Am I: Inverted; En Sabah Nur claims that the various deities worshiped 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 worshiped — but he's also forgiving."
  • God-Emperor: En Sabah Nur was once the god-king of Ancient Egypt, but he was overthrown by rebels who were convinced that he was a false deity. More than 5500 years later, Apocalypse's new ambition is to crown himself god-emperor of Earth where he would reign from Cairo, the seat of his throne ("the center of the universe," as he calls it).
  • Godzilla Threshold: Once he finally understands that the powers of all the X-Men together will not be enough to stop Apocalypse, Charles Xavier asks Jean Grey to unleash the Phoenix force, with predictable results.
  • 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."
  • Golden Super Mode: When Xavier urges Jean to cut loose her Phoenix Force, she manifests golden energy wings, and her powers are amped up to Physical God levels of strength, vaporizing Apocalypse with minimal effort.
  • Gonna Need More X: During Xavier's Battle in the Center of the Mind with Apocalypse, the villain says this to the hero when he gains the upper hand.
    Charles: Welcome to my world! You're in my house now!
    Apocalypse: You're going need a bigger house. [grows 30 feet tall]
  • Good Costume Switch: Storm dons the X-suit after her Heel–Face Turn.
  • Good is Not Nice: Mystique is brisker and stricter with the young X-Men than Professor X.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • Occurs multiple times during Wolverine's rampage through the Alkali Lake base.
    • Blink and you'll miss it, but you do see the force/flames of the explosion engulf Havok's body after he accidentally blows up the generator. However, you're spared from any further evidence of his immolation.
  • Gotta Get Your Head Together: Professor X grasps his head when he's overwhelmed by Jean's "dream" of an impending apocalypse.
  • Graceful Loser: After trying to cut and run, Apocalypse finally submits to his fate of being impaled by Magneto, fried by Scott and Storm, and vaporized by Jean, with the last one inspiring him to murmur, "All is revealed."
  • 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.
  • Gravity Sucks: Averted; there is no "gravity suction" on the nukes Apocalypse shoots beyond the Earth's atmosphere, but this runs into a different kind of artistic license. The null-gravity effect experienced by astronauts is about moving around the world, not moving up far enough.
  • Guile Hero: Xavier's psychic powers are useless against En Sabah Nur's mental shields, so the former exercises his smarts to undermine and delay the latter's Evil Plan as much as possible. Apocalypse's New Era Speech was intended to stir planet-wide panic, but Charles mitigates this somewhat by altering the last sentence with a slightly hopeful note, and it no doubt saves some lives. Meanwhile, he stealthily embeds a telepathic message for Jean so that the X-Men know where to find him. When Apocalypse imposes a Sadistic Choice on his escaped prisoner, Professor X Takes a Third Option by diverting his foe's attention with a psychic duel, and he thus avoids having to sacrifice the world or Mystique and Quicksilver. Xavier knows that he can't win the fight on the mental plane, but what ultimately secures his victory is his emotional connection to his daughter figure Jean. He learns from his mistake in the original timeline, and he understands that the only way the Phoenix can be "tamed" is for him to love Jean for all that she is—and not fear what she's capable of by locking away a part of her mind—so that she develops the confidence to accept herself and her abilities. What Charles lacks in raw power in comparison to Apocalypse, he makes up for it with his psychological insight and exploiting The Power of Love.
  • Happy Flashback:
    • Magneto recalls a couple of cherished moments that he had shared with Charles in 1962. One line which wasn't featured in X-Men: First Class is Xavier telling him, "And it needs you, Erik."
    • When Charles restores the memories that he took away from Moira, there's greater emphasis on the cheerful times they had spent together.
  • Healing Factor:
    • An unnamed Egyptian mutant whom Apocalypse possesses during the prologue and whose body he uses for the remainder of the film had the ability to involuntarily heal from injuries. It's demonstrated before the ritual and is presumably why Apocalypse survived being entombed for thousands of years.
    • Wolverine, the man who made this trope famous, also briefly appears and uses it to shrug off machine gun fire.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Storm 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 Angel are dressed in studded black leather jackets.
    • 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.
  • Hero Antagonist: Unlike most authority figures in previous X-Men movies, the cops who attempt to bring Magneto in show little malice towards mutants as a whole, and seem solely interested in arresting a terrorist. The deaths of Erik's wife and daughter are accidental; the result of a cop getting distracted and losing his grip on his bow, and all the cops react with appropriate horror.
  • Heroic Resolve: Professor X finds strength that he didn't know he had when Apocalypse threatens to suffocate Mystique if Xavier doesn't surrender. Charles had already been cruelly victimized and had nearly died from Apocalypse's Grand Theft Me attempt, yet despite his weakened condition, Xavier is able to enter his enemy's mind and attack him on the mental plane.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Mystique is viewed as a hero by the younger mutants, although she vehemently denies her heroism. Storm idolizes her, while Jean, Kurt and Peter say that seeing her actions in D.C. changed their lives.
  • 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 codependent. 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 she practices it just before Charles, Scott, Alex and Hank arrive at the stone-lined lake.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: The Gag Reel on the Blu-Ray/DVD contains over 8 minutes of bloopers.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Confronting someone who's probably Magneto isn't a good idea, but the Polish police do put a lot of effort into making sure they don't have any metal including using bows and arrows as weapons and Erik is as isolated from metal as possible. It's a great plan except that Erik had no intention of fighting and the ensuing accidental arrow death of his wife and daughter leads to him killing all the police with the family locket as an improvised weapon. And destroying a lot of Poland.
  • 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 when Xavier observes that Moira "hasn't aged a day."
  • Homage:
  • Homoerotic Subtext:
    • Simon Kinberg has 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's 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."
    • Kinberg later adds that when Erik calls Charles by his professor title for the first time in the movie series, it's a sign of respect and love which is greater than "old friend" because in the Alternate Timeline, Xavier is less pacifistic than in the original timeline. (Also see Kinberg's quote for Professor X's Character Development entry.)
      Simon Kinberg: Erik says, "Good luck, professor." It's the first time he ever called Charles "professor." And it sort of shows respect that I found it really beautiful that Michael said it subtly loving.
    • While promoting Apocalypse at SDCC, James McAvoy summarized his charatcer'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 translucent white shirt 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 sexy scientist days in X-Men: First Class.
  • Human Sacrifice: In the Distant Prologue, Apocalypse's previous four Horsemen offer their master (whose current host is frail and elderly) a sedated mutant to act as his new host, with Death believing that the addition of the mutant's Healing Factor to Apocalypse's Super Power Lottery will further secure his immortality.
  • Humble Hero: 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. 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.
  • Iconic Outfit: Professor X embraces a more serious and distinguished-looking three-piece suit, which is a variation of his tweed-preppy fashion sense in X-Men: First Class.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Professor X's steely gaze when he looks directly at the camera is the very last shot of the movie. It's unique and significant for the character because James McAvoy's iteration either has Innocent Blue Eyes or expresses that he's in excruciating pain due to a Break the Cutie ordeal or being a Broken Bird. It hints that McAvoy's Xavier is tougher than Patrick Stewart's in the original timeline because the former had undergone horrific torture by Apocalypse, and is nearly murdered by him, and what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. Charles had already fallen apart at the seams once before, and he refuses to do this again even though the hell he was forced to endure in this film is much worse, so the fierce determination in his eyes is a warning that no one should mess with him or his X-Men.
  • I Have Many Names: In the teaser trailer, En Sabah Nur claims to have been known throughout history as Ra, Krishna, and Yahweh among others. This upset some religious leaders, so the last two were substituted with Elohim and Shen in the theatrical release.
  • Immortal Ruler: Apocalypse used to rule over Egypt as pharaoh, and clearly did so for a very long time. When he's introduced he looks like a feeble old man, while in The Stinger for the previous film he looked like a young Pretty Boy. Judging by the number of powers he displays, all of which were stolen from previous hosts whose personalities were overriden by Apocalyse's, it's no wonder his people believed him to be an immortal god.
  • I'm Not a Hero, I'm...: This occurs when Nightcrawler recognizes Mystique.
    Kurt: You can transform. You're her, the hero.
