6 of the Most Disappointing Characters in ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’
After X-Men: Days of Future Past, it seemed like Fox was on a roll with its prized Marvel franchise. However X-Men: Apocalypse represented a significant step backwards and isn’t likely to dampen the calls for X-Men to be taken over by Disney/Marvel. It’s not a terrible movie by any means, but for a film series that seemed to be learning from its past mistakes it was disheartening to see character and story take a backseat to spectacle — and character in particular is a place where X-Men truly shines. Here are six characters in X-Men: Apocalypse that disappointed.
The main villain of X-Men: Apocalypse is as good a place to start as any. Aside from series mainstay Magneto, Apocalypse is by far the most important villain in the X-Men rogue gallery, and it’s impossible to not feel like a huge opportunity was missed here.
In the same way that Thanos is the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s ultimate enemy, Apocalypse has almost always existed as the top baddie when it comes to various X-Men plot lines. But X-Men: Apocalypse is essentially a reboot, and the way Apocalypse is dropped into the story and swiftly taken away feels like a waste. After all, in the comics Apocalypse is what everything is building up to — it isn’t the starting point for characters like Jean Gray or Cyclops, but the ending point.
Say what you want about how long Thanos has been looming in the background and whether the long awaited battle will work as intended, but the strategy Marvel has employed has more or less succeeded in making the character feel like the ultra-powerful villain behind the curtains. With the the Avengers built up through countless films, the rich history between heroes and enemies should make for a stunning build-up to their battle with Thanos. Apocalypse deserved such a build-up.
From a character perspective, the things that make Mystique interesting are or more or less left on the table in X-Men: Apocalypse. Gone are the moral ambiguities and anti-hero tendencies. Instead we have a character who generally does the right thing and takes on a role within the X-Men that just doesn’t feel all that much like the Mystique we love from the comics.
There’s also the issue of Jennifer Lawrence’s performance which definitely has a feel of “why did I get myself locked into this” and just doesn’t seem to match the character. While it’s highly possible that the writing isn’t allowing her much to work with (she’s a fantastic actor after all), it didn’t stop other series regulars from pulling off strong performances in X-Men: Apocalypse.
Psylocke’s inclusion in X-Men: Apocalypse had a lot of fans excited, and for good reason. Not only is she among the most popular X-Men characters in the comics, but she’s also an Omega-level mutant — meaning she’s imbued with some of the most powerful genetic potential of any mutant. This puts her in the same class as Jean Gray.
So considering Psylocke’s popularity and powers, you’d think the filmmakers would have found a way to make her stand out more in the film. Instead, she is almost completely relegated to the sidelines to the extent that you wonder if she’s just there to add one more enemy to the final battle. It also doesn’t help that Psylocke’s iconic costume just doesn’t translate well to the screen.
4. Jean Gray
Jean Gray is as popular as she is important when it comes to some of X-Men’s greatest story-lines. But aside from the fact that her character comes across flat in the film, the film’s depiction of Phoenix Force feels inconsistent, which doesn’t exactly lend itself well to future films sure to deal with a Dark Phoenix arc. And on the topic of the flat performance, it’s hard to know how much of it is the fault of Game of Thrones‘ Sophie Turner and how much is the fault of the filmmakers — although they can’t be blamed for Turner’s sometimes distracting American accent.
Cyclops is one of the most important characters in all of X-Men, and there’s still a sense that filmmakers just can’t get him right. After the first three films painted him as the annoying foil to Wolverine, here we have an attempt to give him some much-needed depth. Unfortunately, that depth comes in the form of an extremely cocky Cyclops when at the mansion and an uptight, anxious fighter in battle. The idea is right, but the inconsistency can be distracting.
Jubilee should have been the character to lend a fun, campy tone to X-Men: Apocalypse, but instead we got what feels mostly like fan service. Besides the fact that we never see Jubilee use her powers, she also finds herself front and center in one of the film’s silliest moments: a completely forced discussion of Return of the Jedi. You know, in case you forgot this movie takes place in the ’80s.
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