The reviews are in! After dealing with daddy issues, phoenix issues and a bald James MacAvoy, everyone is talking about X-Men: Apocalypse. As ever, those eagle-eyed viewers have kept their eyes open for what you may (or may not) have missed. This isn't a full list, but here are some of the best Easter eggs in the Eggs-Men eggstravaganza. [SPOILERS AHEAD] Are you sitting comfortably?
The chosen lineup of Apocalypse's Four Horsemen was always going to be a talking point of the film and one that Singer will continue to defend. Charles Xavier himself was rumoured to become part of the team during the third act, but was replaced by Psylocke due to some nifty fan-art. Original Horseman Caliban doesn't feature, but instead cameos as Psyclocke's third-person talking mentor. Whilst both Magneto and Storm were never horsemen in the comics, they did take on the mantle in the noughties run of X-Men: Evolution. Most interestingly, when Apocalypse goes to recruit Angel, Metallica's aptly named 1983 song "The Four Horsemen" plays in the background - rock out!
The appearance of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine was no secret - thanks trailers! - but some of you may have recognised his rather snazzy headgear. Fresh from his Weapon-X adamantium dipping, a berserk Logan is wearing the same headgear from the iconic "Weapon X" comic book cover. So who, or what, can calm down a berserk Wolverine? More on that later!
Whilst on the subject of Weapon X, the obligatory post-credits scene gave us a return to Alkali Lake to collect samples and continue the program. Apparently an escaped Wolverine hacking your team to bits isn't enough to put you off your experiments. We already know that Bryan Singer has pitched the female Wolverine idea:
I have discussed that with the studio...I actually initially pitched the X-Force and the female.
This all points to the arrival of X-23, aka Laura Kinney, but some are saying the post-credits are instead pointing to Mister Sinister, aka Nathaniel Essex. Mister Sinister was a Victorian geneticist who became obsessed with Cyclops and Jean AND has links to Apocalypse! Essex also featured heavily in the '90s animated cartoon, so this would fit the next film's '90s timeframe. Finally, the suitcase was branded with the words 'Essex Corps', so three out of three ain't bad!
Trek It Out
At Storm's pickpocket hideaway, Apocalypse is obsessed with the television where he 'learns' about the modern age. At first he seems to ignore the show that is playing, but in fact it plays a significant part. The episode on the television is Star Trek's "Who Mourns For Adonais?". The plot sees an angry alien, Apollo, capture the Enterprise when he is angry for them worshiping false gods. At one point Apollo literally grows to giant size (a'la Apocalypse's mansion battle) to show off his power. Singer is a notorious Trekkie, not only starring alongside Patrick Stewart in 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis, but developing (a now abandoned) Star Trek: Federation TV show.
Sadly, Nicholas Hoult's Blackbird jet never gets to see the light of day. There is a reference to 'a retracting basketball court', but ultimately Beast's jet gets blown to pieces, taking Alex Summers along with it. With no way of escaping Alkali Lake, luckily the group they come across another jet. 'Borrowed' from Stryker, this new and improved version definitely looks more like a bird than the Blackbird ever did. The James Bond-style jet doesn't make it out of the film intact.
Married To The Blob
One of the 'biggest' Easter eggs you will find is Angel's Berlin cage fight. Not only does it echo when Rogue finds Wolverine back in X-Men (2000), you may also recognise Angel's first opponent - none other than Fred Dukes, a.k.a. Blob. Kevin Durand's Blob from X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a boxer, so putting his death in the film aside, was his next step cage fighting in Berlin? Clearly the two Blobs are not one and the same, and we are one step closer to wiping X-Men Origins: Wolverine off the face of the earth!
Roll Up, Roll Up
Angel's most notable opponent was Nightcrawler, who proves that it isn't only Quicksilver who has family problems! In comic canon, Nightcrawler is the offspring of Mystique and Azazel (deceased). When Mystique ditches her baby, Azazel takes him to a gypsy who works at a Bavarian Circus, where Kurt spends most of his childhood and the Nightcrawler persona is born. We don't really get any of this origin and it is unknown whether Singer intends for Nightcrawler to be Mystique's son. Azazel was killed after First Class, but I guess Jennifer Lawrence could have got pregnant and had a baby in that time. We do get some illusion of Nightcrawler's past though; the cage fighting announcer look suspiciously like a circus ring master, whilst Kurt's first costume is reminiscent of his circus-wear too.
Long Live The King
You would be wrong in thinking that Apocalypse is the all and powerful during the film; once again it is Michael Fassbender's Magneto who rules the roost. At the school, Charles is reading a passage to his students from TH White's The Once And Future King. As well as being a story about power and justice, it also has the idea that the powerful should automatically rule. Sound familiar? Apocalypse is not the first time the book has played significance in the world of X-Men. Magneto is seen reading the same book during his (brief) incarceration in a plastic prison in X2.
In their extended hiatus away from each other, Moira MacTaggert reveals to Charles that she has/had a husband, but more importantly a son. MacTaggert's throwaway son is in fact Proteus, one of the X-Men's biggest foes - this could explain the worried look on Xavier's face. Jubilee, Caliban and Storm all played small parts in Apocalypse and Singer is definitely queuing up characters for following installments. We know that Proteus is likely to be one of these, because Singer previously told Empire Magazine:
I’d love to use Proteus somehow. There’s a lot visually you could do with a character like that.
