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  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • It's left open just how Apocalypse recruits his followers. When he grants them powers, particularly with Storm, the way the scene is shot implies there is some kind of brain washing involved. But when recruiting Erik, he instead calls back to his memories of Auschwitz. Word of God is that Apocalypse has the "power of persuasion" and that it was deliberately left vague. So he could be outright using mind control (at least to a certain extent) or simply be very good at influencing people like any cult leader. Or a combination of both.
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    • Storm gets a Heel Realization when Mystique tries to defend Quicksilver from Apocalypse, as well as seeing Apocalypse dismiss Angel when he's defeated. Psylocke is incapacitated during this and isn't seen until after Apocalypse is killed. Would she have helped them, too—either out of a Heel Realization or simple pragmatism (helping the winning side)?
    • When Charles lets both Erik and Psylocke go after Apocalypse is defeated, does he forgive them outright, or does he just assume they were all under Apocalypse's control?
    • On a lighter note, when Scott destroys an irreplaceable Xavier heirloom on the estate, did Charles really forgive him so easily for obliterating his grandfather's tree? Or did he just make the whole thing up to troll Scott?
    • Does Magneto know Quicksilver is his son at the end? Between his reaction in the last film, and the ambiguous statement Quicksilver made, either Magneto is very dense, or he doesn't feel like acknowledging it. Or he probably was still too distraught over losing his family in Poland to think rationally.
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  • Angel/Devil Shipping: Occurs in the form of the Dark Is Not Evil/Nice Guy Nightcrawler and Light Is Not Good/Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon Angel pairing.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • After there were complaints about Jennifer Lawrence claiming she wouldn't be wearing the blue make-up as much, the next couple of trailers featured clips of her in it. In the finished film, she appears in the blue form for about as much as she did in First Class at least.
    • The entire Weapon X sequence could be considered a "fuck you" towards X-Men Origins: Wolverine for messing with Wolverine's origin story and not portraying him as the experimented-on monster that was discussed, but never fully shown in the previous films.
    • This movie shows Erik rebuilding the X-Mansion, and presumably, he rebuilt Cerebro as well. This somewhat addresses the apparent continuity error between X2: X-Men United (where Magneto had claimed that he helped Charles build Cerebro) and X-Men: First Class (which revealed that Hank is the inventor of Cerebro) by suggesting that in the original timeline, Cerebro was destroyed, and since Lehnsherr and Xavier were friends during "20 years earlier" sequence in X-Men: The Last Stand, Erik had assisted in Cerebro's reconstruction.
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    • The first trilogy got a lot of flack for pretty much treating Scott as Jean's Romantic False Lead - and focusing on her attraction to Logan. Here more effort is put into developing Scott and Jean - covering their meeting, growing attraction and the emotional connection between them.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Mystique (or rather, Jennifer Lawrence's take on Mystique) has become this. While she's still a popular character all around, many felt before the film's release that she would become a Spotlight-Stealing Squad simply because of the star power of her actress — especially considering that this movie is about the formation of the modern X-Men, of which she is not a part in comic book canonnote . This sentiment only increased when several critics noted that her overall performance was phoned-in compared to her previous work. Those fears were largely disproved by the film's release, as she doesn't overshadow the other members of the cast. It's hard to determine whether this comes from Lawrence being overexposed or not.
    • Apocalypse himself has become one of the more divisive X-Men villains. Some liked him while others consider him to be a Flat Character with a Story-Breaker Power who doesn't hold up to the likes of Magneto, Stryker, Shaw, and Trask.
  • Broken Base:
    • The film's overall story. Some found that It's the Same, Now It Sucks! and it didn't do enough to distinguish itself from the previous entries. Others felt the complete opposite—enjoying the focus on the new characters like Scott and Jean, plus it's more comic book-y than the other team X-Men movies.
    • Charles and Moira. Some fans had a Strangled by the Red String reaction, finding it unrealistic that Charles would harbor a crush on her for twenty years. Likewise, the fact that he blocked her memories of him for most of it is creepy for some, to say nothing of the fact that he was using Cerebro to occasionally keep an eye on her. Others argue that Charles and Moira did connect a lot in X-Men: First Class and there was a clear attraction before Moira's memories were wiped—it was more of a case of old feelings reigniting, and Moira being "the one that got away" for Charles.
