X-Men Apocalypse: Fox Wins But People of Color Lose

Don’t expect this movie to rely heavily on the source material. Director Bryan Singer presents a film that’s a hodge-podge of various stories made up by people who know nothing about the X-Men. Aside from Quicksilver (Evan Peters), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), and Apocalypse (Oscar Issac, doing well with whatever the hell he is given) being mildly entertaining, they can’t save the film from imploding. Everyone else is either used as filler or bores you to death with their on-screen presence. Choppy action scenes are put in place to mask the uninteresting, underdeveloped characters, cheesy dialogue, Playstation 2-quality special effects, and makeup that looks like it was bought from the bargain bin at Chapel Hill Beauty Supply. The worst part is the newcomers don’t get their chance to shine like the trailer would have you believe. Particularly the characters of color.

© 20th Century Fox
© 20th Century Fox

I’m not going to waste any time. I am going to just spell it all out for you. But I want you to form your own opinion. See the film for yourself, you might like it. There will probably be spoilers sprinkled throughout, so don’t read if you don’t want to know because I’m about to throw shade…

First of all, Fox can start by renaming this film X-Men: The Mystique Power-Hour. Once again Mystique (lazily played by Jennifer Lawrence) is the central hero. In this role, she is less like Mystique and more like Katniss Everdeen in blue makeup. It’s clear J-Law is bored and just wants to move on. Who are we to stop her?

©20th Century Fox

Trust me, I want her gone. In both X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse, she doesn’t capture the true essence of Mystique: the bad ass, shape-shifting, back-stabbing assassin (once played fabulously by Rebecca Romijn).

The surprise of it all is she is looked up to by the students of the Xavier school as a hero. Folks, Ororo Monroe, aka Storm, actually looks at a picture of Mystique and utters the words, “She’s my hero.”


Great, so Bryan Singer and company have activated their diversity decoder rings and traded hero and leader white man Wolverine (Huge Jackman) for white/blue whatever woman Mystique. I guess this is so Jennifer Lawrence can have some screen time?! White woman to the rescue!!! Unfortunately, this is at the cost of the cast of newcomers. They are out-shined by recurring actors when the younger generation should be the focus.

That brings me to my next point: the new generation. That includes Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Nightcrawler (Smit-McPhee), and Jubilee (Lana Condor). There are also new villains Psylocke (Olivia Munn) and Angel (Ben Hardy). I’m going to be straight up and say I was interested in seeing my girls Storm, Jubilee, and Psylocke get their shine on. The X-Men Apocalypse trailers led me to believe I was going to see some superheroes and villains of color finally make an impact in the X-Men cinematic universe. SIKE! You thought that was the outcome. Aside from Oscar Issac as Apocalypse, you don’t see much of the ladies of color. They are there to fill diversity quotas and nothing more. Let me elaborate…

©20th Century Fox

You know Storm was never a horseman to begin with, but I accepted this as her segue into the present cinematic storyline. She is given an infinite amount of power by Apocalypse only for her to barely use it. Actress Alexandra Shipp is pretty good in the role, but she has very little lines, and she isn’t given enough time to make a lasting impression. She just stands there as Apocalypse’s arm candy, a Mystique worshiper, and not much else. No development as a character. Nothing. She pretty much got Halle Buried.

© 20th Century Fox

Next is Psylocke. Poor Olivia Munn. All of this fuss about her in the role, doing her own stunts, with sword and fight training, only to be reduced to filler with almost no lines and very little to do. She does get the opportunity to display her powers, but in the end gets her ass handed to her by Beast… BEAST y’all. Fox would have you believe this mutant with high-level combat training and POWERFUL telepathic powers gets whipped by Beast. After her beating, she just runs off. HUH? Is the coming back? Like what happened?!

© 20th Century Fox

Lastly, there is Jubilee. Nothing happens with her. She’s not a part of the Jean/Scott/Nightcrawler hero crew like the behind the scenes footage and trailers would have you believe. X-Men: Apocalypse is a 2-1/2 hour movie, but Jubilee shows up three times, has almost no lines, and the audience doesn’t see her use her powers at all. She doesn’t even show up to the final battle, she just gets left behind with the rest of the students. Had the character been left out of the film, it wouldn’t have made a difference. In fact, I don’t even remember anyone calling her by name. I guess you should just know who she is.

When this disastrous movie-going experience was over I had to ask myself, is this progress for people of color? Is just showing up the type of representation we want? Some people may think this is just another complaint about race in film, but IDGAF. We’ve got to want more than that. I put this question out to some friends on social media and for me the best responses came from Jamie Broadnax of Black Girl Nerds and NYC Film Chick via twitter:

It’s time to change directors. Bryan Singer has done enough, and it’s time for him to move on. He wouldn’t know representation and diversity if it jumped and slapped him in the face anyway. We want proper representation. We want characters that grow and change with the story. We are more than just props to fill studio quotas.

