WARNING: Mild spoilers ahead for X-Men: Apocalypse.
When Apocalypse was announced as the villain for the next X-Men film, fans were delighted. A longtime favorite baddie from the comics, Apocalypse is arguably the most powerful mutant to ever exist, and his impact on Earth's history is fascinating. He's attacked pretty much the whole world several times over in the comics, making him one of the most fearsome foes the X-Men have ever faced.
So how does Oscar Isaac's version of the character measure up?
Building A Better World
The Big blue Bad of X-Men: Apocalypse is your typical megalomaniacal villain, and he gives new weight to the term "delusions of grandeur." As the world's first mutant (apparently), En Sabah Nur amassed a group of followers, choosing the best mutants among them to be his horsemen. As X-Men: Apocalypse begins, we're taken back to ancient Egypt, where En Sabah Nur is worshipped as a god.
Apocalypse's motivations are interesting to dissect. Clearly, he lusts for power and conquest, but a lot of his rhetoric is about helping mutantkind and replacing humanity with a "better world." Isaac worked this into his preparation for the character, combining Apocalypse's supposed love for mutants with his mission as a self-proclaimed god:
"I’ve been reading the script a lot and trying to come at — for me — an interesting angle, definitely focusing on the fact [that his character] is the embodiment of the second coming of the judgments of God and that energy going in."
Apocalypse's powers are certainly godlike, and they're one of the most interesting visual elements of the movie.
X-Men: Apocalypse is definitely one of, if not the most visually stunning film in the franchise, and a lot of that is due to Apocalypse, as he harnesses the power of other mutants, leveling and rebuilding cities. In this way he's an effective villain, as we don't doubt his power. And yet he could have had a little more depth.
The Mighty Conqueror
The most interesting scene with Apocalypse, by far, is when Storm takes him back to her home. At this point, Apocalypse is still disorientated, but he soon learns of the horrors of the modern world, quickly taking up a mission to save Earth from humanity.
This is fascinating for many reasons. We get an intimate and agonizingly brief insight into Apocalypse's mindset and how he views humanity as a plague. Then there's the fascinating manipulation of Storm, who we know to be a good person — Apocalypse says that the world needs to be cleansed, using the verb in Ancient Egyptian. When Storm asks for the translation, he corrects it to "saved."
Unfortunately, after this Apocalypse does veer more into larger-than-life baddie territory. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing — the character is a classic villain, after all. But it's a shame we didn't get to see more of his talents for manipulation as much as his epic mutant power.
It would also have been awesome to see Apocalypse's long-term impact on humanity. In the comics, he travels the world over ages, convincing culture after culture to worship him as a god. His impact on the ancient world can't be minimized, and it would have given more weight to Apocalypse as a villain for us to see how he shaped and hampered humanity's growth in the past. This also could have given some context to his final words, as he marvels at Jean's transformation into the Phoenix, and seems to understand the impact this will have on humanity.
But alas, films have a limited run time, and even without seeing his past we can rest assured that Apocalypse's Apocalypse really is the terrifyingly powerful villain we know and love from the comics.
Which comic villain would you like to see the X-Men battle in the movies next?
[Source: Monkeys Fighting Robots podcast via Cinemablend]