By Travis Trombley
As a sequel to First Class and Days of Future Past, the preceding two films in the X-Men prequel trilogy, comparison is not only fair, but required. These installments, directed by Matthew Vaughn and Brian Singer respectively, stand apart not just as good superhero films, but as well-made, character-driven cinema, especially the latter of the two. Understanding and appreciating X-Men: Apocalypse, also directed by Brian Singer, mandates an understanding of the narrative constructed across these two films.
In First Class, Charles and Erik present opposed ideologies: peaceful coexistence and defensive, egocentric disdain. Erik is the oh-so relatable pragmatic consequentialist, and Charles tows naive idealism. In the end, Erik chooses the tragic path, embracing revenge and conflict while simultaneously being proven, well, kind of right. In Days of Future Past, also directed by Singer, a broken Charles finds the will to hope again, putting his trust in his friend-gone-awry Mystique to refuse the vengeance Erik embraced so as to allow for understanding and peace.