If studios don’t want to include us in the proper fashion, that’s fine, they don’t have to. But they should be forewarned that the cash they want so badly from us as an audience will be withheld. Change is only going to come if we know what we want and when and how we want it. Until then Hollywood is just going to keep baiting us with bullshit like X-Men: Apocalypse. Stand your ground and demand better!

65 thoughts on “X-Men Apocalypse: Fox Wins But People of Color Lose

  1. Annoyed to hear Pyslocke and Storm don’t get more to do. Unfortunately, Jubilee isn’t surprising as we never saw her in the final battle in any of the trailers. Still X-Men should be leading the charge in superhero diversity and it’s a shame that they’re still stuck in token appearances.

    Age of Apocalypse is a specific story that they weren’t adapting though, and they couldn’t really as it involves yet another terrible, alternate future that needs to be undone (with time travel elements no less). It would’ve been even more derivative.

    Also Storm was a horsewoman in X-Men: Evolution. There isn’t really a “never before” with X-men. There is always precedent somewhere.

      1. I think Evolution, from what I remember at least, looked like where some of this version of Apocalypse came from – Magneto was also a Horseman in that. However, Storm is still mistreated on the show, being relegated mostly to being and aunt. I was willing to give Singer and co a pass on making Ororo a villain if she got to unleash her fierce side, but alas the marketing is sounding like it’s misleading.

        A grand shame for a woman who managed to make Dr. Droom, world’s greatest narcissist, smitten in just two issues.

        Also, LOL at Halle Buried

  2. Bryan Singer has NEVER viewed or portrayed people of color in a positive light. He pushes the white hero trope as far to even say that the whole idea of XMen is about the LGBT struggles when we ALL KNOW its not. He’s very heavy handed with the struggles of the LGBT but ignores the black LGBT and cis Black community.

  3. Been calling X-Men Hunger Games for sometime now. Lawrence doesn’t immerse herself in roles, but takes them over and turn each character into Lawrence or Katniss Everdeen. She’s one dimensional. Mystique has lost her, well, mystique. Once a reserved and intuitive character, she’s now Katniss. I’ll pass.

    1. I think Lawrence is resting on her popularity and has been for some time now. Watch Winter Bones and you’ll see what she is capable of. Sadly since Hunger Games no one has demanded more of her. She’s Hollywood’s golden gal and she gets away with these lazy performances as a result. I used to be a JLaw fan but now hearing she is in a movie is usually my clue to avoid it.

      1. I liked Winter’s Bone but she’s been allowed to get away with phoning it in for too long. They are using her to sell tickets and she doesn’t have to deliver

  4. Bryan Singer has never shown any respect to the source material, or the fans that made The X-Men so famous that a movie was made in the first place. He made it all about him and his crappy vision of what the X-Men should be. Does Stan Lee even make a cameo?

    1. They need to reboot with a new director and new actors. I think this series has completely run its course. I mostly lost a lot of interest in the series after X-Men 2 and X-Men 3 was horrible.

      1. I wholly agree with the suggestion to reboot. Primarily with the elimination of Singer (I’ve been saying this for ages now) . X-2 I’m actually…okay…with-(semi)-tight storyline, Nightcrawler introduction (though they did pussify him) and Stryker did well in the role (I’m actually beginning to rethink this) and they TRIED with Storm/Halle in the second movie. X-2 wasn’t all it could be, but The Last Stand was a downright embarrassment. My jaw hung lower and lower as the movie progressed- the stupid final battle, and of course, within that, the underuse of the Dark Phoenix entity (which was all too much too soon, even for the movieverse). I would spit on it for all I care.

      2. I guess you could say I am a traditionalist. The moment these directors are assigned, they have to “bring the story into the now” or put their mark on it somehow – all the while disrespecting the material that made it all happen. Don’t get me wrong, no one’s perfect and SOME of the changes in the MCU have been pretty good. Getting rid of the web-shooters (originally) was pretty smart because how can an engineer who’s also a chemist go w/o a job in New York?

        From the very first X-Men I was shaking my head. Why did we have a 2nd Generation X-Man (Storm) teaching a class with a 1st Gen X-Man (Iceman) especially when there are enough characters with incredible powers to go around? Once the slide down that slippery slope started it just got more and more out of hand. Now Juggernaut is a mutant (NOT) and cockney?!

        To make it worse, they don’t even keep up with the rules they establish! When they finally get around to wearing the yellow costumes, it’s Xavier who says unless our powers make us immune to G’s or bullet-proof, I suggest we wear them… and then HE GETS SHOT! The list goes on and on and the only time I like watching these movies now is when I’m watching Cinema Sins!