    Raven: I'm nobody. I'm not a hero.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • Magda and Nina are impaled with an arrow, which leads to their deaths.
    • 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's 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 Xavier 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.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Even with all changes in the timeline, even with characters who shouldn't even be born yet appearing as adults, Wolverine still ends up being experimented on by Stryker, with adamantium bonding and memory loss.
  • 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, Angel defeats a large, bald challenger.
    • 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.
    • 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).
    • At one point, Professor Xavier reads his students a passage from The Once and Future King, just as he did in X2: X-Men United. The older Magneto is seen reading that same book in his plastic federal prison, also in X2.
    • 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.
    • Professor X repeats his action from 1962 of freezing everyone at the CIA building just so that he can talk to Agent MacTaggert.
    • 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.
    • When Quicksilver inquires about Magneto to Mystique ("Was he the bad guy?"), it sounds similar to Pyro's "They say you're the bad guy" when he meets Magneto (who is accompanied by Mystique) for the first time in X2: X-Men United. Like John, Peter also has a choice between Professor X and Magneto, and he ends up siding with the man whom he shares more in common with personality-wise.
    • Mystique suffers from the same motion sickness caused by Quicksilver's speed boost that Erik had experienced when he was freed from his Pentagon cell in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Peter also cradles her head to prevent whiplash.
    • Cyclops' and Storm's mutant power duel is reminiscent of Iceman's and Pyro's in X-Men: The Last Stand.
    • En Sabah Nur's first appearance is the post-credits scene from Days of Future Past where he constructs a pyramid via telekinesis. Here, Jean and Erik use their abilities to rebuild the school during the denouement.
  • In Touch with His Feminine Side: One of Charles's shirts is lilac, which is not considered to be a masculine colour, and it reflects his androgynous personality. Xavier's tenderness is one of his greatest strengths because it allows him to wield The Power of Love, which in turn makes him a more successful leader than Apocalypse.
  • Ironic Echo: When Charles uses Cerebro to locate Magneto, Apocalypse takes the opportunity to take control of Charles; later, after Apocalypse has tried his Grand Theft Me ritual on Charles, Charles takes the opportunity to get inside Apocalypse's head.
    Apocalypse/Charles Xavier: Thank you for letting me in.
  • 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 Work Alone: Mystique lampshades this on her preference to Nightcrawler when he asks why he can't go with her.
  • I've Never Seen Anything Like This Before: Charles Xavier reacts this way when being possessed by Apocalypse:
    "I've never felt power like this before..."
  • Jerk Jock: Scott is bullied by one who threatens to kick his ass for (supposedly) winking at the guy's girlfriend.
  • Junior Counterpart: In certain respects, Jean Grey is a younger female version of her father figure Charles. She's a Nice Girl with a Friendless Background who is tormented by her telepathy because she has difficulty blocking out the thoughts of others, and she suffers from nightmares, which makes the two of them Birds of a Feather. Jean becomes a source of emotional support to Scott after his brother dies, which mirrors how Xavier comforts her when she's distressed. Jean is compassionate towards a dehumanized Wolverine even after she had witnessed him butcher all of Stryker's soldiers, just as Charles is forgiving of Magneto's mass murder because he can still sense the goodness in his old friend. Jean adopts the Pstandard Psychic Pstance that her mentor no longer uses, which reinforces the idea that she's a surrogate variant of Daddy's Girl (see the trope's entry). Their sameness is also displayed visually because Jean wears a 3/4-sleeve blazer which is similar to the Professor's (albeit in a different colour), and conveniently, they're both beautiful in a feminine way (Xavier is a Long-Haired Pretty Boy).
    • This also applies to Cyclops and Nightcrawler being this to Havok and Beast respectively. Havok and Cyclops are bad boys with Energy Blast powers and jerks with hearts of gold. But their treatment of Beast and Nightcrawler are polar opposites. Havok is a jerk jock to Beast throughout most of their interactions and make hurtful jokes about his Mutation (though he later compliments Hanks secondary mutation). Whilst Cyclops is cynical, he immediately sparks up a friendship with Nihgtcrawler and offer to "show him the real America" when realising he is from Germany and the only comment made regarding Nightcrawlers appearance is calling him the "Blue Guy" once.
    • Beast and Nightcrawler are tall athletic, acrobatic animal like fighters with blue skin, claws and fangs. However both are meek nice guys with a Beware the Nice Ones attitude to when they get furious in a fight. Though Beast is a man of science and quite experienced in the outside world, Nightcrawler is a Catholic and generally extremely naïve due to his inexperience. Both are generslly there to rescue teammates from danger like Beast defending Havok from Azazel and Nightcrawler teleporting his teammates to safety.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Magneto again. Under Apocalypse's orders, he seizes the Earth's entire magnetic field, causing worldwide destruction and death. 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.
    • Storm , who willingly aided Apocalypse's plan of world domination and genocide and ultimately ends up becoming a member of the X-Men.
    • At the end of the Final Battle, Psylocke sneaks away undetected by the X-Men.
    • William Stryker escapes after Wolverine's rampage.
  • 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."
  • Kill the Cutie: The sweet and innocent Nina accidentally dies at the hands of the Polish police.
  • Knowledge Broker: Caliban is a broker and informant on mutant goings-on.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Nightcrawler's teleportation power is blocked by electrical fields. They also interfere with Jean's telekinesis and telepathy.
  • Large Ham:
    • Erik cries out at the top of his lungs, "IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT FROM ME?! IS THIS WHAT I AM?!" when his family dies and he slaughters all of the police officers.
    • En Sabah Nur is a goldmine of these, to the point where it almost seems like he has been ripped straight out of the '90s cartoon:
      • "No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords! NO MORE WEAPONS! NO MORE SYSTEMS!! NO MORE... No more superpowers."
      • "Charles, I know you can hear me. We're still connected. CHARLES! SHOW YOURSELF! CHAAAAAARLES!!! SHOW YOURSELF!!!"
    • It's Played for Laughs with Quicksilver, who is exasperated from being interrogated by Stryker on a subject he knows absolutely nothing about: "WE DON'T KNOW, BRO!!"
    • Xavier hollers in the mental plane, "UNLEASH YOUR POWER! LET GO, JEAN!! JEAN, LET GO!!!"
  • The Leader:
    • 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.
    • Scott takes the initiative when he, Jean and Kurt decide that they should try to save Hank, Raven, Peter and Moira from Stryker. Cyclops is the Levelheaded type because he's always thinking about the best strategy to circumvent whatever obstacles they encounter.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • The passage from The Once and Future King that Professor X reads to his class is: "The past must be obliterated and the new start made. Let us now start fresh without remembrance rather than live forward and backward at the same time." For the audience, the underlying message is that we should ignore the Ret-Gone original timeline of the X-Men movie series and focus on its Alternate Timeline.
    • Charles's comment that Moira hadn't aged a day sounds like a rather cheeky reference to how in spite of at least twenty years passing between First Class' and Apocalypse'', none of the cast members are as old or look as old as their characters should be.
  • 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 as her "Horseman of Apocalypse" uniform 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.
    • Apocalypse's given name is associated with the light and he is seen as a divine being to his loyal followers, but is also one of the most evil villains.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Mystique tells Magneto, "I'm going to go fight for what I have left," which specifically refers to her foster brother Charles.
  • Likes Older Women: Downplayed since nothing happens between them, but Quicksilver does consider Moira to be a beautiful woman, and she's approximately 23 years his senior.
  • Little "No":
    • When Charles senses Peter's and Raven's imminent executions at Apocalypse's hands, and especially the latter's suffocation, he sobs one when Moira tells him he can't sacrifice himself for them without dooming the world as well.
    • Erik also murmurs several of these while holding his wife and daughter after they are accidentally killed by a Polish policeman.
  • 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.
    Kurt: Mine too.
    Peter: Mine too.
  • Logical Weakness: Jean Grey's Perception Filter is useless against security cameras. No matter how powerful the psychic, it doesn't matter against something that doesn't have a mind.
  • Logo Joke: The "X" of the 20th Century Fox logo is highlighted.
  • "London, England" Syndrome:
    • "Pruszków, Poland"; "Cairo, Egypt."
