15 Big Questions Left Unanswered By X-Men: Apocalypse

By  · Published on May 27th, 2016

There’s another X-Men movie out, and fittingly it’s called X-Men: Apocalypse. It’s the worst main-series installment since X-Men: The Last Stand and actually may be dumber in some regards. It may at least have the worst dialogue of the entire franchise. Anyway, a movie so bad obviously left us with a lot of questions at the end. It might be bad enough that I don’t really even care what the answers are, but here they are anyway:

Was Jesus a mutant?

In the silliest opening credits sequence guiding us through time since the one in Mannequin, we see reference to a few historical figures whom I assume are being hinted at as being mutants. It’s like a whole Men in Black franchise worth of jokes about which famous people are aliens in a brief 60-second Doctor Who-like motion graphics display. In addition to Jesus, there’s also Leonardo Da Vinci and maybe Hitler and Stalin?

Why can’t Nightcrawler teleport out of his cage fight?

When we meet Nightcrawler, he’s carted into a cage match against Angel (who has just defeated a character who is supposed to be the Blob but I don’t accept that it was him). The fight is inside a cage, which Nightcrawler can see through and so should be able to teleport out from. But he seems unable to, always hitting the electric fence instead. Why? Was this not just an electric fence but something charged in a way that interferes with his powers? I am unaware of anything that would do that to him.

Why does Mystique save Nightcrawler?

Is it because she’s his mother? She is in the comics, after all. Other than that, she doesn’t seem like someone who goes around finding mutants to bring back to Charles, whom she hasn’t even seen in a decade.

How does everyone look like they’ve barely aged a day?

There’s actually a joke referencing this in the movie, when Professor X telepathically sees Moira MacTaggert and says, “She looks amazing. She’s barely aged a day.” She’s the one most in need of commenting on since the last time we saw her was in a movie released only five years ago that was set 20 years earlier. She does actually seem to be aged slightly for X-Men: Apocalypse, though, with hair coloring at least. But how about everyone else? Raven, aka Mystique, can look as young as she wants with her powers, but the others who’ve been with these prequels since X-Men: First Class also look good for there being two decades gone since their introduction. And Peter, aka Quicksilver, also looks the same as he did 10 years earlier in the setting of X-Men: Days of Future Past. Perhaps his powers somehow slow aging down. Perhaps all mutant powers do.

How was Moira the first person to accidentally let sun shine on Apocalypse?

It’s been thousands of years since Apocalypse was buried in the rubble of his pyramid, and we’ll just have to accept that he couldn’t be awoken by anything at all during that time. Not that he was entirely hidden away. Moira (operating on whatever nonsensical CIA mission would take her there) manages to very easily get into a clear path to the spot where the ancient mutant remains. And where there’s a cult worshipping him at that spot. As it turns out, all it takes is for Moira to accidentally leave the door open to the rays of the sun, which shone at just the right time on the rubble leads to the resurrection of Apocalypse. Nice going, Moira! Also, nice going Apocalypse cult for not figuring that out earlier!

Why was Moira’s memory wiped?

Aside from allowing for some comedic awkwardness from Charles, is there any reason Moira’s memory of knowing him had to be wiped at the end of X-Men: First Class through to this point? It’s not like she doesn’t hold a position tied to secrecy. She could have just lied at the time. And become acquainted with him outside of that since. Also, if she was his contact then and he hasn’t been back to the CIA since, should he really have great security clearance?

Why would Erik risk his perfect anonymity to save one lousy human?

He’s got a wife and child and his own well-being to protect, but for some reason Erik, aka Magneto, blows it all during an earthquake to save one human from being crushed. And he’s witnessed doing so via his mutant powers, of course. Erik shouldn’t care about a human’s life that much. Also, does he really have to wave his arm for the power to work? Does he have to be so inconspicuous? Also how did none of his workers recognize him as the infamous Magneto before he used his powers?

Why is Erik’s daughter named Nina, and is she a mutant?