    • Fox released and subsequently took down an advertising Billboard wherein Apocalypse is choking Mystique. The ad gained lots of criticism with its use of a male character strangling a female character. Many critics such as actress Rose McGowan called the ad tone-deaf, and used problematic imagery of violence against women to sell a product. She notes that the ad gives no real context to the altercation and sells itself on a woman being victimized. This reaction was itself criticized by others such as Adam Buckley who argued that the ad does indeed provide context, i.e. a villain being villainous and kicking the dog, and that the gender of the characters is irrelevant to the display of the bad guy being a bad guy.
    • Psylocke's outfit choice remains pretty divisive, with many fans considering it an outdated and sexist throwback to the stripperific outfits that were commonplace for female superheroes until around the mid-late 2000s, but others being appreciative of the more accurate design or just being glad for an outfit that's different from the full-body jumpsuits that by and in large are now standard for superheroes of both sexes. For what it's worth, the plan was to give her a more modest outfit, but her actress Olivia Munn lobbied to have the leotard.
  • Complete Monster: En Sabah Nur, better known as Apocalypse, is the world's first mutant, and once ruled Egypt as a tyrannical god-king. Awakening in modern times, he decides the world needs him to rule it once again and sets about recruiting new "Horsemen" by manipulating lost and despairing mutants. One of the Horsemen is Magneto, consumed by grief with the deaths of his wife and daughter. Apocalypse starts by killing the factory workers at Magneto's workplace and introduces his plans for the world, an attempt at kidnapping Professor Xavier resulting in the death of the X-Man Havoc. Apocalypse reveals his intention to possess Xavier, taking his mental powers so he can go into the minds of anyone on earth whenever he wants. He then proceeds to forcibly reshape a whole city into a massive pyramid and has Magneto alter the magnetic poles of the earth, causing widespread death and destruction. When his attempt to possess Xavier fails the first time, Apocalypse attempts to draw him out of hiding by throttling his foster sister Mystique and using her life as leverage. Dismissing even his own Horsemen as useless, especially if they fail him, Apocalypse's grand plans for the world are a way of elevating himself back to godhood, and he intends for everyone he deems "weak", mutant and human alike, to perish in the flames that create his new utopia.
  • Contested Sequel: Many critics and fans debate whether or not it is a worthy successor to its predecessors, with some saying it's very good, some passable, while others a step backwards, with some even comparing it to the much maligned X-Men: The Last Stand.
  • Critical Dissonance: Downplayed. Although critical reviews have been mixed-to-negative, audience response has been more positive (although still more polarized than its predecessors). Rotten Tomatoes has it at 48% aggregated from critics, firmly in the "rotten" category. However, it scores a 68% from audiences and received an A- on Cinemascore.
  • Die for Our Ship: The hardcore Xavier and Magneto shippers were not pleased that Charles and Moira appear to become a couple at the end of the movie.
  • Ending Fatigue: The film's climax has been seen as this by some viewers. It's awesome to see characters like Cyclops, Storm and Magneto cut loose with their powers unlike in previous films, but after a certain point, it can become a bit numbing to watch.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Caliban only has two scenes, but Tómas Lemarquis' performance was so memorable that James Mangold had a discussion with Bryan Singer about including the character in Logan.note 
    • Psylocke doesn't have much screen time or dialogue, but Olivia Munn's memorably sexy costume, and the character's kickass use of powers in fight scenes make her one of the favourites in the movie—similar to Blink from X-Men: Days of Future Past.
    • The Horseman of Death only features in the opening scene, but in that short amount of screen time, she demonstrates an admirably fierce loyalty to Apocalypse. Even as she's falling through the pyramid to her demise, her main focus remains on ensuring Apocalypse is protected and survives.
    • Wolverine as Weapon-X, who is nothing more than a One-Scene Wonder, but one of the highlights of the film.
    • Compared to Xavier, Magneto, Hank, and Mystique, Scott and Jean only play a supporting role in the film. However, their genuine development, nuanced relationship, and the fact they're finally given time to shine outside of Wolverine's shadow made them a highly regarded aspect of the film.
  • Epileptic Trees: After the film's middling critical reception, the movie got swept up in the goofy conspiracy theory that critics are getting paid off en masse to trash any comic book movie not from Marvel Studios (although this one is even weirder given how Deadpool (2016) was a critical darling). This even goes so far that it launched an online petition.