The Six Million Dollar Man
If you weren't busy questioning why ten years later Quicksilver still lives in his mother's basement, then you might have noticed a nod to Bryan Singer's past. In 2011 the director was tipped to remake a Six Million Dollar Man movie, in which Leonardo DiCaprio was rumoured to star. The project never got off the ground, but during Apocalypse we see Quicksilver wearing a Six Million Dollar Man t-shirt. For the moment, this is the closest we will get to Singer bringing it to our screens.
Third Time Lucky
At least we can agree the third one is always the worst.
As the new recruits bunk off to go and watch Return of the Jedi, they comment that the third film in a franchise is always the worst. This is most likely a dig at the maligned X-Men: The Last Stand, which was directed by Brett Ratner instead of Singer. However, given Apocalypse's average 52% Rotten Tomatoes score, Singer could inadvertently be pointing to Apocalypse, his third film since the franchise was rebooted with X-Men: First Class. Don't tempt fate Bryan!
Back To The Future
Charles's stirring speech to Erik at the end of the Apocalypse echoes the closing of X-Men (2000) when the two play chess in Erik's cell. In Apocalypse, the two contemplate the future of the school and Charles's new intention to fight fire with fire. Charles uses his 'pity' line, and the films come full circle. Pretty Mag-neato hey:
Magneto: Does it ever wake you in the middle of the night? The feeling that one day they will pass that foolish law or one just like it, and come for you? And your children?
Xavier: It does, indeed.
Magneto: What do you do, when you wake up to that?
Xavier: I feel a great swell of pity for the poor soul who comes to that school... looking for trouble.
Before Storm's Egyptian market chase, we see Apocalypse wigged out by all the modern technology. The song he hears playing on the radio is in fact an Egyptian version of Flock of Seagulls's "I Ran". What is the significance of this? The iconic hairstyle (of the band's name) is the inspiration for Nightcrawler's hair in the comics. Although we got more of an emo look for the character in Apocalypse, Singer was nodding to his origins. If you want a real taste of the '80s, Nightcrawler's jacket may look like his usual attire, but is more Michael Jackson than ever. It looks a lot like the "Thriller" jacket, which came out in 1982 - one year before Apocalypse is set.
Unfortunately one of the best Easter eggs didn't even make the final cut! Before the film's release we had this teaser image of Cyclops holding up an LP, with a rather famous woman on the front - Dazzler, the disco-diva, turned X-Men.
Earlier this year a social media post by producer Simon Kinberg showed Taylor Swift, a bald McAvoy and Sophie Turner partying together. It sparked rumours that it would be the "Bad Blood" singer who would be flexing her pipes as Alison Blaire, but never went further than that. When you think X-Men and '80s, you automatically think Dazzler; it was the decade when she was first introduced to the comics, so Singer had the perfect opportunity to bring her into the films!
The most unsubtle egg in the entire film is the 'Dark Phoenix Saga', in which Jean Grey becomes possessed by a space entity known as the Phoenix Force. Singer has expressed that he wants to possibly take future films of the franchise into space, as well as exploring the Dark Phoenix Saga again after X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand. Some feel that Famke Janssen's version may not have done it quite right. Sophie Turner's visions show an apocalyptic future, presumably created by Phoenix, with even Professor Xavier seeing this coming a mile off. As for the future of Jean, some wondered why the younger cast took a visit to Alkali Lake, other than to save the team. Ignoring the gross age difference, we get to see the first blossoming of Wolverine and Jean's very complicated relationship. Messing with the timelines AGAIN, we are shown that is is Jean who gives Logan that tiny fragment of his memory back!
Highway To The Danger Zone
It's back! After a brief opening sequence in X-Men: The Last Stand, the mutant's training room, dubbed the Danger Room, is back in action. The Last Stand saw the likes of Kitty Pryde, Storm and Wolverine face off against holographic Sentinels. The new and improved team close the film by battling (what appears to be) fully functioning robotic Sentinels. Did they not learn from the mistakes of Days of Future Past? The room is one of the Xavier Mansion's most famous parts- along with the basketball court, it is a constant of the comics.
Out With The Old
The film's finale gave us a whole new lineup of mutants. One of the saddest parts of the film was when Mystique revealed that it was only herself and Beast that remained from the First Class lineup. Now, as we head into the fourth rebooted film, as well a decade jump to the '90s, the team ain't looking so bad. It may have taken Singer 16 years, but we finally seem to be getting some classic costumes in the mix. Mystique's white sleeveless number and Cyclops's straps are a fanboy's wet dream, although we are still waiting for a yellow spandex Wolverine...one can but hope!
So what did you think? The articles are flowing and the speculation of where Bryan Singer's '90s inspired X-Men film will take us next is ongoing. That post credit scene at Alkali Lake is clearly lining up something Wolverine inspired, but whether that will work its way into Wolverine 3 or the next X-Men outing remains to be seen. Whilst your waiting, why not pop over to Quicksilver's and play a game of Ms. Pacman? Chances are he is still living there.
What else did you spot during the film? Sound off below!