My Opinion on X-Men: Apocalypse Billboard Controversy

X-Men Apocalypse BillboardHello interweb, Nate here.  So X-Men: Apocalypse it theaters this past weekend and yes I saw it.  I’ve been slow to review it because to be perfectly honest I really don’t want to.  It was bad as to be expected from a Bryan Singer X-Man movie and as the huge X-Men fan that I am it did kinda just annoy me on how poorly they adapted the characters for the film.  Now with that said, I will review the movie and that review will probably be up either tonight or tomorrow but in the mean time the advertisement for the film seems to be attracting more controversy than the film itself.

So a woman named Rose McGowan, who I personally have never heard of in my life, recently complained about the billboard advertisement for the X-Men movie where Jennifer Lawrence’s character, Mystique, is being choked by Oscar Issac’s character, Apocalypse, who is the villain of the movie.  As quoted by McGowan found on the Hollywood Reporter:

“There is a major problem when the men and women at 20th Century Fox think casual violence against women is the way to market a film. There is no context in the ad, just a woman getting strangled. The fact that no one flagged this is offensive and frankly, stupid. The geniuses behind this, and I use that term lightly, need to to take a long hard look at the mirror and see how they are contributing to society. Imagine if it were a black man being strangled by a white man, or a gay male being strangled by a hetero? The outcry would be enormous. So let’s right this wrong. 20th Century Fox, since you can’t manage to put any women directors on your slate for the next two years, how about you at least replace your ad?”

Now I’m kinda curious, did McGowan actually watched the movie?  Because if she actually saw the movie than she’d know that that picture was taken from a scene in the movie where Apocalypse chokes Mystique after she does some stuff with her shape-shifting powers (spoilers).

In the movie, Apocalypse is the bad guy and Mystique is one of the heroes.  The thing that annoys me is that if the billboard instead chose to use the scene where Apocalypse shoves Professor X to the floor and you see a giant Apocalypse with Professor X under his giant hand, people wouldn’t care!  Heck, if any male character was being taken down by Apocalypse than this wouldn’t be controversial.  But because Mystique happens to be a woman this promotes “casual violence against women”.

The superhero genre features violence because superheroes are crime fighters.  Now I won’t deny that there are some gender-based problems within the genre, but I don’t believe that the genre is as sexist as a lot of people make it out to be.  If you are a superhero and you are facing a super powerful villain, like Apocalypse, than you have to expect the possibility of getting hit, punched, harmed, killed, or (yes) choked.  To tell me that women in these types of stories can’t be harmed in some way, shape, or form, but men can I find to honestly be more offensive because that’s suggesting that men can handle the violence but women aren’t strong enough to.  But no because the ad is showing a male character choking out a female character than it’s sexist and is promoting violence against women.

Heck, Mystique is a villain in the comics and has done some horrible stuff within her history and McGowan is completely ignoring that (or, more likely, is ignorant of it).  Within the Marvel comic books, Mytique has killed men, women, and children, and while she has done good things before, she’s usually depicted as a rather vile character.  The only reason she’s presented as a hero within the film is because she’s being played by Jennifer Lawrence whose a popular actress thanks to Hunger Games.  But if Mystique has done some vile things in the comics (such as murder) than why is it so wrong to see her being choked like this by the villain of the movie?

Here’s another quote of hers about the “issue”:

“I’ll close with a text my friend sent, a conversation with his daughter. It follows: ‘My daughter and I were just having a deep discussion on the brutality of that hideous X-Men poster yesterday. Her words: ‘Dad, why is that monster man committing violence against a woman?’ This from a 9-year-old. If she can see it, why can’t Fox?”

Now first off I do want to add that that wording seems kind of odd for a 9-year old to say so I almost doubt the validity of this conversation.  However for the sake of argument let’s assume that this really happened.  If I was the dad I would’ve simply reply with: “The monster man’s name is Apocalypse and Apocalypse is an evil, evil man.  He wishes to destroy the X-Men and Apocalypse does not discriminate is violence to men or women.  He wants to destroy all of the X-Men equally because the X-Men are superheroes.”  That’s it!  It’s not lying, it’s not stretching the truth, and it’s not watering anything down in fear that it might be too much for a 9-year old to handle.  That’s exactly what happens within the context of the film and that is what they are advertising and there is nothing wrong with that.

Now before I end this I really should point something out.  Within the context of the Singer X-Men universe, Mystique has been established to be a strong fighter and a dangerous mutant.  So with that said, isn’t the billboard advertising how powerful Apocalypse is considering how strong we know Mystique is?  Granted Mystique isn’t the most powerful mutant established within the universe, but unless you were a powerful character it’s not likely that you would even be able to think about being in that position shown within the ad.  So at the end of the day the advertisement is simply showing you how powerful Apocalypse is in hopes that you’ll spend money on this movie.  Although please don’t because it sucked and the rights to the X-Men should go back to Marvel.


End Poll


    1. As a female I don’t find this sexist it is just meant to show how powerful the villain is. It’s an action movie both men and women are going to get hurt in battle.

      1. Mostly because after seeing Captain America: Civil War I’m want to rest up on action movies till Suicide Squad.

  1. Also the Dead Robin in Batman v Superman is confirmed to be Jason Todd so that means we have a high chance of getting a Nightwing movie.

      1. One Thing I heard about is that later DC Movies will be directed by directors of different ethnicities. So that will be interesting.

      1. One Positive I like they kept Lois Lane & Superman together. Another positive they are gonna tone down on the darkness and make it a little bit lighter.

  2. I definitely don’t think that by itself it would have been all that bad. My main issue with this poster has been that people have been using it to vocalize how much they can’t stand the actress playing Mystique. Even Fox used it as their twitter background for a while (Or it may have been the FB page) I think it got a little out of hand and ultimately it may have been a bad idea as a poster.

      1. That’s unfortunately it, she has become so popular that a lot of people don’t like her as a result. It’s like Superman or Batman. A lot of people don’t like them just because they’re so popular. I actually thought Lawrence did a good job as Mystique and she’s certainly a good actress. She may not have felt a whole lot like Mystique in some aspects since she was really out of character in this film, but as a loose adaption her character was one of the more likable ones.

      2. She just doesn’t seem interested in playing the character. I mean it was kinda obvious that she didn’t even want to wear the blue makeup for the movie. And Mystique is not a hero.

      3. True, but even phoning it in her character was a lot better than the other leads imo. They really wanted to sell the fact that she was Katniss from the Hunger Games as well so they definitely didn’t want the makeup on for too long. It ultimately didn’t matter much tickets wise though.

      4. Idk, I also found it to be kinda contradictory to her “mutant and proud” thing. Like in one of the mivies Nightcrawler asked her why she didn’t try to be normal and she replied with “Because we shouldn’t have to be”. All that was tossed aside here.

      5. Yes, that was totally retconed. Just another one of the big plot holes. I think the writer just mainly didn’t want to care about the previous 2 films. After all, Magneto turning evil again and then turning good again felt completely redundant.

      6. The only reason I don’t want Marvel to have them fully is that they have too much right now. As it is, they can only make around 3-4 films a year so a lot of their franchises are left in limbo or worse…Netflix. If they got X-Men they wouldn’t be able to churn out the films as often as Fox, even if they aren’t so good.

      7. I guess but Marvel would actually make an X-Men adaptation. Fox doesn’t adapt the comics, they take the concepts and just toss them into a movie. Heck, the films don’t just let the characters have fun with their powers and that’s a big part of who the X-Men are. They’re different from society and they enjoy those differences and love their powers (most of them). In the movies everything’s all grim and bland and bleh.

        Also, most of the characters are poorly adapted.

      8. That’s true, it’s the classic quantity vs quality kind of thing. I would like to see Marvel’s happier approach for the films. Seeing the gang just have fun for a change would definitely be a welcome change.

      9. I like how the X-Men films takes the mutants as a metaphor for homophobia since that’s pretty much what the comics has evolved them into since their original metaphor of racism isn’t that big of a deal anymore, but even then the comics are still a bit more cheery than the movies. One of my favorite X-Men stories is New X-Men: Academy X which featured new teenaged mutants in the Xavier school and while it did get dark for some parts of it, you still got to see the kids enjoy being mutants and having fun with their powers. If Marvel could adapt that comic into a movie (or better yet a TV series) than I would probably fall in love with it

      10. Personally I always still thought of it as a racial one, but I suppose that the former can definitely still be used as well. I just don’t want to see more X-Men go the Ice Man route all of a sudden. I haven’t read enough X-Men comics, but one I liked a lot was X-Sanction although it barely counts. That comic was a masterpiece. I’d like a TV show as long as it isn’t Netflix. Another super gritty TV-MA X-Men title would be a shame.

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