By Jack Dignan
After the release of Deadpool, I asked Chris Campo to write an article on where he thinks the franchise should head next. He did, and you can read his thoughts here. It was an article titled 'Deadpool: Where To Go Next,' and it was intended to be the first of a series. I tried to do it once again with Civil War, although Marvel have practically laid out their entire plan from here until 2019 so writing an article on that is pretty much just reading out their plan. The X-Men franchise, however, is a little more unclear, and that is why, after a few months, the 'Where To Go Next' series is making its return. This article contains major spoilers. Obviously.
In my initial review, I stated several problems I had with the movie, and while a lot of those problems still stand, after rewatching the film, it grew on me. I liked it a little more, and would even bump up my rating by half a star. I still think a lot of the characters are underused, there's no focus, they have no idea what to do with Mystique and Apocalypse isn't all that good of a villain, but I had a lot more fun with it the second time around. It was even more entertaining, and no, the dialogue wasn't as mediocre as I initially thought. It's no Days Of Future Past, but it's a fun movie, even with all of its many problems.
Let's talk for a minute about the film's ending, especially since it gives us an idea of where the franchise is heading next. In the explosive finale that features mutants taking on mutants, Apocalypse seems to have the upper hand, his four horsemen giving it everything they've got, but, this doesn't last long. After Quicksilver's failed attempt to take Apocalypse down single handedly (which was an awesome moment, by the way), and all of the X-Men teaming up to use their powers, the four horsemen turn against Apocalypse, helping to take him down. Well, two of them do, anyway. Magneto and Storm have switched sides (unsurprisingly), while Psylocke has run off and Angel is dead. It's a fantastic moment that perfectly shows the capabilities of each of these characters.
The film's final scene takes place in the now restored X-Men Mansion. Magneto has left to go do his own thing, while Charles, now bald, and Mystique are training the next X-Men, consisting of Nightcrawler, Storm, Cyclops, Jean Grey and Quicksilver. The new suits look insanely cool, and they can be seen in the image above. Much like in X-Men: The Last Stand, the team get ready to face off against a simulated army of sentinels before we cut to black and roll the credits. It's a really cool ending to a really fun movie. But what does this mean for the future of the X-Men franchise? Well, that's what I'm here to tell you.
I'll get into the post credit scene in a little bit, but first, let's talk about Jean Grey. At the end of this film, Jean unleashes all of her powers, including her Phoenix Force, which, eventually, will lead to a Dark Phoenix Saga adaptation. This is also hinted at early on in the movie, with Jean saying how she can feel a dark energy flowing through her, and this dark energy even affected Charles in that scene, causing him to scream out in agony. The Dark Phoenix Saga has been done once before, back in X-Men: The Last Stand, which isn't looked that kindly upon. Personally, I enjoy that movie, but that doesn't mean it's perfect. X-Men: Apocalypse, in my opinion, is a much better movie, and my favourite thing about this film is Scott and Jean.
Sophie Turner, the actress of Jean Grey, has expressed interest in adapting the Dark Phoenix Saga, and since the foundations for this storyline have been set, it's a definite possibility in the future. The next film, apparently, is going to be set in the 90s, so by then she would've had a lot of time to adapt to her powers and let them grow, possibly for the worst. Director Bryan Singer has stated he wants to see the cosmos explored in the next film, which again, leads to a variety of different films being set up from various storylines, so if they were to do Dark Phoenix, I personally don't think it will be in the next film. Turner has supposedly signed on for multiple movies, so they're not going to want to go straight to that storyline. They'll develop her character a little more first.
Psylocke was one of my biggest disappointments with X-Men: Apocalypse. Her character, in the comics, is really interesting, but she didn't end up getting that much screen time, and when she did, she was severely underdeveloped, not to mention overly sexualised. I know, I know. Her outfit is a straight up adaption of the comic book outfit, but they could've adjusted it much like they did with Scarlett Witch in Civil War this year. But I'm not here to talk about outfits. I'm here to talk about sequels, and the fate of Psylocke was left on a rather ambiguous note. Where is she off to? I don't know. Will she return? If she's going to be more developed then yes, I hope so. Perhaps this is another Quicksilver scenario, where she plays a smaller role in her first film and joins the X-Men in her second film, or maybe they'll even continue the whole villain aspect of her character, which would definitely be an interesting take. It wouldn't be my first choice for where this character goes, but if they do choose to get there, I would certainly be curious.
Another character given a rather ambiguous fate is Magneto, whose story I have mixed feelings about. The introduction to his character is utterly brilliant, the death of his family putting me on the brink of tears, and the scene where Apocalypse gets him to unleash all of his powers was great, although once he actually became a horseman, he didn't really do much. It was disappointing, especially in the final fight where he just hid in a bubble the whole time until deciding to turn on Apocalypse. What annoyed me the most about his story arc wasn't that he turned on Apocalypse, I was expecting that to happen, but was instead that he decided to stay good at the end of the film. He goes back to the mansion, helps Jean to use her powers to fix it and then walks off on a good note with everybody. Fassbender's contract, much like McAvoy's and Lawrence's, has now come to an end, so if this is indeed the last we see of his take on this iconic character, I can't say I'm satisfied with it. Fox, bring Fassbender back. Please.
Of course, like all Marvel movies nowadays, X-Men: Apocalypse had a little teaser at the end of the credits. The credits scene, I believe, is a teaser of the next Wolverine movie, due out in theatres next year. The scene sees a mystery man from the Essex Corporation coming and collecting Wolverine's DNA, placing it into a briefcase with a series of other DNA tubes. It seems be setting up the character of X23, the female Wolverine clone rumoured to be appearing in his final solo film, although as others online have pointed out to me, Essex is also the company behind Cable, and the company's founder is a villain known as Mister Sinister, so either of those could be possibilities. Cable, in my opinion, is unlikely, despite his appearance confirmed for Deadpool 2, although Mister Sinister has a strong chance of showing up in future movies (Gambit?).
The question remains, though. Why would he need Wolverine's DNA if X23 isn't going to be appearing for another 50 or so years? If the DNA is, in fact, being used to create her, she's not going to appear for a number of decades, as the next Wolverine movie is set to take place in the future, adapting the Old Man Logan storyline, while this film is set in the 80s. Do they just keep his DNA in storage till it's of use? Do they experiment with it for a number of decades? So many questions, so few answers, but that's the beauty of post credit scenes. They give us questions, making us want to come back and watch the next movie even more than we already did. They're fun stingers, and this one, while far from the greatest scene around, certainly raises a lot of interesting questions.
Because of the timeline change in Days of Future Past, anything is possible in the X-Men franchise's future. They've already started redoing a lot of their mistakes, incorporating a lot of the aspects from the not-so-loved movies and doing them well, and this movie even threw an insult in there about how disappointing X-Men: The Last Stand was, which was a joke I thought worked rather well, except for the fact that they insulted Return of the Jedi. That's just rude. But, no matter what route this franchise decides to go in, I'm most definitely on board. This movie wasn't perfect, but it was a lot of fun, and with three films currently scheduled for release, I'm very excited for more X-Men in the years to come.
X-MEN APOCALYPSE IS IN CINEMAS NOW AND MY REVIEW CAN BE FOUND HERE