A Review of X-Men: The Age of Apocalypse
Najia Almas (PhD Scholar) and
Dr. Nosheen Zaheer.
The Most Awaited Movie of the Year 2016 for the Fans of the X-Men franchise had been X-Men: The Age of Apocalypse. The previous two movies of X-Men (X-Men: The First Class & X-Men: Days of the Future Past) franchise introduced the younger selves of Charles Xavier and Eric known respectively as Professor and Magneto. These roles were played by James MacAvoy and Mechael Frassbender and both the previous episodes were celebrated and watched worldwide by the audience, even the by the ones who are not the fans of the X- Men.
X-Men: Days of the Future Past remains to be the most significant when it comes to the plot. The way it dealt with the connectivity of the scenes in present and the future and the past is outstandingly marvelous. Marvel Pictures has definitely done a marvelous advancement with the making of X-Men Days of the Future Past. This movie has no Parallel in terms of plot, story, making, Pre production and the post; so, this movie had greater audience even the ones whose cup of the tea is not science fiction.
Contrary to X-Men: Days of the Future Past, X-Men Apocalypse, is a wonderful production for the fans of X-Men, but it does not bear much of the elements to attract the audience outside the circle. There are several things neglected during the development of the plot and finalizing of the story.
The Flaws of the Plot:
- The biggest mistake of Apocalypse was to choose Eric for one of his four horse men team without knowing his true relation and connection with Charles Xavier and that he was a former E-Man himself. En Saba Nur just saw him in the news on TV in Egypt, noticed a glimpse of the power and the disaster Magneto could unleash upon mankind and decided to select him to complete his league of horsemen. He did not research anything else about Eric.
- And the biggest blunder En Saba Nur committed was to conduct all his actions against the world and rebuilding it in his very own image was a very hasty deed, just a moment after he emerged from his grave.
- He was over confident and self-centered. It seems unbelievable that a mutant who ruled as a god over the nations worldwide in different time periods and eras would be so purged off the intellect and understanding.
- Another flaw of the movie is that nobody knows till the end, what was the cult worshipping him and tried with their lives to bring him back to life from his grave. Neither do we know what were their intentions and plans behind brining En Saba Nur to life.
- CIA doesn’t appear to get engaged during the rest of the movie, just one of their agents Dr. Moira Kinross seem active in the beginning and later it was felt that she continued the mission as one of the X-Men, Not as CIA agent.
- New characters/actors were introduced but they did not fill in the gap created due to the absence of the Ian Mckellen (Old Eric/Magneto) and Patrick Stewart (Old professor Charles). In X-Men: Days of the Future Past, They both had very strong appearance though more static as compared to James McVoy (Young professor Charles) and Michael Fassbender (Young Eric/Maneto) though the later had their very own special kind of magical spell that binds the attention of the audience till the last. It doesn’t mean that James McVoy and Michael Fassbender are not that attractive ones on the basis of performance but they shine more when they have their older doubles. This time Ian and Patrick both did not have the performance in the movie due to the development of the plot and the requirement of the story but unfortunately the newer characters/actors including Oscar Isaac who had the first chance of acting the X-Men movie could not thrill the audience as Patrick and Ian only a silence appearance could do. This is not his first time Oscar Isaac played the god but in Ex-Machina he performed a role having a bit similar theme. He is no doubt a versatile actor and had many a good movies on his part and if he would have had a role of a regular mutant in the movie, he would have done quite well rather than playing the strongest villain of the X-Men series and of Marvell ever.
