Although it’s entertaining, X-Men: Apocalypse is not a film that holds up well to close scrutiny. Pretty much everything in Bryan Singer’s disappointing fourth outing in the X-Universe falls apart if you think about it for too long, but to be fair, this is true of most blockbuster movies, particularly when it comes to the superhero genre (both Civil War and Batman v Superman have more than their fair share of logical inconsistencies). Still, X-Men: Apocalypse leaves many unanswered questions when it comes to plot and general logical inconsistencies, with the following 10 being the most egregious by far.
10. How Did Stryker Get His Hands On Wolverine?
At the end of the previous film, X-Men: Days of Future Past, we see Wolverine’s old adversary William Stryker pull the feral mutant out of the water, only for it to be revealed that Stryker is actually Mystique in disguise. The implication is that Wolverine will be okay since his fellow mutant is deliberately saving him, yet in X-Men: Apocalypse, we discover that Logan has in fact been imprisoned by the real Stryker for some time. So, did Bryan Singer and screenwriter Simon Kinberg just forget what happened in the last movie? It’s never made clear how Stryker ends up getting a hold of Wolverine, and the whole Weapon X subplot(which already feels needlessly shoehorned into the movie) feels even more like a waste of time as a result. Then again, I’m probably asking far too much for any kind of continuity consistency with this series, since Days of Future Past made it clear that this is something neither Singer or Kinberg are much concerned with.
9. Why Do Electrical Fields Suddenly Block All Mutant Powers?
Another issue with the needless Stryker subplot is that it introduces a new concept that is never really explained. The electrical fields that Stryker uses to block all mutant abilities is pretty much a magic MacGuffin designed to create artificial tension. This is the first time we’ve seen this technology in action (Stryker had an electrical field cell in X-Men 2, but it didn’t block mutant abilities) and while it’s a good way to keep the various powers of the X-Men in check, it feels like a poorly-conceived plot device that does little other than slow the film down in its middle act. Even worse, the film doesn’t even bother to maintain logical consistency, as Professor X is able to access the trapped mutants’ minds, which means that Nightcrawler should have just been able to teleport inside (although he wouldn’t have been able to get out …). This whole thing could have easily been explained away with a bit of dialogue about how the electrical field blocks powers.
8. Why Is This Movie Even Set In The 80s?
If you discount a few period references (including an audacious Return of the Jedi “joke” completely lacking in self-awareness), there is absolutely no reason for this film to be set in the 1980s. Set in 1983, Apocalypse takes place a full ten years after the events of Days of Future Past and it feels like absolutely nothing has happened in the intervening years. Charles Xavier’s school is up and running, but he feels stagnant otherwise, as the defining moment in his life is apparently his brief romance with Moira MacTaggert from twenty years prior. Heck, Quicksilver is somehow still living in his mom’s basement, a point that is played for laughs, but really just underscores how needless it was to make such a significant time jump.
Reportedly, the next film in the series will be set in the 90s, which means we’ll get some token Nirvana references and a whole lot of flannel shirts, but no actual good reasons for setting it in that era other than that this franchise is seemingly incapable of staying in one time period for more than one movie; an issue that is compounded even more by the fact that the characters themselves don’t seem to be keeping with the times …
7. Why Don’t The Characters Age?
Despite the fact that there’s a two decade jump between First Class and Apocalypse, you would be hard-pressed to tell judging by the way characters look like they all drink from a fountain of youth. Some mutants such as Mystique are omitted from this problem because looking young is part of their mutant abilities, but the rest of the characters don’t really have an excuse. If we assume that Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr were in their mid-to-late twenties in X-Men: First Class (and that’s being generous considering both James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender were in their early thirties at the time), that means both characters are at least in their mid-forties in Apocalypse, but neither one of them seems to have aged very much in the last few decades.
Things become even more ridiculous when you look at Lucas Till’s Alex Summers, who was college age in First Class and still looks pretty much the same here. It also feels like Scott should be Alex’s son rather than brother, as the two are over twenty years apart in age, yet Scott looks only a few years younger than Alex. All I know is these characters need to be sporting wrinkles and grey hair in the next film if it is indeed set in the 90s because this is getting absurd.
6. Why Didn’t Quicksilver Tell Magneto He’s His Son?
Unsurprisingly, given his standout role in Days of Future Past, Evan Peters’ Quicksilver is one of the saving graces of X-Men: Apocalypse and not just because he gets another awesome super speed sequence. Quicksilver is actually given more of an arc this time out, as he joins the X-Men in their fight against Apocalypse because of his unresolved daddy issues with Magneto. Unfortunately, those issues are still unresolved at the end of the film, as Quicksilver inexplicably decides not to tell Magneto that he is his son. This wouldn’t be such an issue if the film didn’t spend time setting up a moment for Quicksilver to tell Magneto when the former is injured by Apocalypse. Instead Mystique steps in and only when her life is threatened does Magneto finally step in. This feels like the wrong emotional beat to follow when you take into account that Quicksilver’s entire arc in this film is based around his father. Hey, maybe father and son will finally get to know each other in the next film when audiences are long past the point where they give a damn!