      3. After this movie singer will not durect any further movies anymore. Future movies will be directed by somebody else. Hope this means we get more story especially for storm who is my favorite female superhero. I’d also love if they did a tv show witht these actors instead. I mean a show with high budget like GOT. Bc then they could really explore the characters backgrounds.

  5. This movie was NEVER supposed to be Age of Apocalypse- so tired of people using that as a reference.

    1. how does that negate from how horrible the movie actually is. and if you’re so sick of the reference, write something that corrects the mistake instead of whining about it

  6. “If studios don’t want to include us in the proper fashion, that’s fine, they don’t have to. But they should be forewarned that the cash they want so badly from us as an audience will be withheld.” We all know good and damn well if Singer is asked to direct the Phoenix saga, aint no cash gonna be withheld! We ALL gone be there in the theater!

  7. “If studios don’t want to include us in the proper fashion, that’s fine, they don’t have to. But they should be forewarned that the cash they want so badly from us as an audience will be withheld. ” We all know good and well if Bryan Singer is asked to direct the Phoenix saga, we ALL gone be there opening day.

      1. Certain I won’t be the only one. Doesn’t mean I won’t point out injustice. But let’s keep this real.

      2. I have never cared about the Phoenix Saga. Not even in the comic books. I won’t be there. Not because its a bad idea, but because I’ve never cared about her.

    1. I despise what Singer has done to the franchise, and I will not pay to see another movie directed by him, just as I didn’t pay to see X-Men: Apocalypse. Watched it for free because that’s what it’s worth, $0.00.

  8. I will pass on this flick despite Olivia Munn and Alexandra Shipp being in it because I am so SICK & TIRED of the WoCs getting marginalized.

    NOT INTERESTED in seeing Jennifer Lawrence in a Katniss rehash at all. In fact I am sick of seeing J Law as the ephemeral white girl hero, when someone like and Alexandra Shipp or Olivia Munn should have played the Katniss role to begin with if one knows anything about the source material.

    I agree that Rebecca Romijn was DA BOMB as Mystique. J law was the Hollywood IT GIRL of the moment so they re-cast the role, then stuck with her boring self. PASS.

    I wish I could support Munn and Shipp (sounds like a law firm) and I want to but these days I am super selective about the projects I wish to suppirt and I am categorically NOT a Bryan “BOTCH” Singer fan and all of his off screen shenanigans s u c k . Ewwwwwwwww and PHEW! DOUBLE PASS.

    1. I’m sorry but Katniss was described as a white girl from West Virginia.

      She fits in that role

      Olivia Munn is a trash acress.

      Betsy deserves better.

      They threw this movie together.

      Casting shows they were looking at TA content more than skill.

    2. NOT INTERESTED in seeing Jennifer Lawrence in a Katniss rehash at all. In fact I am sick of seeing J Law as the ephemeral white girl hero, when someone like and Alexandra Shipp or Olivia Munn should have played the Katniss role to begin with if one knows anything about the source material.>>>>>>

      Ummmm……maybe Munn. Shipp however does not fit the description of olive skin.

  9. lol fanboy sigh. why do yall read apocalypse as age of apocalypse. since this film was announced thats what yall have been calling this film. and as a second: this series has built its own mythos starting 16 years ago, why are you expecting them to do what YOU (someone who didnt write the script for the film being made) want and not what they want? NO comic book movie is EXACTLY like the comics, these are ALTERNATE UNIVERSES and if you read comics you should be used to this. the comics will always be there for you. i dont like the avengers film cause those arent my avengers, i have the comics with ms. marvel, she-hulk, spectrum etc etc so i just marvel get it wrong and laugh at their whitemaleonly universe they have slowly built and only now trying to “diversify”. and as much as you think fox might win i dont think you have been reading the reviews lol. they are not good at all. nothing and nobody can get me from stopping from seeing the x-men who are second in my heart to no one ok. not that no talent having lawrence chick and not overrated singer. i got jean, storm, psylocke, nightcrawler and jubilee (cyclops is ok but only as my girl needs her romeo). this is a setup for this new team, i dont expect anything more. now the next film afterwards once the team has been fully formed and they are not just teammates and friends but family if that is flawed then we would have a problem. movies have been made without singer fox, its ok if other people write and direct x-men films. i respect what he has done, i respect he has started this and therefore i HAVE to respect that he should end it. he’s done now, time for him to step down to a producer role

  10. Disturbing. Just one thing as a heads-up – this isn’t based on Age of Apocalypse, which is only one (alt-universe) story featuring Apocalypse. It seems to be taking a nod from The Adventures of Cyclops & Phoenix and the awful arc The Twelve.