    • Averted with "East Berlin."
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: The lovely Charles proudly styles his luscious tresses into a feathered mullet. In essence, he combines his prettiness from X-Men: First Class with his long, wavy mane from X-Men: Days of Future Past (but updated to an '80s hairdo). This is the character at his most vain because he revels in being beautiful and flaunts it. Apocalypse also plays up Xavier's nurturing qualities, so long hair (which is generally associated with femininity) denotes his androgynous mindset. His lips are a deep magenta instead of cherry-red like in First Class, and their rosy shade matches with his lilac shirt. For viewers who had never seen an X-Men movie before, there is absolutely no doubt that Professor X is In Touch with His Feminine Side based on his physical appearance.
  • Love Redeems: Magneto finally turns his life around after starting his own family. Unfortunately, both his wife and daughter are killed by accident, which results in his re-Start of Darkness. This gets Double Subverted in the end when his friendship with Charles redeems him again.

    Tropes M to O 
  • MacGuffin Super-Person: Apocalypse desires Professor X's Telepathy for his own because it's "the answer" to his quest for divinity.
    Apocalypse: For the first time in a thousand lifetimes, I have you. For all my gifts, I have yet to possess the one I needed most. To be everywhere. To be everyone.
  • Machiavelli Was Wrong: The story's core message is that ruling through love (as represented by Professor X) is more effective than ruling through fear (as personified by Apocalypse) because the former inspires loyalty while the latter encourages betrayal. The X-Men win the Final Battle because they're united, unlike Apocalypse, who has no one on his side in the end. This even forms the basis of Charles's Badass Boast when Apocalypse is about to "crush" his mind.
    Xavier: You will never win.
    Apocalypse: And why is that?
    Xavier: Because you're alone, and I am NOT!
  • Male Gaze: The way the camera moves when we first see Mystique in her cleavage-exposing dress evokes this. Surprisingly averted with Psylocke who, despite wearing the most Stripperiffic costume in the film, doesn't get that much attention drawn to her assets.
  • Manchild: 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 during the jet ride to Cairo.
  • Man Hug: Alex and Charles haven't seen each other in two decades, and their greeting is a handshake which promptly turns into a warm embrace. This gesture is noticeably more intimate than the straightforward handshake shared between Havok and Hank (a former classmate). It hints that Alex feels a greater degree of fondness and esteem for Professor X, whom he had once looked up to as a father figure and who had played a pivotal role in his life when Alex was a teenager.
  • 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.
  • Marquee Alter Ego:
    • Mystique appears more often in her Raven-as-Charles's-sister form than her natural blue, scaly self. Jennifer Lawrence is the most well-known cast member, so the filmmakers wanted the actress's 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. It's discussed and justified in that the Washington, D.C. incident made her blue form world-famous and she does not want that attention.
    • Nicholas Hoult isn't in the same league as Lawrence fame-wise, but he only spends roughly half of his screen time as the blue, furry Beast.
    • Oscar Isaac briefly appears without makeup at the beginning of the film.
  • Married to the Job: Moira's reason for divorcing her husband; she can't maintain a stable family life while juggling a profession as a CIA agent.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: A foster siblings variation with Raven and Charles. Both are mutant activists, but they use different methods 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; she tells Caliban that she doesn't care what they do with their newfound liberty. 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, while at the same time nurturing them as individuals. In the final scene, Raven assumes a stern, no-nonsense approach when training the X-Men for combat, whereas Charles will continue to educate their minds and provide emotional support.
  • Mass Hypnosis: Apocalypse's ultimate goal is to absorb Charles's powers into his own and use the enhanced psychic abilities to control every single person on the planet.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!":
    • Erik's coworkers are visibly distressed at the sight of Apocalypse.
    • Numerous citizens who are in the vicinity of nuclear launch sites are freaked out when all the missiles shoot upwards.
    • 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 Look: Alex, who is mortified by his ex-mentor's prolonged ogling of Moira, calls out to the Professor and silently conveys with his eyes, "You're here to ask her about Cairo, remember?", which finally snaps Charles out of his reverie.
  • 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." Under the right context, the notion remains similar in reference to him.
    • It's no accident that Jubilee's given name is Jubilation because she carries a sunny disposition.
    • Angel's moniker 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:
  • James McAvoy was asked in this interview to boil down his character to only three essential elements, and the actor answered, "Empathetic, generous, and slightly suffering from a messianic complex. [...] He thinks he's the Second Coming of Christ, he thinks he's gonna save the world."
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: Jean loathes being "trapped inside [her] own head" because of her telepathy, and Xavier understands her anguish because he was also haunted by other people's suffering, pain and secrets in the past. When Scott asks Jean, "How do you know what [Alex] felt?", her face is somber when she gloomily replies, "I know how everybody feels." Professor X momentarily stuns Apocalypse on the mental plane by letting his enemy hear the inner voices of hundreds of minds that are within Charles's psychic range.
  • 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. Because this trope is an analogy for sexual assault, Xavier is a survivor of a brutal and violent figurative rape.
  • Moment Killer: Nightcrawler, twice — first for Mystique's and Beast's reunion, second for interrupting an emotionally intimate moment between Charles and Moira.
  • Monochromatic Eyes: Apocalypse's and Storm's eyes turn white when they actively use their mutant abilities.
  • 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.
  • Mood Whiplash: A dramatic scene where Apocalypse gets into Charles's mind through Cerebro, which Alex then destroys in order to stop it, followed by Apocalypse and his horsemen arriving at the mansion and taking Charles away whilst Alex tries to save him, causing an explosion, is then followed a funny scene where Peter uses his powers to run in and save everyone whilst listening to "Sweet Dreams" by Eurythmics. Which then becomes sad when it turns out he didn't save Alex in time.
  • Mook Horror Show: Wolverine's run through Stryker's goons in lake Alkali. They grow more and more terrified as he continues to butcher his way through them.
  • Moonwalk Dance: Quicksilver made a brief one during the great rescue. Why does he do this? Because he has time to do so.
  • 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:
  • Mugging the Monster: Caliban threatens to shoot Apocalypse with a gun. Apocalypse. He's very lucky that Psylocke interrupted the conversation, which directs Apocalypse's attention towards her instead.
  • My Beloved Smother: Although Xavier is wiser in the Alternate Timeline and knows that he shouldn't "cage the beast" when it comes to the Phoenix, he still keeps his daughter figure Jean on a tight leash by the way he nurtures her. His goal is to placate as much as possible the "fire" within her before it consumes everything and everyone in its path. To borrow a theme from First Class, Charles carefully molds the emotional comfort he offers to Jean as the "serenity" which can quell to some degree the "rage" of her wild "flames." His manipulation of her is so well-crafted that he dictates when the Phoenix—a force of nature—is free to spread its wings. Jean is now a "goddess" in comparison to Professor X, yet she remains subservient to her surrogate father, and it's implied that they're closer in the new timeline than in the old one. While there's no denying that he controls her with love, it does bring about the best outcome Xavier can hope for in terms of Jean being wholly in charge of the Phoenix, and not vice-versa. In this instance, his coddling is portrayed as having a positive impact on her psychological maturation.
    • Bryan Singer outlines in his commentary the sway Charles has over Jean:
    Singer: "It was just a dream" [...] He lies to her. Because he knows, because he's such a powerful psychic, [...] the power of Phoenix is growing inside her, and it's going to become out of control. And she's terrified of it, but doesn't understand it. And he does understand it. And he can't let on to her that he understands it because it would be too frightening, and she would run away. So this scene is all about control. All about keeping that power, and keeping it all under control. And only at the end of the movie does he give her permission [...] to explore her power.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The look on a Polish policemans's, and some of his fellow policemen's, face when he accidentally killed Magda and Nina, Erik's wife and daughter, respectively.
    Police Captain: [to the accidental killer] What have you done!?
  • Mythology Gag: Enough to have its own page.
  • Neck Lift: Apocalypse lifts Mystique by the neck and strangle her one-handed, after she sneaks up on him and slashes his throat under Psylocke's disguise.
  • 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 on 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.