- in the last scene of the X-Men: The Days of the Future Past, Logan’s body was taken out of the ocean and he seems coming back to his conscious. The police men asked Striker what to do with Logan and he replied that he would take charge of Logan from that moment on wards. While Striker said this his eyes were shown turning yellow like the eyes of Raven (Mystique). It was supposed that he was rescued by Raven due to her mutant’s protecting ambition, as when the Logan fully came back from his unconsciousness to consciousness he was in Professor’s Xavier’s schools. So, it occurred in the minds of the viewer that he was dropped of there by Raven. In this sequel X-Men; The Age of Apocalypse, Logan was found in the scientific experimental facility of Striker and was freed by Jean in 1983, ten years after the events happened in 1973. The question remains unanswered how Logan was taken to that facility and during all these ten years several experiments kept on practiced on him as when Jean freed him, he was all metal from inside? Was that Striker who took him from the police boat or it was Raven who rescued him and later Logan was caught by Striker somewhere and sometimes else. Or, Striker himself developed some kind of mutant ability that was shown in his yellow eyes as he is yet the barrier of mutant jean. Again, when he had some mutant power why he did not use it when Jean and the company freed Logan in his facility and he had to run away saving his life?
Surprising Elements of the Movie:
There were many surprising events and turns in the movie that at moment left the audience stunned.
- The movie is full of surprising moves and twists specially with the character of Eric (Magneto). His character takes several turns in the movie and kept on changing. In the beginning of the movie he is shown having a family of a wife and a daughter in Poland where he is doing his hard to live a normal human life keeping his special powers a secret. Unfortunately his powers are revealed trying to save one of his co-workers at work from an accidental death. Unfortunately his coworkers reported it to the police and as he was already charged with the attack on white house is being arrested. The Polish policemen came to arrest him and during this activity his wife and his daughter killed accidentally. There was another surprise that stuns the audience that just like Peter (Quick Silver) his daughter also was the barrier of mutant jean and had some control over the animals/ birds. Just like her father (Eric) she could practice her control over the birds in her fear and rage. When she with her mother met their tragic death, Eric turned into Magneto once again and he had his revenge upon the policemen and later on his coworkers though the killing of the co-workers was done by En Saba Nur who came to collect him to complete his team of four horse men.
- Once again the writer provides Eric with pain by putting the female family members of his family. In X-Men: First Class his mother was given a cruel death and this time two people very close to his heart meets their end, his wife and daughter respectively.
- In the last episode of X-Men: Days of the Future Past, Raven emerged as the Mystique and her performance and strength of character was appreciated on large scale. This was the reason that in the trailers and teasers Jennifer Lawrence face was shown much. In the movie she acted but not in her true color and performance. The last scene where she attacked En Saba Nut in disguise of Psylocke appeared to be the exact duplicate of the Scene in X-Men: Days of the Future Past, when she tried to save American president from Magneto.
- Surprisingly when Raven comes to know that Eric has resurfaced and is some kind of danger, she decides to help him with the help of Charles and when she speaks of her intention to Hank he revealed all his jealousy for Eric vividly for the very first time on screen.
- The movie was set in the location of East and only a part in America. Lesser familiarity was observed in regards of location by the audience.
- Striker and Logan had a short time appearance in the movie unlike the previous sequel X-Men: Days of the Future Past, where Logan had the leading role during the whole movie and Striker too had to show up in intense situation with strong commanding appearance.
- When Eric resurfaced, his son Peter decided to go after him and to help him even though he was advised by his mother to fear Eric. Peter went to look for his father with the help of Charles who was taken by Eric’s hand on command of Apocalypse a moment ago Peter reached the school. In one of the last scenes of the movie when he met Eric and he had a chance to tell him that he was son to him, Peter did not. In the very last scene when Storm asked Peter whether he was going to tell Eric the reality of their relation, Peter kept it a secret for another time more appropriate. May be this was the best appropriate moment when Eric had the biggest loss of his family and was in pain, pain that made Charles to weep who could only reach his mind not his heart.
- By the end of the movie Raven is back to school and started taking a part in the physical training of the students to fight the sentinels if they ever encounter this machine in their lives, but Eric did not stay.
- Alex Summers death was quiet a blow which was replaces by his younger brother Scot in the movie though it doesn’t seem filling in the gape.
