WARNING: This post contains MAJOR SPOILERS for X-Men: Apocalypse
Two years after X-Men: Days of Future Past became one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful installments in the long running franchise, its sequel has arrived. X-Men: Apocalypse was released this past weekend, pitting the mutant heroes against a new adversary in Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac). While the film is expectedly doing fine at the box office, it has struggled a bit with the critics (read our review). Following the highs of both First Class and Days of Future Past, Apocalypse was seen by some as a letdown that caters more to established fans than casual audiences. On the other hand, there are several who enjoyed the film.
As is the case with many superhero films in this era, Apocalypse had a lot on its plate. Not only did it mark the culmination of the First Class prequel trilogy, it also introduced younger versions of classic X-Men characters to carry the series moving forward. That proved to be a tricky balancing act that was successful in some regards and failed in others. With so many characters featured, there were bound to be some aspects that slipped through the cracks, and the franchise-building mentality ensured some plot beats wouldn't be resolved until a later day. Here are the biggest plot holes and unanswered questions in X-Men: Apocalypse.
The modern X-Men films have all been set 10 years apart; First Class took place in 1963, Days of Future Past was in 1973, and Apocalypse is set in 1983. Given that Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), and Beast (Nicholas Hault) have been here since the beginning, it would only be logical to assume that the quartet has aged physically since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Yet, 20 years later, the four seemingly have not aged much at all, pretty much resembling their appearances in First Class (which only came out five years ago).
Obviously, with a comic book movie some suspension of disbelief is required. However, this pill may be tough for some to swallow. The film tries to portray a generational gap between the First Class mainstays and newcomers Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), but the veterans aren't that much older than their supposed mentees. For instance, there's only a six-year difference between Lawrence's and Turner's age, and their characters look as if they could be classmates at Xavier's school - though that could be explained in-universe by Mystique's shape-shifting abilities saving her from the ravages of time. Digitally aging four principal actors or having them undergo makeup to seem older may have complicated manners, but something should have been done to make them look older than they really are to sell the teacher/student angle better.
In terms of X-Men movie villains, Apocalypse wasn't the most memorable, but comic book history and a top notch performer like Isaac would make having him be a one-and-done evildoer a waste. The character is one of the most formidable foes of the team and is regarded as an intimidating threat. An all-powerful mutant capable of doing just about anything, Apocalypse presents a number of challenges - both physically and mentally - which is why the climactic fight against him goes nowhere until Jean Grey intervenes and summons the power of the Phoenix.
Jean is able to destroy Apocalypse's body and mind when she enters the fray, and there doesn't appear to be a trace of him in the aftermath. He was able to survive for centuries thanks to transferring his consciousness from body to body as time goes on, but the process of accomplishing that is not explicitly made clear. As a result, it's difficult to say if Apocalypse's consciousness was permanently killed in the battle or if it can come back at another time. Where it stands now, the safe money would be on the former, but in the realm of superhero movies, nobody truly stays dead, so perhaps the filmmakers have a surprise up their sleeve for a future installment.
One of the final scenes in Days of Future Past sees Mystique disguising herself as William Stryker, saving Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) from the bottom of the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. It seems odd then, that the two are separated at the beginning of Apocalypse with no explanation given. Raven is fighting her own crusade to free mutants from oppression, while Logan somehow ended up in the hands of the real Stryker (Josh Helman) and was turned into Weapon X. It's true that anything could have happened in the 10 years between the movies, but the Days of Future Past bit seemed to be setting something up that never came to be.
Even though these new films are set in an alternate timeline from the original trilogy, there are some things that have to happen no matter what. One of those, it would seem, is that Wolverine receives his adamantium skeleton, providing him with his metal claws. The most logical explanation would be that Mystique and Wolverine decided to go down their own paths following Days of Future Past, and Logan was captured on his own. Perhaps Raven took him to see Caliban (Tómas Lemarquis) so Wolverine could move on to a new life. It's up to the viewer's interpretation, but it's frustrating the film doesn't address it.
Jackman continues his streak of appearing in every X-Men film (his face is shown on a magazine cover in Deadpool) alive in Apocalypse. He is present for one action sequence where he unleashes hell on Stryker's allies, unknowingly helping Jean, Cyclops, and Nightcrawler in their quest to free the others from captivity. The scene ends with Wolverine having part of his memory restored by Jean, helping him find peace. Logan then takes off and runs away into the Canadian wilderness.