    • The trailer also shows a scene where Apocalypse knocks Xavier to the ground and grows several times larger than him. In the movie, this is a psychic battle in the mental plane. In the physical world, Apocalypse never exhibits the size-changing or shapeshifting powers he has in the comics, preferring to Dish Out Dirt instead.
  • New Era Speech: Thanks to Xavier's powers, Apocalypse sends his own to all the people in the world about how he'll tear down everything that humanity has ever built in order to usher in a new world order. Charles changes the ending to "those with the greatest power, protect those without."
    Apocalypse: Hear me, inhabitants of this world. This is a message, a message to every man, woman and mutant. You have lost your way, but I have returned. The day of reckoning is here. All your buildings, all of your towers and temples will fall. And the dawn of a new age will rise, for there is nothing you can do to stop what is coming. This message is for one reason alone: to tell the strongest among you, those with the greatest power, this Earth will be yours.
  • Nice Guy:
    • When Scott unintentionally wreaks Professor X's favourite tree on the estate—an irreplaceable family heirloom because it was planted by Xavier's grandfather when he was five years old—the teen assumes that he must have pissed off Charles and is worried that he'll be kicked out. Instead, the Professor chuckles and warmly welcomes Scott to his school. Jean, who had witnessed the entire event, smiles at Xavier's benevolence and forgiveness.
    • Played with in Scott Summers' case, who is initially rude and snarky to everyone around him. After his brother Alex dies, he veers towards his classic characterization of a "boy scout."
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • The cultists had managed to locate En Sabah Nur's resting place, but they have 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.
    • Professor Xavier's conversation with Magneto via Cerebro makes Apocalypse aware of the telepath's existence and he taps into the latter's powers.
    • Havok'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 Havok himself, being the closest to the blast.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Colonel Stryker. By capturing Mystique and co., he inadvertently allows Jean Grey, Cyclops and Nightcrawler to infiltrate his compound and gain access to a new plane. Without his actions, the good guys would have a much more difficult time trying to stop Apocalypse from taking over Charles's body.
  • 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.
  • No Kill like Overkill: Apocalypse is finally defeated when he folds under the combined might of Magneto's barrage of metal, Cyclops' optic blast, Storm's lightning and Jean Grey's Phoenix powers. He's completely vaporized by their unified onslaught, simply because nothing less was going to stop him.
  • 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. An Egyptian cover of A Flock of Seagulls' "I Ran (So Far Away)," a smash hit in 1982, is blaring from a boombox at the Cairo market. Men Without Hats' "The Safety Dance," another classic from that year, accompanies the deleted mall scene.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: Apocalypse believes that culling the world every so often is necessary, using humanity's atrocities as evidence of why his absence was not in Earth's best interests. However, this is shown to be at best a shallow excuse, given the much greater atrocities he is going to unleash, and is ultimately more about elevating himself back to godhood.
  • Now It's My Turn: After being manhandled by Apocalypse for much of the movie, Xavier engages him in a psychic duel and says this, "You're in my house now!" Then Apocalypse regains the upperhand, making it his turn. Then Xavier basically says that it is Jean's turn and she unleashes the Phoenix Force which vaporizes Apocalypse.
  • 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.
    • Charles and Jean share this expression when they both experience her visions of a global catastrophe.
    • One of the workers at the steel mill takes a hard gulp when a vengeful Magneto shows up at the factory after escaping from the authorities.
    • Moira is more than a little startled when Xavier activates Cerebro.
    • Professor X utters "Oh my god" after Apocalypse hijacks Cerebro.
    • Apocalypse creepily tells Xavier, "I'm here for you, Charles," which freaks out the telepath.
    • Charles's 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.
    • Mystique's reaction when the leader of the supposed rescue team after the school blows up turns out to be Stryker.
    • The default expression of any soldier when he's face-to-face with a brainwashed Wolverine.
    • Storm is very frightened when she's about to be crushed by a car.
    • Professor X is understandably scared out of his mind throughout the Grand Theft Me procedure.
    • This is written all over Archangel's face seconds before the jet smashes into the ground.
    • After being rescued by the X-Men, Charles tries to rest and recover from his trauma, but his head snaps back upright in horror when he hears En Sabah Nur roar out his name.
    • Quicksilver knows he's in deep trouble when Apocalypse traps his foot inside the ground, which prevents Peter from using his Super Speed. It gets worse when Apocalypse twists his arm, breaks his leg and then exposes his neck to Psylocke's katana.
    • Xavier is already very alarmed when he can detect through his telepathy that Quicksilver has been seriously injured by Apocalypse, but Charles breaks down when Raven is being slowly strangled to death.
    • Mystique's terror when Apocalypse suddenly grabs her neck and begins choking her.
    • 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 proves what the narrator says in the introduction; "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)! Charles owns a collection of beautiful vintage cars which are in pristine working condition, and that takes a lot of coin to maintain.
  • Omniglot: Thanks to his mutation, Professor X is capable of mental communication in every language in the world.
  • The Omnipresent: Apocalypse's goal is "To be everywhere—to be everyone" through Mass Hypnosis of the entire planet by using Charles as his new vessel so he can amplify Xavier's psychic abilities with his own powers.
  • One-Hit Polykill: Magda and Nina are killed by the same arrow.
  • Only in It for the Money: Mystique accuses Caliban of caring only about money.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Psylocke and Angel are only called by their code names. Jubilation Lee goes by her nickname Jubilee in promotional materials.
  • On Three: Nightcrawler messes up the countdown for Cyclops to use his powers because the former gets distracted when he realizes that he only has two fingers (not counting his thumb).
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Before this film, Professor X had never condoned the slaying of a Big Bad. The worst it ever got was when he reluctantly became an accessory to murder in X-Men: First Class; he had held Sebastian Shaw motionless with his telepathy while pleading with Erik not to kill the man. When Charles is in a Battle in the Center of the Mind with Apocalypse, he isn't strong enough to subdue the god-like mutant, so he implores Jean to summon her Phoenix powers, knowing full well that she will annihilate his enemy. In the Alternate Timeline, Xavier is a touch more aggressive, and this marks a major change for his character going forwards.
  • Opening Monologue: James McAvoy's Xavier performs this for the first time.
    Professor X: Mutants, born with extraordinary abilities, and yet still, they are children, stumbling in the dark, searching for guidance. A gift can often be a curse. Give someone wings, and they may fly too close to the sun. Give them the power of prophecy, and they may live in fear of the future. Give them the greatest gift of all, powers beyond imagination, and they may think they are meant to rule the world.
  • 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.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Quicksilver arrives to the Xavier mansion in the nick of time and evacuates the entire building within a fraction of a second while it explodes. We even see a pair of students who are trying to do this but will definitely fail when the speedster grabs them and runs out.

    Tropes P to S 
  • Pacifist: Hank mentions that the Professor had turned down his request to restart the X-Men, and Raven remarks that "Charles wants students, not soldiers," but after their confrontation with Apocalypse, Xavier accepts that it's no longer sufficient for him to simply be a teacher. He retakes his position as the commander of his paramilitary group and ensures that his protégés will be combat-ready for the next big threat.
  • 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 Angel turning to the dark side.
  • Parental Substitute:
    • Xavier is a father figure to all of his students, and to Jean especially because of their shared mutation. Quicksilver decides to stay with the Professor instead of getting to know his estranged father.
    • McCoy is a teacher at the school, and he has a paternal relationship with the younger mutants. He begins to form a bond with Scott.
    • Apocalypse serves this role to his Horsemen. 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 "take a break" so that he and Havok can visit Agent MacTaggert without having to deal with security.
  • Perception Filter: When Stryker's soldiers search for more mutants and pass where Jean, Scott and Kurt are hiding, Jean uses her powers to conceal them from sight. She keeps using it to board the helicopter and to go around the military base, staying undetected.
  • 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. Averted with Magneto's English being understood by all Polish characters. In the '60s and '70s, the main foreign language taught in the country's schools was Russian.