  • Estrogen Brigade: If you look at the main cast listing, just about every male actor is a stud muffin.note  More so than any previous X-Men film, the men of Apocalypse cause the ladies to swoon en masse.
  • Fanon: Some like to Hand Wave the fact that none of the characters—Charles, Erik, Hank, Alex—have aged twenty years since First Class by mutants aging slower than humans. Unfortunately, that doesn't explain Moira's explicit lack of aging. Unless she just happens to have really good genes.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: As the first film in the franchise to devote actual time and attention to Scott and Jean's romance, they now have a little more traction in the fandom. Jean acts as Scott's emotional support after his brother dies, and the movie emphasizes a friendship and emotional connection first rather than making it a Romantic Plot Tumour. A huge improvement from Scott's previous portrayal.
  • Foe Yay:
    • 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)
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The sequence where Quicksilver saves everyone from the exploding mansion is done in an awesome and hilarious fashion. It's not so fun on the second viewing with the knowledge that Havok was closest to the blast and thus couldn't be saved.
  • Genius Bonus: The film's tagline, "All will be revealed." Another name for a revelation is an Apocalypse.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • This film's central theme is families coming together, and it's ironic that James McAvoy, who plays a character who is a father figure to a surrogate family, announced on May 13, 2016 while he was still promoting X-Men: Apocalypse that he and his wife of 9 years were getting a divorce; their son was 5 years old at the time.note  The actor chose a really bad time to make this news public; throughout his marriage, McAvoy was reputed to be a devoted family man, so his subsequent interviews for the movie become extremely awkward to read/listen to when he has to discuss its familial aspects.
    • In The Rogue Cut, Ms. Maximoff is seen consuming alcohol while watching TV in the middle of the day; a decade later, she's holding a drink during daytime while talking to her son Peter. It's bad enough that Quicksilver grew up without a father; living with an alcoholic mother definitely can't be easy. One of the reasons why Ms. Maximoff is drowning her sorrows is because she's bitter at Erik for abandoning her before Peter's birth, which would've been in the mid-1950s, when unmarried women with children were treated like social pariahs.
    • After leaving the theater showing Return of the Jedi, Jean notes that "At least we can all agree that the third movie is always the worst". While this is meant to be a humorous knock on X-Men: The Last Stand (the third film in the original X-Men trilogy), it unintentionally applies to this movie as well, as Apocalypse is widely considered to be the weakest of the First Class trilogy (of which it is the third installment), as well as the performance of Sophie Turner (the third actress to play Jean Grey) being considered inferior to that of Famke Janssen. It's even worse because Return of the Jedi is still rated critically higher than most "third" movies, including Apocalypse. In the end, this Take That! comes across even more petty than intended.
    • Related to the above, not only was Apocalypse the lowest-rated of the rebooted movies, but Dark Phoenix ended up scoring even lower. In this case, the third movie didn't end up being the worst.
    • When Charles comforts Jean after she has had visions of a nightmarish future, Jean drops this line about her fiery Phoenix powers: "I'm afraid one day I am going to hurt someone.". In the next film, Dark Phoenix, Jean's fears are realised when she accidentally uses her unstable powers to shove back Mystique and impale her, killing her off.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight:
    • In X-Men: First Class, Raven angrily tells her brother, "You know, Charles, I used to think it was gonna be you and me against the world. But no matter how bad the world gets, you don't wanna be against it, do you? You want to be a part of it." By the end of this film, they are both members of the X-Men, and they're facing the world's threats together. Foster siblings for the win!
    • McCoy asks Charles near the end of X-Men: Days of Future Past, "Are you sure you should've let them [Magneto and Mystique] go?", and Xavier's reply is, "I have hope for them. There's going to be a time, Hank, when we're all together." He's half-right, because Raven does come home to him a decade later as his team's Number Two. Although Erik doesn't stay after he helps Jean to rebuild the school, he and Charles do reconcile, and Lehnsherr's farewell hints that he'll return to visit some day.