Conventional thinking would be that Wolverine ends up somewhere in his original X-Men starting position, living the life of a loner in Canada before he's picked up by Professor X and becomes a member of the X-Men. But Wolverine is never heard from again, even in Apocalypse's final scene which shows a full team (including a fully recovered Quicksilver) of heroes assembled. Jackman only has one film left before he hangs up the claws (allegedly) that's set well into the future, so this is something we may never know.
Even if Logan and Raven split up at some point after Days of Future Past, it's difficult to believe that this version of Xavier would just leave Wolverine out there alone. In First Class, Xavier and Magneto tried to recruit Logan (which didn't end well for them), and they have an adventure with him in Days of Future Past. Xavier knows from personal experience how powerful an ally Wolverine can be, so one has to wonder why the Professor never used Cerebro to locate his friend and bring him in to the school to provide help and shelter.
Again, this can be chalked up to certain things always happening regardless of the timeline. If Wolverine was picked up by Xavier shortly after Days of Future Past, he'd never get his adamantium and go through life with his bone claws. However, within the logic of this modern film series, it's a puzzling development. Singer may have been better off forgoing a Wolverine cameo and explain his absence with a line of dialogue, since what's presented in the final product raises far more questions than anyone could have intended. It's fun to watch Logan go into a berserker rage on-screen, but the circumstances surrounding his state may be confusing to some.
The moments leading up to Apocalypse's Quicksilver (Evan Peters) scene are rather tense, as the titular villain and his four horsemen arrive at the Mansion and kidnap the professor. In an attempt to rescue his ally, Havok (Lucas Till) unleashes a blast of energy, but Apocalypse surrounds himself with a force field and the explosion ends up destroying the entire school. Quicksilver is seemingly able to save everyone inside and get them away from the blast radius, but that's before Scott Summers realizes his brother is missing.
One character mentions that Havok was closest to the blast, and that's the last viewers hear of him. It's heavily implied that the character is dead, but it is never officially confirmed. Possibly, he could have somehow transported to space (location of the next X-Men film!) and found the Starjammers, or he could have been captured and cloned by Sinister. One would think that if Bryan Singer had intended for Alex Summers to live, he would have shown Quicksilver bringing him outside, so it would appear that moviegoers have seen the last of Havok, but we probably won't know until the sequel's cast list is confirmed.
When Xavier uses Cerebro to reach out to Magneto, Apocalypse mentally links with the Professor and shows Xavier power that he's never felt before. In an attempt to sever the connection, Charles instructs Havok to destroy all of Cerebro. This happens shortly before Havok accidentally blows up the entire school. At the end, Magneto and Jean use their powers to rebuild the Mansion from the ground up, and it appears to be the same as it was in the beginning of the film. Xavier has even included a Danger Room, providing his team with a simulator to test their powers and improve their skills.
Since there's a fully functioning Danger Room, it would be safe to assume that Cerebro was also reconstructed, though the film never actually shows this. One of Xavier's goals is to provide a haven for mutants, and the easiest way for him to locate new pupils is through Cerebro. Even with a group of X-Men formed, Xavier always needs new students to teach so he can accomplish his mission of mutant and human harmony. Especially with Apocalypse defeated (for now, at least), Cerebro should be safe for the Professor to use.
One of the weak links of Apocalypse was that the main villain's henchmen didn't receive much screen time or development, despite being fan-favorite mutants. Olivia Munn's Psylocke definitely drew the short straw here, as she gets a few fun action beats (showcased in the trailers) and little else. She never joins the X-Men in the fight against Apocalypse, even when her fellow Horsemen Magneto and Storm do. When the battle is over, Psylocke simply walks away without interacting with anybody, raising the question of what the future has in store for her.
Since the next X-Men movie is so early in development, it's difficult to say what the roster of mutants will look like. The fact that she didn't turn against Apocalypse would indicate that she still holds his ideals close (though, she didn't exactly come to his aid when the chips were down), so switching sides is probably out of the cards. It'll be interesting to see if Xavier or Magneto tracks her down and tries to convince Psylocke to join their team. The character deserves another shot at the spotlight and hopefully a meatier role could do her justice in another installment.