  • Perma-Stubble: Charles has faint stubble instead of being clean-shaven (which is his regular look in the franchise), and at first, it seems to convey 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. However, once he decides that it's necessary for him to step up his role as a leader of mutants, he still keeps the extra facial hair—this illustrates that James McAvoy's character is "rougher-around-the-edges" than Patrick Stewart's in the original timeline. Xavier's stubble is also a Shout-Outnote  to Detective James "Sonny" Crockett from Miami Vice.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Apocalypse single-handedly razes the city of Cairo to the ground with his Mind over Matter powers, potentially massacring millions of its inhabitants.
  • Physical God:
    • Apocalypse's Combo Platter Powers make him a borderline Reality Warper and he has the life span for it as well, but he is technically not a god.
    • Jean's Phoenix Force is a genuine divinity and has the power to match.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Quicksilver and Nightcrawler provide some of the more amusing moments in the film. Downplayed with Professor X because he's predominantly a dramatic character, but writer Simon Kinberg reveals in his commentary that Charles was deliberately used to lighten up the mood of the first act.
    Kinberg: I tried to get a lot of humour into the movie whenever it was appropriate, and James [McAvoy] is a really good comedic actor, so there was a lot of good Xavier moments.
  • P.O.V. Cam:
    • We get a glimpse of what the world looks like through the ruby quartz lenses of Scott's sunglasses when he puts them on for the first time.
    • After Apocalypse notices Xavier's presence through the latter's telepathic link with Erik, Apocalypse stares straight at the camera (so we're seeing him through the Professor's perspective) with his glowing white eyes as he ominously states, "Thank you for letting me in."
  • Power Incontinence: Scott can't control his Eye Beams when they start manifesting. He has to be blindfolded until he is brought to the Xavier Institute, otherwise he'll destroy everything (and everyone) around him. There, Hank creates special filter sunglasses for him, enabling him to control his mutant ability.
  • Power Nullifier: This movie establishes that electrical fields can block mutant powers — the box that Nightcrawler is brought to the East Berlin fight club in is electrified, as is the cage he fights Angel in, which prevents him teleporting out. On Stryker's helicopter, Jean finds that the electrical cage they're in also blocks her telepathy so she can't mind-control the pilots.
  • The Power of Love: If Charles has a secondary mutation, it would be this—he has the ability to "transform" the people around him into better versions of themselves. His unwavering love and support for his daughter figure Jean allows her to overcome her fears about her Phoenix power, and she fries Apocalypse with deadly efficiency, saving the world and the Professor's life in the process. Magneto pulls a Heel–Face Turn when he realizes that his love for Xavier is stronger than his hate towards human society, which has murdered his family twice over. Peter could've easily returned to his mother's basement and continue wasting his potential after the Final Battle (especially considering that he had decided to withhold from Erik that he's his son), but it's implied that Maximoff was touched by Charles's worry for his well-being when Xavier had created a telepathic link between them while Quicksilver was fighting Apocalypse. It should be noted that Charles hadn't spoken to Peter in a decade, but the former's capacity for love is so great that he had opened his mind to a young mutant whom he barely knows, and he sincerely cared about whether Maximoff got hurt or not. The self-described "total loser" Quicksilver is now a member of the X-Men who can make a positive difference in the world.
  • Power Parasite: Apocalypse is a body-changer who permanently acquires the superpowers of every new host he embodies. Because he's been alive for thousands of years, he won the Superpower Lottery through sheer persistence.
  • 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?
    • Quicksilver's flirtation with Moira in Bullet Time is so brief that she doesn't even know it happened! Peter also employs his Super Speed in this commercial and attempts to impress a young woman so that he can earn a date with her.
  • Power-Strain Blackout:
    • Professor X loses consciousness after each time he's Mind Raped by Apocalypse.
    • Nightcrawler passes out after he simultaneously teleports several members of the X-Men before their jet crashes.
  • 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 and his then-three Horsemen. ("Who the fuck are you?")
  • Present-Day Past:
    • 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.
    • Another minor example is the discussion regarding Star Wars. Film trilogies were not a common occurrence in 1983, and the general assumption that the third entry in a trilogy is always the worst didn't come around until much later.
  • 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's status as a victim when he's Mind Raped by Apocalypse, which is a metaphor for sexual assault. Because Beauty Equals Goodness for James McAvoy's Xavier, maintaining his dainty appearance even when he's being viciously battered, bloodied and bruised on the mental plane connotes that he's a person with a tenderhearted soul who's dying.
    • 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.
    • Angel 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 dorky 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, delicate 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 Manchild and a Basement-Dweller. During his confrontation with Apocalypse, Quicksilver moves gracefully as a Fragile Speedster, and once Apocalypse takes away his Super Speed advantage, Peter is wholly defenseless. Because Maximoff's face exudes an aura of innocence, it evokes the imagery of a "lamb to the slaughter" when Apocalypse offers his bare neck to Psylocke for execution.
  • 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 on the estate being carved in half. Xavier mentions that it was the first tree planted by his grandfather. Immediately after he says this, the tree finally breaks in half, and Scott fears that the Professor will kick him out of the school.
  • Product Placement:
    • Scott's sunglasses are Ray-Bans.
    • Ororo drinks Coca-Cola.
    • In the deleted mall scene, Kurt, Scott, Jean and Jubilee slurp Slush Puppies, and Nightcrawler gapes at a display of sneakers inside a Payless ShoeSource store.
  • Properly Paranoid: Upon learning that someone who might be Magneto is in their midst, the Polish police who come to arrest him intentionally leave their badges and guns behind, using only bows and arrows in order to prevent him from using metal against them. Unfortunately, they were not quite paranoid enough, as he instead uses the locket with his parents' photos in it that Nina has to kill them all.
  • Proud Beauty: Professor X is a Hot Teacher who doesn't seem to be concerned in the slightest that his translucent white shirt would be deemed inappropriate in any other school with teenagers and children. His sunglasses are the most flashy of the film because of their gradient lenses, and they enhance his sex appeal while also giving him the air of a fashion model. Xavier runs his hand through his luscious locks (which is his equivalent of a peacock's tail) to tame some wayward strands before he meets Moira to ensure that he's at his most attractive. Even after he goes bald, he conjures a mental projection of himself which still proudly has a feathered mullet on its head when he faces a life-and-death struggle with Apocalypse. It's The End of the World as We Know It if the Professor fails, but even if he's doomed, he'll at least look fabulous on the mental plane (heck, he still manages to be pretty even when he's soaked in his own blood). Make no mistake, folks; Charles is vain.
  • Pstandard Psychic Pstance: Jean performs this gesture when she uses her telepathy. She must have learned it from Xavier.
  • Psychic Block Defense: Apocalypse can shield himself and his Horsemen from Professor X's 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.
  • Punch Catch: Apocalypse does this to both Quicksilver and Professor X in the physical world and in the mindscape, respectively. Apocalypse then twists Peter's arm, and he crushes Xavier's fist.
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: Quicksilver uses his Super Speed against Apocalypse, and the former gets in some good hits before the latter compensates for Peter's ability, which leaves the speedster helpless. Xavier, who had generated a psychic connection between himself and Maximoff, copies the young mutant's idea and initiates a Battle in the Center of the Mind against Apocalypse on his own terms. Professor X also delivers several punches before Apocalypse gets around Charles's telepathy as well. Of course, Rule of Three dictates that Jean Grey would be the one to succeed.
  • 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.
    • The wormhole produced by Nightcrawler's teleportation ability is a luminous purple.
    • In a shot of Jean Grey screaming in the mental plane, 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 built a high-tech pyramid in Ancient Egypt as the seat of his empire, which also served as the machine to assimilate the powers of other mutants. Once in the XX century, he builds a new one in the middle of Cairo, for the same purpose.
  • The Quiet One: Psylocke's and Angel's dialogue are limited to a few lines each.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Erik does this after his family is killed by the police. Unfortunately, God answers in the form of Apocalypse.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Back in the old days of Ancient Egypt, En Sabah Nur had built a technologically advanced pyramid powered by sunlight. The Egyptians betrayed him and sabotaged the pyramid, causing it to collapse. Apocalypse, in the middle of swapping bodies at the time, was protected by his Horsemen, but he was left in stasis. In the 1980s, the pyramid is discovered and it's still functional; channeling the energy of the sun revives Apocalypse.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • The Polish cops who try to arrest Erik early in the film are genuine peace keepers, not bigots with badges. They target Erik 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 Erik's wife and daughter they are all horrified and remorseful at what they'd done in the brief moments before Erik 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 X-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.