    • The farewell scene between Xavier and Peter in X-Men: Days of Future Past turned out to be an important piece of Foreshadowing because Quicksilver becomes Professor X's protégé after the Final Battle of this movie. In 1973, it was Charles (and not Erik, who was the subject of the prison break) who had thanked Maximoff for his help, gave the teen a task which required some responsibility (i.e. returning the rental car), and offered him a paternal-sounding "Take it slow" as a goodbye, which made Peter grin. That small gesture ended up carrying a lot of meaning because Quicksilver chooses Xavier as his Parental Substitute over his own father a decade later.
    • Another one from X-Men: Days of Future Past; Wolverine, who has the memory of the original timeline, urges Charles to find and gather mutants to train them to be the future X-Men, specifically Storm, Scott and Jean Grey. Come this movie, Scott and Jean are found and trained by Charles, and both of them play a part in freeing Wolverine of the new timeline from Stryker's Alkali Lake base. Jean even gives him parts of his lost memories and remind him of his humanity. And after Apocalypse shows his true colors regarding his subjects' well-being as a result of the X-Men's intervention, Storm herself pulls a Heel–Face Turn in the climax to help the X-Men defeat Apocalypse, averting total global destruction.
    • The older Professor X reassures his younger self that empathy is "...the greatest gift we have: to bear their pain without breaking." That must have sounded like a bold statement to his 1973 self because at the time, he regarded his psychic nature as a grave weakness, but his elderly self is proven right in Apocalypse. Xavier shoulders the burden of Jean Grey's distress over her telepathy, and this forges a strong father-daughter-like connection between them. Through The Power of Love, he helps her to conquer her fears during the climax, and she is able to use the Phoenix Force to save his life and the world.
  • He's Just Hiding!: Some fans are clinging to hope that Havok might still be alive on account of the rest of the cast not seeing a body. This despite the fact that he was completely immolated when the mansion exploded with absolutely no known way of survival whatsoever. By the time Quicksilver arrived, he'd already been consumed by the flames.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Has its own page.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient:
    • In virtually every fan reaction video to the teaser trailer, the person would exclaim, "WHOA!" (or at least had a very shocked expression on his/her face) when Apocalypse sizeshifts and when Xavier's eyes become pitch black.
    • Psylocke slicing a car in half in mid-air with her psionic blade while performing a flip was the money shot for the Superbowl TV spot.
    • For the second trailer, the widest bug-eyes, jaw-drops and/or loudest exclamations in fan reaction videos occurred during the moments when Apocalypse causes all of Erik's co-workers to suddenly drop dead, a giant-sized Apocalypse slamming Charles into wall, and Psylocke attacking Beast.
    • From the final trailer: Storm's lightning vs. Cyclops' optic blast, Beast throwing Psylocke over a tall building, and Wolverine unsheathing his adamantium claws.
    • Nightcrawler teleporting over half a dozen people from a crashing plane—this particular demonstration of his ability is even greater than what Azazel did near the end of X-Men: First Class.
    • Magneto, empowered by Apocalypse, takes his powers to their logical extreme, taking control of Earth's entire magnetic field or all of its surface metals, to cause worldwide destruction.
    • Jean unleashing the Phoenix Force. Even Apocalypse can only marvel at it.
  • Ho Yay:
    • What is it that snaps Magneto out of Apocalypse's brainwashing? The cherished memories of his close friendship with Charles.
    • After discussing the love story which exists between Xavier and Magneto on the 2015 SDCC edition of Conan, James McAvoy thinks it's great that same-sex marriage is legal in America because Charles and Erik can get hitched. Michael Fassbender then suggests that their characters can tie the knot in Ireland (which also legalized same-sex marriage in the same year).
    • Both actors add fuel to the fire with this exchange from the Gag Reel.
      Erik: I love your body.
      Charles: I love my body, too. Every Tuesday night. And I think of you.
    • Although Bryan Singer later clarifies in this interviewnote  that Charles and Erik are friends, he nevertheless entertains the idea that they're almost married.
      Interviewer: How do you describe this relationship between Charles and Erik? It's like, "We fight, and we break up. We fight alongside each other, and then we make up."
      Singer: It's called a marriage. That's the best way I can describe it! (laughs)
    • Tumblr has observed that Carolina Bartczak, the actress who plays Madga, Erik's wife, looks like a female version of James McAvoy. While it's probably just a coincidence in terms of casting, you'd think that if the producers had wanted to discourage the Cherik shippers, they would've picked an actress who bore no resemblance to McAvoy whatsoever. Bartczak even directly compares Magda with Xavier, and if you take into account the Homoerotic Subtext of X-Men: First Class,note  plus the scenes of Xavier learning everything about Lehnsherr on the first night they meet and later being able to detect serenity and goodness within him, they add further credence that her character is essentially a Gender Flip of Charles. Erik is therefore in love with a woman who (subconsciously, at least) reminds him of Charles.