  11. Olivia Munn is NOT a “trash actress” as you tried to put it, “Willie.”

    Valerie Complex, yes I am a bit torn because I fear that if the movie tanks *which it really won’t) they will foist the scapegoating on PsyLocke and Storm and Jubilee even if it doesn’t financially perform as well as they anticipate and then NO MORE roles for us WoCs, or more marginalized, “quota” roles, which I cannot stand but it’s a start, yeah in 2016. BOO!

  12. BTW, anyone else notice that anytime The Wolverine is in a stand-alone film it tanks?

  13. What can I say? We want it all AND a bag of chips. Didn’t realize pointing out how POC being underutilized is racist…

    1. “WE” who? Your alters? Put down that pocket watch and step off, your groupthink hypnosis attempt is failing. People are becoming increasingly pissed–YOUR people–and despite the line fed to us as laydowns (our fault in some cases, granted), many black people are simply not tolerating it anymore. You can’t see that?

      No. We. Don’t. Can you stop?

  14. Singer….the dude who was more interested in casting a tall, hot-looking Wolverine rather than stick to how the character was portrayed in the comics. The guy who made Sunspot a NON-Afro Brazilian because he probably had a beach-fantasy stereotype in his head of what a Brazilian is supposed to look like. The man who made an unfortunate casting decision for Bishop and then decided to not really use the character anyway. You guys were expecting much from this dude?

  15. I didn’t find Shipp all that great for storm, she did not fit the role storm to me but that’s my opinion. I agree JLaw was really dull in her role of my girl Mystique. I hate how they changed her origins and character.

    1. Why do you say Shipp was mis-cast as the young “Storm” a/k/a Ororoa Munroe?

  16. After reading this review, I know one thing’s for sure….I ain’t givin’ ANY of my damn money for this slop. I’ll stick to my Hong Kong action movies goddammit.

  17. I still feel torn because on the one hand I want to support Munn and Shipp and the total afterthought of whoever is playing Jubilee, but not in this way. I admit, I will probably still see the movie for all my hemmin’ and hawin’ but, I dislike HOW these particular characters have been marginalized even though we see them in the marketing.

  18. So disappointing… Lana Condor loved her experience, shot scenes where she used her powers, and even posed for a hero poster. And all of it was cut!
    Bryan Singer and Fox tried to hobble together the “safest” movie they could after chopping it up in the editing room (hence all the flashbacks), focusing on empty action scenes and the same characters from 15 years ago.
    X-Men needs a filmmaker that understands and embraces diversity and the struggles of minorities, what X-men is actually about–not to mention someone that can actually balance a group of superheroes.
    If Fox wants to keep the focus on the same “core” X-men, OK, but the characters who are repeatedly mishandled deserve to be a in a cheaper, smaller-scale, more character-driven piece. Something like Deadpool.

  19. That’s why I don’t go to the movies. I refuse to pay to encourage, enable, and participate in racism.

    1. I went because someone said something that intrigued me about Angel and how “graphic” it was for a PG-13 movie when Apocalypse changed him…well that was a big let down. It was a fleeting moment for all of 2 seconds.

      Glad I saw it though, to form my own opinion based on my own observations. But, that’s it! No more Bryan Singer movies for me. DONE.

  20. Now I know it wasn’t just me being the rebel that I am, I have to say I was truly disappointed with this movie. Not only did they put my girl Storm in a place she never was( a horsemen of apocalypse), they had the audacity to have her cowering in a corner during an epic battle. Anyone that is familiar with the character of Storm knows that was a total disrespect to her. Once again they are taking to many pieces from different stories and trying to pass it off as a masterpiece. Hollywood will never represent us in our true glory and light fiction or non-fiction. With that being said, I will give some credit to the Captain America movies.

    1. This is such a mash up you really cannot hold these superhero characters to their canon anymore. I didn’t like the optics of Storm sitting out some of the action either, but her observations during her sidelines time led to her switching sides and becoming a part of the X Men so that was ultimately a smooth move and what could be WORSE OPTICS than Psylocke just up and turn tailin’ and runnin’? (UGH!)

  21. Reblogged this on theblerdyreport and commented:
    I was going to write my own blog about X-Men:Apocalypse but this one right here perfectly sums up everything wrong with this film. Especially the need to get rid of Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique because she is HORRIBLE!!!! I will disagree with one point Alexandra Shipp is not good as Storm. I’m sorry, her accent is horrible and I’m just not buying her as the Goddess Storm. Loved this blog!

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  23. Ironically, I liked this movie more than I did “CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR”, which couldn’t make up its mind on whether it was a Captain America, Iron Man or Avengers film. But the treatment of the POC – especially women – in this film was terrible.

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