When audiences first meet Erik Lehnsherr in Apocalypse, he's living under an alias as a "normal" man with a family. After his secret is exposed at his job, the authorities come hunting for Erik, and he tragically loses his wife and daughter. Choosing to accept his place in the world as a mutant opposed to humanity, Magneto reemerges and joins forces with Apocalypse, feeling that his vision of a cleansed world is a worthy cause. But Apocalypse's tactics prove to be too much even for Erik, who ultimately decides to help his "friends" (if that's what they can be called) in defeating the menace. He even rebuilds Charles' school so Xavier can continue his life's work.
Still, Magneto can never truly be part of the X-Men, and once the team is established, he chooses to go his separate path. Joking that Charles can convince him to do anything, he leaves his old companion behind into an uncertain future. However, after Magneto's family was taken away from him, one has to wonder where exactly he's heading off to. The film seemed to be setting up Erik embracing Xavier's philosophy (even forming a metal "X" when he betrays Apocalypse) and joining those closest to him in arms, but Xavier and Magneto are so ideologically opposed any alliance between them will always be temporary. Erik will most likely have to keep a low profile and stay off the grid so he can get by unrecognized, and whatever plans he has in store will be fascinating to watch unfold.
The scene stealer in Days of Future Past, viewers get a brief taste of Quicksilver's home life in that film. He lives with his mother and sister, getting into various kinds of trouble with his powers. Picking up in Apocalypse, more layers of Quicksilver are peeled back (more on this in a bit), but there is one omission from the previous film. His sister Wanda is nowhere to be seen in the latest movie.
This isn't exactly a huge deal, but it is odd that Quicksilver's sibling isn't mentioned. In the comics, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are both the children of Magneto, meaning there's a chance the Wanda Maximoff in Fox's X-Men movie universe is also Erik's offspring. Days of Future Past seemed to confirm that the two are not twins, but the possible connection is still there. Quicksilver's motivation in the film is to connect with his biological father, and it would have been a cool twist for his sister (now 10 years older, remember) to join him in the quest. Fox probably wanted to avoid any confusion with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which currently has a version of Scarlet Witch played by Elizabeth Olsen, and the ensemble was already stuffed to the brim. Perhaps a future installment could explore this angle.
It's revealed in Apocalypse that Quicksilver is the son of Magneto, which fuels his desire to seek out the Master of Magnetism. He comes close to telling Erik the truth during the final battle, but stops short and simply says that he's there for his family. In the end, Peter keeps it a secret and tells Storm he's unsure if he'll ever have that fateful talk with Magneto one day. For now, he's staying with the X-Men.
With future sequels planned, Singer was arguably wise to hold back on this, since it gives the followups some rich material to explore. Quicksilver is no longer just a fun gimmick to be used for an action sequence set to a pop song, he's a legitimately interesting character with some baggage that he'll have to settle eventually. The relationship between Quicksilver and Magneto is a major plot point, and it's obviously being introduced now to pay off fully later down the road. The circumstances under which Magneto learns that he has a son (and hasn't lost everything as he believed) should prove to be compelling, as most things involving that character are.
The post-credits scene for Apocalypse showed the aftermath of Wolverine's attack in Stryker's complex, with people cleaning up all the blood, bodies, and bullets. A mysterious individual arrives with a briefcase, looks at some files on Logan, and leaves with a vial of the mutants blood. He adds it to his collection of samples and closes the briefcase, showing the name Essex to the camera. This is a reference to Nathaniel Essex, who in the comics goes by the name Mr. Sinister. That fact that Wolverine's blood was collected seems to imply that a very specific character is in the fold for a later film.
X-Men fans are aware that the so-called "female Wolverine" X-23 is actually a clone of Logan. If Jackman really is done with the role after 2017's Wolverine 3, this would be the perfect way to continue using the character in the live-action films (without having to recast the fan-favorite Jackman). It's unknown if this is indeed the plan, but the button sequence appears to be paving the road for this angle down the line. X-23 could very well be featured in the upcoming X-Force movie, so there's obviously a good reason for this tease in Apocalypse.
These are just some of the unanswered questions X-Men: Apocalypse left for audiences to solve on their own. What do you think of our list? Sound off in the comments below with your theories and let us know your opinion of the film!
X-Men: Apocalypse is now playing in theaters. Wolverine 3 opens in U.S. theaters on March 3rd, 2017, followed by unannounced X-Men films on October 6th, 2017 (possibly Gambit), March 2nd, 2018 (possibly Deadpool 2), and June 29th, 2018 (possibly New Mutants). X-Force is also in development.