      Carolina Bartczak: She meets Erik after he has become this globally wanted criminal, and even on their first night, he tells her who he is. She sees something beautiful in him, something peaceful, something like Charles also sees in him, that he can be a good man and live a normal life. They actually fall in love and start a family.
    • One critic on Rotten Tomatoes titled her review as Professor X and Magneto Should Finally Admit Their Toxic Relationship Is Really Lust and Get on With It. She also wrote:
      "Moira has the least to do. Why is she here? Moira doesn't have a costume and is just around to prove Professor X is not gay even if everyone else knows he is in love with Magneto."
    • James McAvoy (who has now firmly cemented his reputation as the ultimate slash whore of the First Class trilogy) told F*** magazine that Professor X and Beast are practically married because they're so domestic.
      "We're like an odd couple rattling around in this mansion, supporting each other. I'd quite like to see a film like The Odd Couple just about Hank and Charles, to be honest with you, bitching about who makes the sandwiches for the kids and who washes all the dirty underwear. There's an implication that we've come to rely on each other a great deal in the last decade."
    • In the Gag Reel, Nicholas Hoult grabs Evan Peters into his arms and pretends to kiss him on the mouth—the Beast/Quicksilver pairing has been validated by the two actors.
  • Idiot Plot: Apocalypse is depicted as a Physical God with Combo Platter Powers who is more than a match for most characters in the movie and has enough power to easily destroy cities by himself, not to mention he can teleport himself and others to any place on the planet at will. In other words, he could easily have succeeded in his Evil Plan if he had simply moved faster, and the film requires that he cling to the Villain Ball for dear life at times in order for the heroes to defeat him. Stand out moments include taking the time to use Xavier's telepathy to deliver an Evil Speech Of Evil to the entire human race, when he plans on pulling a Grand Theft Me on Xavier later on anyway, giving Xavier the opportunity to inform Jean of their whereabouts. In addition, since he can teleport vast distances and other characters can't, he has a lead of several hours on the X-Men as he is often on an entirely different continent, so he had time to carry out his scheme. Given that he thinks of himself as a god, no doubt pride, arrogance and a fondness for theatrics had a hand in drawing things out.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: The biggest criticism against the film is that it doesn't do much new with the franchise, particularly for re-treading over the themes established in previous movies or looking at themes that have already been explored in other superhero movies without doing anything new with said themes.
  • It Was His Sled: Magneto is the father of Quicksilver. This reveal isn't surprising anyone. It has been comic book canon for decades, and it has been one of the points of the dispute between Marvel and Fox for the character. As a result, they did not make any special dramatic reveal about this in a "Luke, I Am Your Father" style, but just drop it as a secondary and unimportant piece of information. It was even given away in the trailers.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Angel is being forced to fight other mutants in the cages to survive. Once Nightcrawler beats him and busts his wings, it's implied that he's left homeless. He's also the only one of the Horsemen to be killed off, and then dismissed as useless by Apocalypse.
  • Just Here for Godzilla:
    • Some casual moviegoers had absolutely no interest in this film until they saw Wolverine's adamantium claws in the final trailer. Then they got really excited.
    • Others were excited to see Psylocke and Jubilee get more of a role than they did in the original trilogy. For the former, it paid off. For the latter, too bad...
  • Memetic Molester: Apocalypse likes getting into people's personal space (and into their heads), literally wants Charles' body, manipulates a teenage girl to serve him, and puts Psylocke in her famous Ms. Fanservice leotard. A scene of him constructing Angel's armour involves Apocalpse gently caressing his chest and face.
  • Memetic Mutation: Apocalypse's learning of more than 5000 years of Earth's history by touching a television for a few minutes is pretty much comparable to how Ultron decided to destroy humanity after exploring Internet for a few minutes.
  • More Popular Replacement:
    • Psylocke had previously been an In Name Only character in X-Men: The Last Stand. Olivia Munn's take on her has been much better received.
