Call it an occupational hazard but when I watch a movie, I often try to connect the spiritual aspects and life messages advocated by the filmmakers.. The X-Men movies all are obvious allegories on the virtue of celebrating diversity. The newest film in the franchise, X-Men Apocalypse, expands on that theme through multiple spiritual references throughout the film. The question is, “Is there an underlined meaning or connection to all of them?” Maybe, maybe not.. At the very least it is an allegory on the classic battle between good and evil. (Watch this very well produced film for its exceptional cinematography then watch it again for its theology).
Some of the spiritual references:
- Apocalypse (the original mutant) states the names of many false gods that he has gone by.
- Magneto yells at God about why his life is so full of tragedy.
- Nightcrawler constantly prays and genuflects.
- A military leader says on the phone, “Our prayers have been answered.”
- Even the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse from Revelation 6 are referenced.
It is hard to miss the underlying theme that the “ruler of this world” (Apocalypse) and the Christian soldiers (X-Men)are at war. Satan wants to destroy the world and the good in it. He claims to be a god and even tried to get Jesus (God the Son) to bow down to him. In the movie, Apocalypse has one goal; to destroy the world in order to create a world he can rule. He can only do this by using others who have the power to tear the world apart. This is exactly the strategy Satan employs: he convinces people that following him will make them powerful and promises people whatever it takes without regard for telling the truth..
The counter to Apocalypse is Professor Xavier. He stands against Apocalypse by giving his followers a way out. He tells the Horsemen that there is a better way. However, Xavier, who has the power to control any and all people with his mind and to bend them to his will, chooses to allow free will. This is a picture of exactly the way Our Heavenly Father has chosen to deal with us – He grants us free will rather than imposing His will on us. God does not have to give us free will, He can force us to follow Him, but he does not want slaves but willing followers. So He sent His Son to provide a way out and then gives us the freedom to choose whether to follow Him or not.
Choosing to follow God makes us enlisted soldiers engaged in spiritual warfare against the god of this world. Christians stand for truth, expose Satan’s lies and deception, and stand strong against the destroyer of lives.
Another spiritual aspect in the film, focuses on Magneto. He symbolizes the internal battle that wages within each of us; doing what is easy vs doing what is right. Magneto is living a good life, loving his family and choosing to do no harm. He is doing what is right: which is difficult, not easy. Then tragedy strikes, he loses his family and this breaks him. He gives up and does what is easy – lash out with his power to destroy humans. The easy way often leads to our destruction: selfishness is easy, selflessness is hard.
No matter how bad things seem or how hopeless and trapped we feel there’s always an escape, always. But we have to make the choice to allow God to forgive us. We have to choose to do what is right instead of what is easy. Magneto brings this internal turmoil to the screen. I think it’s why so many of us connect to him as a character. He’s struggles with his choices of right and wrong just as many of us do.
X-Men Apocalypse is a great Bryan Singer film. I enjoyed it visually. I enjoyed the story line. I appreciated seeing the X-Men being portrayed as more grounded characters. The spiritual allegory and helpful life lessons were just icing on the cake!