5. Why Would They Do This To Oscar Isaac?
At this point, you won’t find many big name actors who aren’t involved in a comic book movie franchise, so it’s hard to fault Oscar Isaac for deciding to sign onto X-Men: Apocalypse; it just would have been nice if someone could have warned him about what he was getting into. Isaac is arguably one of the best actors of his generation, but you sure wouldn’t know it from his surprisingly terrible performance here. That being said, it’s unfair to lay the blame squarely on Isaac, as Apocalypse is a conceptual failure on practically every level. Every bit of dialogue he spouts is cringe-inducing and the character design is laughably bad, as Isaac is forced to ham it up under far too many layers of make-up. Oscar Isaac is almost unrecognizable in the role which, to be fair, is probably for the best since it makes it easier to forget that such a talented actor is giving such a bad performance.
4. Why Does Apocalypse’s Plan Make No Sense?
As the world’s first and most powerful mutant, it’s understandable that Apocalypse (En Sabah Nur) would have a massive superiority complex and feel that he is the natural ruler of the world. That being said, the way Apocalypse goes about trying to conquer humanity in this film, you would think he really doesn’t have any idea what he’s doing. Apocalypse’s plan to take Professor X’s powers makes sense, since having the ability to control every person’s mind is handy when you’re trying to conquer the world, but in almost every other aspect, his plan seems poorly planned.
If Apocalypse wants to rule over humanity, then why is he trying to kill them? He makes a big deal about wanting to destroy modern civilization so that he can build a better one, but his way of going about this (by having Magneto essentially destroy every man-made structure on Earth) is no doubt extremely costly to human life. It’s like he doesn’t realize that he won’t have anyone left to rule over by the time his plan is carried out. There’s also the issue of Apocalypse’s powers being very poorly-defined, but that’s largely a secondary concern compared to this film having such a boring and ill-conceived “destroy the world” plot. Speaking of which …
3. Why Does Apocalypse Need Any Followers?
We learn early on in X-Men: Apocalypse, courtesy of Moira MacTaggert’s infodump, that Apocalypse always recruits four followers or “Four Horsemen” wherever he goes. Naturally, we spend some time getting to see him find his Four Horsemen and his selections are … questionable, to say the least. Out of the four, Magneto is the only pick that makes any real sense, primarily because Apocalypse needs him to pull all the metal (and other elements, because apparently Magneto can control almost everything now) from the Earth to help build his new civilization or something. Outside of Magneto though, it feels like there is no point to Apocalypse having other followers.
As the film’s final battle shows, Apocalypse can pretty much take on all the X-Men at the same time with his undefined laundry list of abilities, so he doesn’t really need Angel, Psylocke, or even Storm’s help. If anything, Apocalypse would have been a more effective villain if he had just flown solo as an overwhelming force that takes the combined efforts of the world’s mutants to take down, since it essentially plays out that way in the end anyway.
2. Hey, What About All Those Nukes In The Atmosphere?
Apocalypse’s most terrifying display of power is arguably when he launches all of the world’s nukes at the same time, forcing every human on Earth to look on helplessly as nuclear annihilation appears to be imminent. Thankfully, all of the bombs end up in the atmosphere and no one gets nuked, but then everyone just acts as if nothing ever happened. Call me crazy, but having thousands of nuclear bombs floating around in space still seems like a pretty big deal. Who’s going to clean all of those up? Is each country going to send teams to gather the nukes and bring them back down to Earth? What if they fall into the wrong hands. Sending every nuke into Earth’s atmosphere isn’t the kind of subplot that should be just swept under the rug, but that’s exactly what X-Men: Apocalypse does.
1. How Did Stryker’s Team Get To The Mansion So Quickly?
X-Men: Apocalypse makes the bold and rather surprising choice to blow up the X-Mansion, resulting in the film’s best scene as Quicksilver again steals the spotlight with an exciting high-speed rescue effort set to the tune of The Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams.” Unfortunately, this is immediately followed by one of the film’s dumbest scenes, as mutant hater William Stryker turns up in a helicopter with a group of soldiers to kidnap the most powerful X-Men. The problem with this scene (besides the fact that we saw it done better in X-Men 2) is that it makes little sense.
Stryker’s team shows up about a minute after the mansion blows up, which means that he must have literally been circling around the area waiting for his moment to strike, which is just absurd. There is no reason for Stryker to be in the area (it’s not like he knew the mansion was going to blow up) and absolutely no way that he would be able to assemble a team that quickly and move out. Unless Stryker somehow has the ability to foresee the future or his base is right next door to Xavier’s mansion, there’s just no way he would have been able to react that fast.