Story

X-Men: Apocalypse is set 10 years after the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past. The first and most dangerous mutant, En Sabah Nur/Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), has been entombed for 5000 years. But CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) enters his tomb and accidentally wakes him.

Apocalypse quickly recruits mutants to become his four horsemen. Magneto (Michael Fassbender) is trying to live a normal life when his world falls apart; Storm (Alexandra Shipp) is a thief on the streets of Cairo; Angel (Ben Hardy) is a star attraction as a cage fighter in Berlin; and Psylocke (Olivia Munn) is working as a bodyguard.

Meanwhile, at their school for the gifted, Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) are teaching powerful young mutants to control their powers. New to the school is Scott ‘Cyclops’ Summers (Tye Turner), who is befriended by Jean Grey (Sophie Turner). Quicksilver (Evan Peters) and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) are other new arrivals. Also back at the school for a visit is Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), who has been busy rescuing mutants from humans.

Unfortunately for humanity, Apocalypse decides to remake the world for mutants, with humans as their slaves and himself as supreme ruler. It’s up to Professor X, Mystique, Beast, and the fledgling X-Men to save the world by stopping Apocalypse and his four horsemen.

Themes

Superpowers: mutants; megalomania and world domination; the apocalypse 

Violence

X-Men: Apocalypse has intense and frequent action violence. For example:

  • A man lies on a stone altar. A large knife is used to slice open the man’s stomach. The wound immediately heals and leaves no trace of the cut.
  • A young teenage boy loses control of his superpowers while at school. Beams of energy shoot from his eyes and destroy large chunks of the school toilet block, causing an explosion. When we next see the boy, his eyes are bandaged.
  • Apocalypse uses his powers to form sand into a weapon that decapitates three men. The scene shows the heads being severed and rolling away.
  • Angel is a cage fighter. Surrounded by armed guards and spectators, he defeats another man, who collapses covered in bloody cuts. Nightcrawler arrives to confront Angel and receives several shocks as he tries to climb the electrified wire mesh surrounding the fight cage. Nightcrawler and Angel fight. Nightcrawler picks up Angel and throws him against the electrified mesh. Mystique arrives, knocking several guards unconscious. Working together and with Mystique’s help, Nightcrawler and Angel escape the cage and run from the building. Guards fire automatic weapons in close pursuit.
  • Apocalypse causes a massive explosion that burns up several workers. Flames engulf them and they’re swept away.
  • In an emotionally intense scene a young girl and her parents are surrounded by uniformed guards with bows and arrows. When a guard grabs hold of the young girl, large flocks of birds gather and the guard panics. He fires an arrow, which hits the mother in the back and then impales the daughter through the chest. The distraught father cries uncontrollably as he holds his dead wife and daughter in his arms. He kills several guards in a fit of rage.
  • In the most brutal and violent scene, Wolverine breaks out of prison and goes berserk, killing every guard he encounters. He uses his blades to stab and slash guards. Dead guards lie on the floor with blood flowing from their wounds and pooling on the ground. Blood is splattered across walls and on Wolverine’s fists and blades.
  • The main battle is between two groups of mutants, all using their special powers, like lightning bolts, laser whips and swords. One mutant smashes his head through the windscreen of a plane, which then crashes into the ground and kills him (we see the blood-splattered face of the mutant moments before the plane crashes). A second mutant is nearly crushed by a falling car. We hear the sound of bones breaking as a third mutant is attacked and has his arm broken. A female mutant uses her laser sword to slash the throat of another mutant. A female mutant is lifted into the air and strangled, her body changing colour and form. A male mutant is picked up and bashed against walls and stone pillars; he lies on the ground with blood flowing from his mouth and pooling. A mutant is impaled by dozens of steel beams and poles until his body is encased in steel. He’s engulfed in flames that burn his flesh from his body, revealing a skeleton that then disintegrates.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, X-Men: Apocalypse has many scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • Many of the characters are scary. Apocalypse has alien facial features including blue-black skin, eyes that can appear either entirely white or entirely black, facial scars and alien patterning on his forehead, strange appendages coming out of the back of his head, and full body armour. Nightcrawler has a demonic appearance. His skin is blue-black, his face is covered in facial tattoos and scars, and he has a mouth full of sharp teeth. He has rat-like hands with two fingers and a thumb and talon-like claws for fingernails, as well as a long reptilian tail.
  • Archangel has wings of bird-like feathers and hooked talons protruding from the wingtips. At one point he’s infused with super-mutant power, causing his feathered wings to mutate. He writhes in pain on the ground as pieces of rib-like bone punch out of his body and change to metal.
  • There are several scenes that show apocalyptic images of the end of the world with entire cities destroyed and transformed into swirling masses of debris.
  • A man is sucked into a stone wall and trapped. The man’s nose, mouth and eyes poke out of the wall and his eyes blink.

From 5-8
Children in this age group will also be disturbed by the violent and disturbing scenes mentioned above.

From 8-13
Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by several of the violent and disturbing scenes mentioned above, particularly the death of the child and her mother.

Over 13
Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.

Sexual references

None of concern

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

X-Men: Apocalypse shows some use of substances. For example:

  • Characters smoke cigarettes.
  • A young man drinks from a bottle of vodka and acts in an intoxicated, overconfident way.
  • In one scene a woman holds a glass of wine.
  • A briefcase contains syringes filled with a blue liquid. 

Nudity and sexual activity

X-Men: Apocalypse shows some nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • Female characters wear tight-fitting and revealing body suits.
  • A couple kiss passionately.

Product placement

There is no product placement of concern in the film, but there’s plenty of merchandise associated with the movie on the market.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in X-Men: Apocalypse.

Ideas to discuss with your children

X-Men: Apocalypse is an action adventure movie targeting teenage and adult fans of Marvel comics. It has several new characters and some spectacular special effects. At 144 minutes, it’s a very long movie. 

The movie was originally rated MA15+ by the Classification Board and re-rated M by the Classification Review Board after an appeal from the distributor. It contains some emotionally intense scenes including the death of a mother and child and many violent and scary scenes and characters that might disturb younger viewers. It isn’t suitable for children under 13 years and not recommended for children under 15 years.

These are the main messages from this movie:

  • People fear things that are different or that they don’t understand.
  • People with power must protect people without power.
  • Working together lets people achieve much more than they could achieve by themselves.