  • Redemption Failure: After the events of Days of Future Past, Erik has successfully made a Heel–Face Turn and gone into hiding in a quiet life and a family. Then when his wife and daughter are accidentally killed by local police who found out Erik's identity and were going to arrest him quietly, he's driven back to his evil ways, his pain and rage more raw than it ever was the previous times he was a villain. Erik even lampshades the fact the universe just wants to take every good thing from him.
  • Red Herring:
    • The Blackbird, along with all the various equipment that is kept underground at the school, seem to foreshadow their use later on in the film. Their only purpose is to cause the explosion that destroys the entire school and kills Havok.
    • Erik restarts his crusade against humans and became easy prey to Apocalypse's influence with the death of his second wife and daughter. Meanwhile, Peter's arc for this movie involves meeting up with Erik to tell him they are father and son, and it might look like this revelation would redeem Erik again. In the end, Erik's Heel–Face Turn doesn't have anything to do with Peter at all, since the latter never got to tell him anything.
  • Reflective Eyes: The launching nuclear missiles are briefly seen reflected on Stan Lee's sunglasses.
  • 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.
  • Request for Privacy: When Charles sees Raven has returned to the mansion, he asks everyone else to leave the room so he and Raven can talk in private.
  • Retcon: In First Class, Charles only erased Moira's memories of visiting the mansion and the events that followed. She still recalled meeting him and was aware of his powers. She probably could have even figured out that she was mind-wiped ("Sometimes, I get fragments. Trees, sunlight... a kiss."). But here, it seems that she doesn't remember him at all.
  • Ride the Lightning: Storm's arrival at the Cairo ruins makes it seem she dropped along with a lightning bolt.
  • 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 Cleavage Window. Louise Mingenbach (the costume designer) confesses on the "Clan of Akkaba: Apocalypse and his Horsemen" documentary on the Blu-Ray that a Los Angeles sex shop had created the latex suit.
    • The semi-transparent vertical "stripes" on Charles's 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. Xavier's lilac shirt is also mildly erotic because depending on his movements or body position, the outline of his pecs is sometimes well-defined, and there are a few blink-and-you'll-miss-it moments where the shape of his nipples is visible through the thin fabric.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
  • There are bookends in Charles's study which are shaped like the mythological figure Atlas, and they symbolize his heavy burden of trying to save the world.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Havok is only one of five characters to appear in every entry of the First Class trilogy, and he is the first casualty in the battle with Apocalypse.
  • Saved by Canon: Due to them appearing alive in the altered future at the end of Days of Future Past Charles, Jean, Scott, Storm, and Hank are this.
  • Save This Person, Save the World: This movie could've been titled Save Charles Xavier, Save the World. If Apocalypse succeeds in possessing Professor X's body, the former gains the latter's telepathy. Apocalypse can then combine it with his Super Empowering skill to put the entire planet under Mass Hypnosis, kill off anyone he deems to be weak with a thought, and everyone else becomes his mindless slave. This will cause The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Say My Name:
    • Xavier yells "JEEEEEEAN!!!" to snap her out of her visions of the world's end.
    • An alarmed Raven shouts "CHARLES!!!" when her unconscious foster brother is kidnapped by Magneto.
    • Apocalypse bellows Charles's name several times at Large Ham levels while searching for his escaped prisoner.
    • Desperate for help, Cyclops yells "HANK!!!" twice as Apocalypse partially fuses Scott into a wall.
  • Science Marches On: In-universe. It was originally believed that mutants only began appearing in the twentieth century, but Apocalypse and his ancient world Horsemen disproves that.
  • Screaming Warrior: When Jean Grey attacks Apocalypse with her Phoenix Force, she lets out a mighty, otherworldly-sounding screech.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • Stryker wastes no time getting himself out of Alkali Lake's base after Wolverine/Weapon X gets loose.
    • After Apocalypse is obliterated by Jean unleashing the Phoenix, Psylocke beats a hasty retreat once she recovers, and slinks away from the site of the battle.
  • Seeing Through Another's Eyes: Xavier sees Jean's visions of planet-wide destruction as if they were his own.
  • Seers: Jean's precognitive ability expresses itself as a terrible dream full of death and mass destruction.
  • Self-Demonstrating Song: Quicksilver listens to the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" while in Bullet Time. The song itself spells out the plot in more ways than one. "Traveled the world and the seven seas, everybody is looking for something" refers to En Sabah Nur teleporting around the globe to recruit followers and offering them something they desire. "Some of them want to use you / Some of them want to abuse you" summarizes the entire interaction between Apocalypse and Xavier.
  • Self-Deprecation: When seeing Return of the Jedi, the characters are discussing which Star Wars is best. Jean replies "the third one is always the worst." X-Men: The Last Stand was the third in the original trilogy and is widely regarded as the weakest. And Apocalypse itself is the third in the First Class trilogy. What's more is that Sophie Turner is the third actress to play Jean Grey, after Famke Janssen in the original films, and Haley Ramm as the young Jean in The Last Stand.
  • Sequel Hook: The film ends with two. Psylocke escapes, and the Essex Corporation procures Wolverine's blood from the Weapon X facility, presumably to create X-23.
  • 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 had left.
  • Shadow Archetype: When Oscar Isaac encapsulates Apocalypse's modus operandi in the "Clan of Akkaba: Apocalypse and his Horsemen" documentary on the Blu-Ray, it's identical to Professor X's. Apocalypse is the warped mirror image of Xavier if the latter loses all self-restraint and fully succumbs to "absolute power corrupts absolutely"—Charles even gets Drunk on the Dark Side for a couple minutes to showcase that he's not immune to its effects. En Sabah Nur governs his Apocalypse Cult with the Four Horsemen as his devotees, whereas Professor X can be interpreted as a highly idealized cult leader (if a truly good-hearted one exists, then he'd be it) with the X-Men as his disciples.
    Isaac: He finds people that are in need, people that are in a very dark part of their lives, that are searching for something. He zeroes in on these people and reads them, and figures out what it is that they need to feel fulfilled, to feel strong.
  • 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."
  • Shapeshifter Swan Song: Downplayed with Mystique — when Apocalypse is strangling her, her scales start fluttering and fidgeting, although she doesn't change forms at all.
  • 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:
    • The body Apocalypse is transferring himself into at the beginning of the film is wearing nothing but a loincloth.
    • Angel is bare-chested when Apocalypse transforms him into Archangel.
    • Wolverine is seen shirtless when he escapes the Weapon X facility.
  • Shock and Awe: Storm's mutant ability is magnified by Apocalypse, and in his own words, he transforms her into a "goddess."
    Alexandra Shipp: Storm's got this darkness to her. Apocalypse makes her stronger and more powerful.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • The ancient Egyptian that's spoken at the beginning and by Apocalypse after his awakening is accurate as far as modern knowledge of the language is concerned.
    • 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 is set.
  • 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.
  • 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, on a mental battlefield, anyway.
  • Skipping School: On Scott's second day at Xavier's school, he's "already up for a prison break," and persuades Kurt, Jean and Jubilee to hang out at the mall instead of being "cooped up" in class.
  • Skyward Scream: Magneto, whose powers have been boosted by Apocalypse, does this as he disintegrates the Auschwitz concentration camp.
  • Slashed Throat: Mystique gives one to Apocalypse, but the wound doesn't kill him because he has a Healing Factor.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: Unlike their male teammates, Storm's and Psylocke's Horsemen apparel expose their arms.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Throughout the film series, Professor X and Magneto are traditionally at the opposite ends of this scale, but in this movie's denouement, they have both taken a step towards the middle. Xavier's actions during the Final Battle are a subtle acknowledgement that in extreme circumstances, he'll do whatever it takes to Save the World, even if it means committing murder. Erik appreciates this new, hardened edge in his old friend, and his respect for Charles is even greater than in the original timeline. Because they've reconciled, it hints that Magneto intends to tone down his warmongering and will be more open to negotiation with the Professor the next time there is a major incident between mutants and humans.