In the comics, Magneto has a few children, including those who became Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch (the latter being left to the Marvel Cinematic Universe) plus another daughter named Anya who died young at the hands of mutant haters. In this movie, he’s with Anya’s mother, Magna, but their young daughter is named Nina for some reason. Maybe it’s because she seems to be a mutant, a telepath who can communicate with animals, and so she’s more of a hybrid of Anya and Wanda (Scarlet Witch). As for the question of whether or not she’s indeed a mutant, it’s pretty clear that she is but I guess that doesn’t matter since she’s dead.

Why wouldn’t the police check Nina for metal?

When the police come to apprehend Magneto, they’ve taken precautions so as to avoid having anything he can use against them. They come armed with bows and arrows rather than guns, for instance. But they should have searched Nina when they held her as collateral for him, since the metal necklace she wore wound up being used as a weapon to kill them all. This is nitpicking, I admit, as it just shows the men were understandably carelessly overlooked the one little thing that cost them their lives.

Why did Jean have to trash Return of the Jedi?

“Everyone knows the third film is always the worst,” Jean says when exiting the movie theater after seeing the third Star Wars movie. It’s obviously more a jab at the third X-Men movie, The Last Stand, but ironically it also manages to be self-mocking since Apocalypse is the third of the prequels. And speaking of prequels, if we’re meant to think about the X-Men franchise in relation to Star Wars, we’re also led to consider how prequels also suck. I know none of that has to do with the narrative, so let me tie it in: did Jean really feel that way about Jedi, which at the time was very much celebrated, or was she just trying to be snarky to be “cool”?

Who are all those kids at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters?

Remember when the first couple X-Men movies had fun with making every kid in the X-Mansion an Easter egg for the fans? Maybe they’re tired of having to retcon characters down the road. But there sure seems to be a lot of mutant kid extras with no purpose. Also a funny pizza loving dog.

How did Wolverine wind up in the Weapon X program?

At the end of Days of Future Past, we see Mystique retrieve Wolverine from the river disguised as Stryker. Now Wolverine is actually in the possession of the real Stryker and in his Weapon X program. What happened between then and now? Well, it has been 10 years, and we can just assume that’s stuff that happened between movies and leave it at that. Mystique does appear to be scared of Stryker when he shows up at the X-Mansion, so whatever the story, it had to have been bad for her.

Why does Apocalypse need a new body already?

Apocalypse has just been resurrected and appears to be powerful enough to end the whole world, but his first order of business is to pull an ‘80s-appropriate body swap with Charles. And he seems to be in a hurry about it while he’s also already causing destruction all over the world and then while everyone is coming after him. Couldn’t he have waited? As for what Apocalypse’s grand plan is, so immediately upon his return, there’s so many questions and I had gotten so bored by the end that I don’t even feel a need to ask. He’s a villain, he causes destruction, whatever.

Are Erik and Jean helping to rebuild the whole world?

Where does the end of Apocalypse leave the X-Men and mutants in general? One of them has just caused more damage to the world than the Avengers and Superman in Man of Steel combined, maybe more than the aliens in Independence Day even. I doubt they’re all getting off so easily after that, especially Magneto, who was already a wanted criminal and who actually is the one who just caused most of the destruction. But I guess all they have to worry about is rebuilding their fancy mansion with their special powers. What about New York City? What about everywhere else?

What’s going on in the end credits sequence?

We see a man enter the compound we saw earlier, as the mess of dead bodies and bullets left by berserker Wolverine is being cleaned up. The man grabs a vial of blood marked “Weapon X” and places it into a suitcase labeled “Essex Corp.” So that’s Wolverine’s blood and the man is a representative of the company owned by the villain Mister Sinister. So we’ll probably see what this leads to in either the next Wolverine or Deadpool or X-Men movie as the blood could be used to create X-23, the female Wolverine clone, but also Sinister should be behind the creation of Cable at some point. Basically all we know is that Sinister has to be appearing somewhere soon.

Related Topics: ,

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.