X-Men Apocalypse Isn’t About the End of the World Jul11

X-Men Apocalypse Isn’t About the End of the World...

One of my favourite parts of X-Men: Apocalypse is the scene toward the end of the movie, when various mutants pool their abilities together to rebuild Xavier’s mansion. Jean Gray hoists stones and beams with her telekinesis near a floating Magneto in plainclothes; Storm, who with Magneto had been under Apocalypse’s thrall, stands among the group as well. It’s a fitting picture of the possibility of renewal after and amid brokenness—the literal rebuilding of the mansion parallels the rebuilding of the X-Men team and the possibility that Xavier’s strained relationships with Magneto and Mystique can also be rebuilt. It’s also a very familiar type of scene. I’m hard-pressed to think of a single superhero movie that doesn’t end with an explosive (literally), destructive climax, followed by either a subsequent rebuilding, or at least the acknowledgement that a loss has been suffered. The rebuilding generally represents some restoration—whether it’s of a team, of an individual body, or of a literal building like the mansion. X2: X-Men United, for example, also involves an invaded and destroyed mansion that must be rebuilt. The Avengers leaves us with the sense that they have finally assembled. Groot sacrifices himself for his friends but, rather than being gone, regrows as a tiny shoot with a penchant for the Jackson 5. At the end of The Dark Knight, Batman’s infamous reputation is further disgraced, and viewers mourn the injustice of it, because we crave public, positive acknowledgement of his crusade. Disaster, in X-Men: Apocalypse, isn’t only something that can be overcome—it’s something that was defeated before some of us were born. This trope of costly destruction followed either by rebuilding, or the longing for renewal kept just out of reach, isn’t limited to superhero stories, of course, but superhero stories tend...