    "Well, the two men have never been more similar in their whole relationship as they have in this moment."
  • Sliding Scale of Leadership Responsibility: Previous films had established that Professor X is typically The Hammond on this scale, but during the Final Battle, he moves up two steps and briefly becomes The Superman. When Apocalypse gives Charles a Sadistic Choice—surrender, or Mystique and Quicksilver will die—Beast and Cyclops volunteer to rescue their teammates, but Xavier stops them because he would rather sacrifice himself than see anyone he cares about get hurt. This turns out to be an unacceptable option because Charles is the Earth's Barrier Maiden (and he obviously doesn't want to put billions of lives at risk), but he then challenges Apocalypse to a mind duel, which creates a much-needed distraction. Xavier gets pummeled on the mental plane, and he only asks Jean Grey — whom he loves like a daughter and is naturally protective of her — to intervene when he knows he's dying.
  • 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 strangles Beast with her psionic whip, she's sadistic towards her foes.
  • Sonic Stunner: Stryker's men use sonic devices to knock out almost everyone on Xavier's property unconscious.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • When Apocalypse hijacks Xavier's mind through Cerebro to disable all of the world's nuclear warheads, the music starts off playing Ludwig van Beethoven's 7th Symphony before shifting to regular action music when Havok and Beast try and stop him.
    • Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams" while Quicksilver saves (almost) everyone at the X-Mansion from a massive explosion. It's because he's listening to it on his walkman (presumably considerably slowed down).
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Scott and Alex Summers' mother is alive and well, and their father is not a grief-stricken space pirate.
  • Stacked Characters Poster: The poster shows the X-Men and the Horsemen of Apocalypse grouped in the center, with the main villain himself as an Evil Overlooker.
  • Staring Down Cthulhu: Immediately after Xavier accomplishes a Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu? by modifying the final sentence of Apocalypse's planet-wide New Era Speech, Charles brazenly glares at his captor, unflinching and undaunted by any punishment that may befall him. It proves that Professor X will oppose Apocalypse with every fiber of his being, no matter how futile it is.
  • Status Quo Is God: Since mutants were outed earlier in this timeline and the president was rescued by one, humans are getting used to the idea of them being around and relations between the two species are fairly positive. The mutant/human conflict tends to be a central part of the X-Men mythos, so Apocalypse nearly ending the world is suggested to have inspired a new round of fear of mutants, keeping that plot thread open for future use.
  • Stealth 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.
  • 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 X-23.
  • Stock Footage:
    • The teaser trailer reuses the aerial shot of Oxford University from X-Men: First Class.
    • An aerial view of the X-Mansion from X-Men: Days of Future Past is included in the second trailer.
    • In his commentary, Bryan Singer confesses that he had included edited footage from The Wolverine (namely the Nagasaki bombing) in Jean Grey's prophetic visions.
  • A Storm Is Coming: Xavier ominously announces that "A great storm approaches" in the SDCC trailer.
  • Story-Breaker Power: Kurt's energy level drains rapidly if he teleports too many people at the same time, and he's inert for part of the Final Battle. John Ottman divulges in the "Unlimited Powers: VFX, Stunts and Set Pieces" featurette on the Blu-Ray the reason for the limitation on the character's endurance.
    Ottman: This is why we knocked Nightcrawler out. Because for the whole third act, if he's around, he can just bamf people endlessly.
  • 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 - though how much of it is physical and how much is psychological is open to question. He transformed Angel and at least accelerated Storm's power growth, and he also does this to his prisoner Xavier. Psylocke's situation is ambuiguous. However, Xavier angrily tells him that all he's done to Erik is tap into his rage and pain, implying that Erik really is that powerful - and given how powerful Erik definitely is, it would make sense that Apocalypse wouldn't want to empower a potential rival.
  • 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).
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Jean Grey's irises turn fiery orange when she summons the Phoenix Force.
  • Superpower Lottery: Apocalypse is even more powerful than Shaw was, again ranking second only to "Phoenix" (who is a Cosmic Entity). Because he can transfer his consciousness to new host bodies and acquires the powers of every new host, he's amassed so many superpowers over thousands of years that many (including himself) believe him to be a god. His powers include Super Strength, mass telekinesis at the molecular level, a protective forcefield that can block almost any attack, teleporting around the world through a purple forcefield, self-healing powers (from his latest host), and amplifying the powers of other mutants or giving them new ones. His goal in the film is to acquire Charles Xavier's Psychic Powers by using him as a new host and Mind Control the entire planet at once.
  • Super Strength:
    • Beast tosses Psylocke over a tall building (with room to spare!) like it's no big deal. He also throws a car at her and Storm.
    • One of Apocalypse's original four horseman catches a massive stone block that is about to fall on his master.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: What song is Angel listening to when Apocalypse, Psylocke and Storm come to draft him? Metallica's "The Four Horsemen".
  • Sweet Tooth: Quicksilver is eating a Twinkie when he arrives at the X-Mansion, and during his rescue of Xavier's students, he takes a sip from a floating (from his Bullet Time perspective) soft drink before leaving the can in mid-air again. He also chews bubblegum.

    Tropes T to Z 
  • Take a Third Option: Apocalypse offers Professor X a Sadistic Choice: if Charles immediately surrenders (which would fulfill Apocalypse's plan for world domination), then the lives of the "weaklings" (Mystique and Quicksilver) will be spared, or if he continues to hide, then Apocalypse will murder both mutants, and it's only matter of time before Apocalypse finds out where Xavier is. Professor X decides to initiate a Battle in the Center of the Mind instead, which distracts Apocalypse, and thus Mystique's and Quicksilver's executions are delayed.
  • Take That!: When Jean, Scott, Kurt, and Jubilee come out of the theater after seeing Return of the Jedi, they all discuss how The Empire Strikes Back was the better film. Jean says "At least we can all agree that the third movie is always the worst." This is a jab at X-Men: The Last Stand, the third film in the X-Men franchise, which was rendered Canon Discontinuity thanks to the events of Days of Future Past. Unintentionally also overlaps with Take That Me, as this film is the third in the reboot series with the worst critic reviews (many of whom outright called out using that line), although audience opinion is more positive.
  • 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.
  • Team Mom:
    • As a man with an androgynous personality, Professor X is a father figure to his surrogate family who also has a prominent "motherly" side. Xavier had already exhibited strong nurturing tendencies in X-Men: First Class, and here, he calls his students "my darlings" when he sends them off to bed, and he even uses a Mary Poppins reference (the joke being that he behaves slightly like a "governess" around the younger children). He is very gentle and caring when he soothes Jean's fears about her death-filled "nightmare" and her telepathy. After Raven becomes his Number Two within the X-Men, Charles's "maternal" approach appears more pronounced because Mystique is the drill sergeant who molds the team into soldiers, and he's the one who takes charge of their academic education and their emotional well-being.
    • Ororo is the matriarch of her small band of street urchins. She steals to feed them, and they obey her when she shoos them off so that she can have a private conversation with Apocalypse.
  • Technicolor Magic: Apocalypse's consciousness and his teleportation sphere are a luminous purple.
  • Tempting Fate: After Cyclops, Jean and Nightcrawler free Wolverine from the Weapon X facility, Scott states that he hopes to never see Logan again.
  • Tears of Joy: Moira experiences this when Charles restores her memories of their romantic relationship in 1962.
  • Tender Tears: There's a lot of focus in this story on Xavier's sensitivity, and he's either close to tears, shedding a few of them, or openly weeping when someone he cares about is in pain.
  • 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.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Erik simply cannot escape his past as Magneto. Despite his best efforts, his family is killed because of said past and, afterwards, he surrenders himself to his pain and joins Apocalypse.
  • There Are No Global Consequences: The previous film took place during the Nixon administration. It's interesting to note that the "new" timeline in 1983 has Reagan as the U.S. President and a Germany that remains divided into West and East. Despite all of the events in 1973, the Cold War seems unaffected. Not even Apocalypse himself could change things: he launched all the world's nuclear weapons into space, but by the end of the film, the countries are rebuilding their arsenals.