- Moira Kinross is back to X-men franchise once again and this time with more striking existence of her role as CIA agent and there was an exact contrary of a scene to X-men: First Class where by the end of the story Charles Xavier removed some of her memories about X-Men Charles and the school; whereas Charles in this one (X-Men Apocalypse) returns all her memories back and seems to continue his life with hers.
- It was for the very first time that mutants from the other regions of the world contacted and brought in the net of the story and later to the Xavier Scholl for gifted children.
- The most amazing element of the movie is the transformation of Magneto. In the X-Men: Days of the Future Past, he showed up the other side of his personality about which Charles spoke of in X-Men: The First Class. The good side, the human loving side of his inner self, was first revealed when he with Charles Xavier sent Logan to prevent Raven killing the inventor of Sentinels in X-Men: Days of the Future Past, Though his younger self did not know all of this in 1973. Once again in the end of X-Men: Days of the Future Past, Charles believed in Eric and let him and Raven get away and they both proved him right for not showing up for 10 years in any human hatred activity. Eric (Magneto) resurfaced when his wife and daughter were killed resulting in becoming him the center of the news and so he caught the eye of En Saba Nur who teleported to the place Eric was and took him with him. En Saba Nur modified his mind that was already blinded by rage. Moreover, En Saba guided him to the hidden treasure of his power and so Eric could move and control the metal inside the earth and soil. In the last scene where he was undoubtedly Saba’s right hand, deviated from him and helped the rest of the mutants X-Men to defeat En Saba Nur. The most stunning moment of the scene accrued when Saba advanced towards Charles and X-Men’s hiding place and right in front of the building’s door a long rod of iron suddenly appeared blocking the entrance, soon after that Eric pushed another rod that crosses the first one sticking in the ground and made the Sign “X” which signifies Charles Xavier’ “X-Men”. Eric always wanted to give humans a fight, a war and this was reason of the gulf between him and Charles. This time a very powerful prototype mutant En Saba Nur found him and wanted to destroy the whole humanity and the world to rebuild another in his own reflection, in reflection of mutant but Eric deviated from him and followed Charles’ foot step and saves him, X-Men and Humanity by putting En Saba Nur to death, even though Eric in his heart believed that doing so he was betraying mutants. This transformation occurred when his heart was filled with grief and his mind was full of rage for the killing of his innocent family. This was the most amazing thing that ever happened in developing the character of Magneto. This took this character to a sublime level and gave Magneto and extra ordinary strength which may not be reached by any of the other characters ever.
Massages in the Movie:
- There was a great message in the movie that unity is the best policy. In the end when Apocalypse believed that he has finished Charles and he can take control over him, En Saba was told by the Charles himself that being accompanied with many of friends, students, X-Men Charles cannot be defeated by the single Apocalypse and that he will meet defeat by being alone.
- The other message in the movie is that when you make friends, be careful and choose the loyal ones. If you choose your friends for the business they will have nosiness with you and their loyalties will be with their loved ones. In the beginning of the movie when the transmitting of En Saba Nur’s soul and conscious to the newer and younger body was shown, his horse men guarded him with their lives. Even if they could save their lives but they saved his body scarifying themselves. He chose wisely at that time but he failed in the modern time and it lead him to his death.
- In the eternal war between good and evil, finally good wins no matter what.
- It accrued for the very first time that mutants were fully accepted round the globe. It gives the message that there are many in the world who are different somehow from you, me and us and we should accept them the way they are. It is God who has designed us and some of us bear traits different, if we have faith in God and we trust Him, we must give space and acceptance to all He has created.
By the end of the movie a question is locked in my mind and is not satisfied with any of the justification that En Saba Nur who was the very first prototype mutant in the annals of history and greater one who could transmit his soul and the consciousness into another body when he wanted to. Yes! he was not in his transforming chamber and with all the spell and other apparatus required in the transformation but did he really die? And could he meet his end so very easily? Keeping the legacy of the X-men previous episodes, I feel that he can appear in another sequel as Jean Died once in X-Men 2 and appeared in the next sequel X-Men: The Last Stand more powerful than ever.