    • Tye Sheridan's portrayal of Cyclops is seen as a huge improvement over his treatment in the first trilogy (not that James Marsden was bad; he just wasn't given much to work with).
  • Narm: Enough to have its own page.
  • Narm Charm:
    • Fashion in The ’80s can be fairly ridiculous and over-the-top, but the X-Men in their civilian clothing met with the fandom's approval for the most part. The costume designer and hairstylists succeeded in striking a balance between authenticity and ensuring that the kitschy look suited the actors.
    • Charles' line to Alex (a.k.a. Havok) when commanding him to destroy Cerebro is "Wreak Havoc," which is undoubtedly cheesy, but the tension of the moment and James McAvoy's intense delivery make it work well.
    • Quicksilver's Dull Surprise-looking and a seeming-Special Effects Failure (see below) before he evacuates everyone from Xavier School building may look narmy, but it does precede his awesome Big Damn Heroes Outrun the Fireball moment.
    • Magneto forming a giant "X" with metal bars in front of Apocalypse during the final battle. Is it over-the-top and theatrical? Probably. Does it look cool? Definitely.
    • The dead scene of Magneto's wife and daughter may be narmy to some regarding the languaging or the arrow part as mentioned above, however there are people who will forgive that easily for how well the scene was executed on a dramatic level with Michael Fassbender pulling off a great performance.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • The teaser trailer got a bit of criticism from some religious fans who don't like the references to Apocalypse being tied to their specific religion (such as Hinduism or Judaism, for example). Some want any mention of his religious ties to be severed, unaware that Apocalypse being connected to many religions is part of his backstory in the comic books, albeit more obscure ones than the film is tying him to.
    • Before Quicksilver evacuated the students of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters away from an explosion, one by one, The Flash did something similar in JLA #89, evacuating North Koreans away from a nuclear explosion one by one.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Wolverine, who gets unleashed upon the Alkali Lake staff and is given some comfort by Jean Grey before going his own way.
    • The original Horsemen from ancient Egypt, including the female telekinetic one who performs a Heroic Sacrifice in order to save En Sabah Nur.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: Brian Singer's multiple sexual assault allegations have also had a harmful effect on the film's reputation, particularly as a year afterwards the #MeToo movement kicked off and a further string of accusations against him arose. As the last film he directed in the franchise, this one tends to be the one most likely to have this brought up, especially given the sexual assault imagery presented between Xavier and Apocalypse.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name:
    • "Charpocalypse" for Charles/Apocalypse, although it should be noted that the shippers are more likely to use the Mr. Fanservice Oscar Isaac-looking version of En Sabah Nur for their fanfics than his creepy blue form.
    • "Nightangel" for Nightcrawler/Angel.
    • "Nightsilver" for Nightcrawler/Quicksilver.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: This movie redeemed Scott and Jean in the eyes of fans who didn't like how they were portrayed in the original trilogy. Rather than being seen as shallow, Scott has a nice arc showing him adjusting both to his powers and his brother's death. Jean, meanwhile, is no longer there as Wolverine's Token Romance, and great emphasis is placed on the bond between her and Charles. Likewise, the romance between her and Cyclops is only hinted at; instead of Strangled by the Red String, it's shown as more of a mutual crush based on an emotional connection.
  • Sequelitis: This movie is seen by some critics as a step back from the franchise due to not showing anything new or exciting compared to other comic book movies. A few are even comparing it to X-Men: The Last Stand with the latter being seen more favorably.
  • Signature Scene:
    • First of all, the opening scene. The ancient Four Horsemen ensures Apocalypse's survival by killing the rebels in Egypt and sacrificing themselves in the process.
    • Quicksilver's rescue of Xavier's students in Bullet Time as the mansion is exploding.
    • Apocalypse's hijacking of Cerebro and forcing Charles to mind-control all the nuclear missile operators across the globe, which results in every nuclear weapon on the planet being launched into outer space simultaneously.
    • Magneto being arrested in the woods and his family subsequently dying is the emotional highlight of the film.
    • Jean Grey releasing the full force of the Phoenix in all of its glory in a heroic manner.
  • Signature Sound Effect: While Quicksilver is playing Ms. Pac-Man it's accurate, but as he turns away to look at his mother, the character (Ms. Pac Man) dies off screen...with the death sound effect from the original Pac-Man. Is a case of The Coconut Effect, as the death sound from the latter game is more noticeable and iconic than the one from the former.
  • So Okay, It's Average: The general consensus is that it's a decent action movie, but not great, and it's a step backwards compared to Deadpool (2016) or Bryan Singer's previous X-Men movies. Its average Rotten Tomatoes score sits at 5.6/10 with 49% approval, while its financial reception had it grossing a little over three times its budget- not great, but moderately profitable and enough to greenlight a sequel.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • During the rescue scene Quicksilver running looks like Evan Peters is just sitting in front of a fan and backed by pretty unconvincing greenscreen.
    • A wide shot of a destroyed shipyard late in the film is not so much a failure as unfinished, lacking proper textures and lighting.
    • A few of the sets are somewhat fake looking such as the rocks Apocalypse, Xavier and the Horsemen stood on when Apocalypse sends his message.
    • This shot of Psylocke running across a building invokes Conspicuous CGI due to how unfinished it looks.
    • Despite being shocked enough to unintentionally revert back to her blue form after the mansion explodes, Mystique's eyes lack their signature yellow color.
  • Spiritual Successor:
    • The film is rather well-liked by those that got into the X-Men franchise through X-Men: Evolution, due to how similar their take on the X-Men is (focusing on a younger team that's still getting the hang of their powers, and featuring Scott, Jean, and Kurt among the main students).
  • Tainted by the Preview: Apocalypse's costume has gotten a lot of flak from fans, with his smaller stature and purple appearance drawing unfavorable comparisons to cheesy Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie villain Ivan Ooze. Bryan Singer defended the costume, and early images were apparently the result of lack of digital correction.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: In the grand tradition of the X-Men films having more characters than time to properly develop all of them, this film gives us:
    • Psylocke, who was only added in the final draft of the script and barely had any lines in comparison to the other Horsemen. She does at least make up for it with some kickass uses of powers in the final battle.
    • Angel is potentially worst of all since he is given little backstory or character in the film, serving as a simple minion. Unlike Storm, he never switches sides, he gets unceremoniously killed without getting much characterization. But it should be noted that his "death" is a reference to the comics where he also seemly dies in plane crash right before becoming a Horsemen. And Singer has said he may or may not be dead.
    • Jubilee is an Advertised Extra who looks like she's going to be part of the main plot, but gets inexplicably left behind at the mansion. But even in the deleted scenes, she only uses her powers once.
    • Some were also upset with Havok being killed off before having a chance to use his full powers in combat.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Many reviewers noted that despite taking place in the 1980s, roughly 10 years from Day of Future Past 1970s segments, Quicksilver doesn't really change in any meaningful way and is still basically a rehash from his previous appearance unlike the rest of the returning cast. This is especially glaring given that in this movie, he is the surviving son of Magneto and would have been a more emotional reason for Erik to betray Apocalypse. Of course, just as many fans love that Quicksilver is still his same, hilarious self.
    • The film does nothing to capitalise on the ending of the previous film where Wolverine is recovered not by Stryker, but by Mystique posing as him. Wolverine still shows up in Stryker's facility without explanation, and Mystique never brings up the encounter; the possibility that they might have shared history, and whatever else might follow, is quickly and quietly forgotten.
    • The villain of the film is explicitly looking for powerful mutants to steal their bodies, while at the same time, a subplot of the film involves a mutant learning to control her insanely powerful abilities. These two points seemed tailor made to interact with each other and create an interesting conflict where En Sabah Nur would try to get his hands on Jean to hijack her godlike powers. However, this never happens: Apocalypse is instead interested in Xavier, and Jean is relegated to tag along with the main heroes until a Big Damn Heroes moment at the end of the final battle.
  • Tough Act to Follow:
    • As a sequel to the beloved X-Men: Days of Future Past, Apocalypse had a lot to live up to, but the surprise success of the irreverent, unique and raunchy Deadpool (2016) made its case even more difficult. Critical reception for Apocalypse ended up less positive than both of the aforementioned movies, and actually has a lower rating on Rotten Tomatoes than X-Men: The Last Stand does, although it's still higher than X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
    • It came out at the same time as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was concluding its third season. The story arc there was centered around Hive, who, in their interpretation, was basically an Apocalypse Expy. It had much the same goals and methods as the one in the movie.
    • The film was also released only a couple of weeks after Captain America: Civil War — which was almost universally praised by fans and critics. Some felt that this simply could not live up to the standards set by Civil War — especially given that the latter also features Loads and Loads of Characters and manages to handle them a little better than how the portrayals were received in this.
  • Trapped by Mountain Lions: The subplot involving William Stryker and Wolverine basically interrupts the world-ending threat the movie is building toward. It contributes nothing other than "hey, we have a war plane now," except that Hank had already built one earlier although it was destroyed when the school's reactor exploded.
  • Ugly Cute: Nightcrawler looks like a blue demon, but he's also adorable.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Early billboard advertisements for the movie came under fire due to the depiction of Apocalypse strangling Mystique alongside the tagline "only the strong will survive," with many accusing it of misogyny. Fox quickly took note of this and apologized, but the move brought its own debate when people saw it as an overreaction to a tergiversed complaint.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Most fans had already considered X-Men: Days of Future Past to be pushing the boundaries of what can be shown in a PG-13 film, but Apocalypse takes it a step further because the violence is Bloodier and Gorier, plus there's a very disturbing Mind Rape scene which serves as a metaphor for sexual assault. It's better to leave the young children at home for this one.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?:
    • Oscar Isaac as the title villain was viewed as this due to his very average size and build. Some fans were Expecting Someone Taller and more foreboding in appearance. The degree of confusion may have also spurred from rumors that Idris Elba would be taking the role shortly before Isaac was confirmed to have the part, as Elba stands half a foot taller.
    • Alexandra Shipp got some of the same criticisms as Halle Berry back when she was cast as Storm - namely that she wasn't dark-skinned enough (both actresses are half-white). These criticisms mostly went away upon the film's release, many being satisfied with her performance.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?: This is a mixed bag.
    • Apocalypse has been the subject of much snickering (such as frequent comparisons to Ivan Ooze). People were a little more positive to scenes where Apocalypse has Monochromatic Eyes.
    • There is a split of opinion on Psylocke. While some were thrilled that her look was taken straight from the comic books, her attire is very much built on the classic Jim Lee design, and the blatant sexuality of the costume has long been a matter of contention. Not at all helped by the fact that the other three Horsemen all received new costumes that were heavily armored.
    • The response to the X-Men suits have mostly ranged from neutral to "All black again??!" The film reveals that they're flight/combat suits stolen from the Weapon X facility, however.
    • The more comic-accurate set of X-Men uniforms that are seen at the end. While most sees them as a welcome improvement, some think they're quite a bit weaker than the ones seen in Deadpool (a movie made on a much smaller budget).
    • Storm's punk-influenced style — which is closer to the comics than what we've seen of her character in the movie-verse so far — has been very well received. There was also a lot of praise for Magneto's armour, whose outfits in previous films tended to be underwhelming or downright silly, and there's a joke within the fandom that Erik should let others (Apocalypse, in this case) design his uniform. Archangel's costume got a thumbs-up, too. Nightcrawler's Thriller jacket also received unanimous approval — probably because it's very similar to his comic book costume.
    • Specifically for members of the make-up department, there was frequent grumbling about them not putting in any effort whatsoever to age the actors from X-Men: First Classnote  so that they appear 21 years older. There is only a 5-year gap in Real Life in between the release of First Class and Apocalypse, so James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne and Lucas Till look noticeably younger than the approximately 50 or 40-year-olds that they're supposed to be playing. This is even lampshaded by Xavier, who notes that Moira hasn't aged a day in the last 20 years...
      • Speaking of Professor X, how is it that he appears more boyish at age 50 than at age 40? By 1973, he had been a heavy drinker and a substance abuser for a decade, so that should have had a very negative effect on his complexion.
  • The Woobie:
    • Erik loses his family again. In addition to his traumas from The Holocaust, that's enough agony for two lifetimes.
    • Charles (who has already endured a lot of pain in the past) continues to suffer a great deal at the hands of Apocalypse.
    • Nightcrawler is described as "afraid of his own shadow." He's also introduced being forced from a circus to cage fighting.
    • Scott is ostracized by the outside world after his powers manifest themselves, and later on, he returns from playing hooky to find out that his brother had just been killed.
    • Jean is terrified of her powers and can barely control them, she suffers from nightmares about the future every night, and the other students are afraid of her, so she has no friends until Scott shows up.

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