  • Third-Person Person: Caliban always refers to himself by his own name.
  • This Means War Paint: Archangel has markings on his face when he makes the switch from "angel" to "archangel".
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: For the first time, Charles breaks his one inviolable rule when his own life, the lives of his team and billions of others are at stake. He's unable to take down Apocalypse on his lonesome, so he commands Jean to immolate his adversary with her Phoenix Force.
  • 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.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Magda and Nina.
  • Too Important to Walk: In the prologue, En Sabah Nur stands on an extravagant litter carried by 24 of his servants, and it's an indicator of his position as the god-king of Ancient Egypt.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Charles loses his hair due to a psychic trauma inflicted upon him by Apocalypse.
  • Trailers Always Lie: One trailer shows Apocalypse transforming into a giant, which is a power that he has in the comic books. This actually happens in a Battle in the Center of the Mind, and Apocalypse never actually changes his shape or size at all.
  • 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.
    • One TV spot in particular spoils a large part of the finale, including the final shot of the film (Sentinels in the Danger Room marching towards the camera), that Quicksilver is injured and taken captive by Apocalypse, that the mansion explodes, and that Jean activates her Phoenix form.
  • Trash the Set:
    • Havok accidentally destroys the Xavier Mansion midway through the film. Magneto and Jean Grey rebuild it at the end.
    • Scott destroys several structures with his yet uncontrollable Eye Beams.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Ororo is a skilled thief in Cairo before Apocalypse takes her under his wing.
  • Trying Not to Cry: Xavier holds back tears when he's around Alex ("It didn't really matter what was best for me") and Raven ("You sound just like him, you sound just like Erik").
  • Two-Faced: One of Apocalypse's original Horsemen had scarring covering the left half of her face and was apparently blind in one eye.
  • Tyrannicide: The Ancient Egyptians who are fed up with En Sabah Nur's blood-thirsty reign attempt to assassinate him, but his Four Horsemen sacrifice themselves to save his life.
  • Uncle Pennybags: Before the events of this movie, Charles wasn't interested in reinstating the X-Men, yet he still allocated a ton of cash to Hank so that the latter can create a new model of the Blackbird. There's no logical reason for Xavier to do this other than it being a very expensive way for him to assuage McCoy's worries that humanity might turn against mutantkind in the near future. Charles's attitude seems to be something along the lines of, "Hank, I think your fears are unfounded, but I'll let you build a war plane if it makes you feel better." Professor X is an extremely indulgent friend!
  • Understatement: Most definitely applies when Wolverine is involved. The "little help" was basically doing all the killing for them.
    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.
    • Apocalypse's original crew were all willing to defend their master until their last breath.
  • Ungrateful Bastard:
    • Magneto — while living under a new identity — uses his powers to save a fellow steelworker, so what happens next? Another steelworker informs the authorities who he really is, which leads to the death of his wife and daughter.
    • Everyone who was in the X-Mansion when it blew up also qualifies, considering that not a single one of them thanked Quicksilver for saving all of their lives.
  • Unkempt Beauty: The director sought to elicit this trope when Professor X is losing the Battle in the Center of the Mind against Apocalypse. Xavier's hair is in disarray, he's smeared with blood, and the worst thing one can say about his appearance is that he looks like a stained porcelain doll. The photogenic close-ups spell out to the audience that Charles is the "beauty" and "cutie" in Beauty Equals Goodness and Break the Cutie.
  • The Unmasqued World: As mutants were publicly exposed much earlier than in the original continuity, there is no longer any need to hide in the '80s. A blue-skinned Nightcrawler walks around with his tail visible with no trouble at all.
  • The Unsmile: Nightcrawler tries to smile for a fake passport photo. The results are ghastly.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Nobody bats an eye at Nightcrawler's blue-skinned, devil-like appearance when he comes out of the theater with Jean, Scott, and Jubilee, even though many other people clearly saw him when they walked by. Kurt makes no effort to hide his appearance in the first place. This shows that society was beginning to accept mutants.
  • 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 Agent MacTaggert's investigation inadvertently awakens him because his followers always cover up the entrance to his resting place, but she had left it exposed to sunlight, which reanimates him.
  • Urban Ruins: By the end of the film, Cairo is reduced to rubble thanks to Apocalypse's battle with the X-Men.
  • Vanity Is Feminine:
    • Vanity, thy name is Charles Xavier. Although his preoccupation with his looks is an aspect of his androgyny, unlike most other male examples, it's not presented as being demeaning to his character. Professor X's feminine side is his most valuable asset in the story, and because Beauty Equals Goodness applies in his case, taking pride in his attractiveness is an extension of him being thoroughly at ease and joyful with his inborn empathy.
    • Quicksilver checks his hair and teeth in the mirror of this commercial, and he's a Manchild. When Evan Peters was asked in this interview to describe his character in only three words, the actor replied, "Fast, cheeky, stylish," so preening is important to Peter.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left:
    • As Wolverine is let loose on the Alkali Lake facility, Stryker is shown to already be on his way out by helicopter.
    • After Apocalypse is defeated, Psylocke is seen scowling at the X-Men from a distance before walking away.
  • Villain Teleportation: It's one of Apocalypse's numerous mutant abilities to generate a purple sphere and warp from place to place. Unlike Nightcrawler and Azazel, it's not dependent on how far he can actually see, as he teleports all over the planet.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • We Need a Distraction: What do Jean, Scott and Kurt do to escape from Stryker's guards? Release a brainwashed Wolverine.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!:
    • Nightcrawler's irises were yellow in X2: X-Men United, but here, they are also rimmed with red.
    • Just before Professor X enters Apocalypse's mind, the camera zooms in on the former's right eye. It's so blue that it's practically glowing, and it's wracked with pain and fear because of the grisly abuse that Apocalypse has put him through, but Charles's iris also exudes his defiance, and he's determined to fight his adversary to the bitter end.
  • 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.
    • Michael Fassbender speaking Polish (which, admittedly, is rather hard) also leaves much to be desired. At best, he sounds like he has a severe speech impediment.
    • Literally every "Polish" person in the film is subject to this, since apparently Erik decided to settle in a town where most of its inhabitants speak with heavy and immediately recognizable American accents. Overlaps with "Blind Idiot" Translation. Much of the "Polish" spoken in the movie is very obviously translated word-by-word from English sentences, leading to phrases that for a native speaker would be just plain wrong (or at least phrased in an extremely unnatural way).
  • 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. By the end of the movie, he becomes The Idealist, i.e. he is no longer "wide-eyed," but he doesn't give up hope for peaceful coexistence between mutants and humans.
  • 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.
  • Wolverine Publicity:
    • Played straight with the third trailer, which revealed Wolverine's appearance in the movie, despite him only having an uncredited appearance with zero lines.
    • Also, Deadpool (2016) interrupts one of the Japanese trailers to promote his own movie. Justified, because if anyone can get away with this, it's Deadpool.
  • Would Hit a Girl:
    • Apocalypse chokes Mystique while lifting her off the ground.
    • Beast shows no hesitation when he must defend himself from Storm and Psylocke.
    • Cyclops attempts to target Storm with his Eye Beam, and she barely manages to get out of the way.
  • Wowing Cthulhu: En Sabah Nur has accumulated countless mutant abilities over the millennia, and Professor X's sole superpower is Telepathy, yet the former's face is filled with wonder when he first perceives the latter's gift while Charles is mentally communicating with Magneto. It speaks volumes that a near-invincible, practically immortal "god" can be wowed by Xavier's skill.
    Apocalypse: Extraordinary.
    Archangel: What do you see?
    Apocalypse: The answer.
  • 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 X-Jet Blackbird's main turbine has just been hit by Havok's blast and it causes a huge explosion, 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 demands to know 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.

"Whatever lessons you learned in school, whatever your parents taught you... you're not kids anymore. You're not students. You're X-Men."


Video Example(s):


Sweet Dreams

Quicksilver's bullet time returns in epic fashion, as he uses it to evacuate the entirety of the X-Mansion, to the tune of Sweet Dreams.

How well does it match the trope?

4.86 (35 votes)

Example of:

Main / BulletTime

Media sources: