Bryan Singer ‘Very Sensitive’ Towards Collateral Damage in ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’, Says Simon Kinberg


There’s a lot of destruction in X-Men: Apocalypse. More so than any other X-Men film, in fact. But there’s not a lot of on-screen genocide. Sure, bombs get deployed, landmarks crumble and bridges are destroyed, but only a mere few are seen in direct peril. More than a handful of fans and critics have considered that among the film’s most fatal flaws. According to screenwriter/producer Simon Kinberg, however, this was a very deliberate move on director Bryan Singer’s part.

When discussing the film during Empire Podcast‘s Spoiler Special, Kinberg had the following to say:

We tried to keep it that the things that [Magneto] was destroying felt almost more like monuments or rooftops of buildings rather than a building toppling over and people dying. It’s one of the things that Bryan’s very sensitive to. I may be less sensitive to it. Actually, I’m sort of more of a genre geek where I’m okay if cities are destroyed. Bryan’s very sensitive to collateral damage. If you go back and watch the movie, it’s things like bridges ripping apart and cars floating up in the air, but you don’t see cars dive-bombing into the water. Shipping containers flying through the air, but they don’t smash into any bodies. The top of the Sydney Opera House ripping off, but the base of it remaining intact. We tried to be careful about that collateral damage. It’s something people are very critical about in other movies that we know about.

*cough* Man of Steel *cough*

It’s an understandable concern, to be clear. And very few films have been able to strike that balance between grave danger and lighthearted heroics, especially in an appropriate fashion. Even when they do, like Captain America: Civil War, it’s hard to communicate that level of loss and tragedy and not have it weigh heavy on the presiding. But I understand where Singer is coming from (and, by the way, I did like the movie).

But speaking of lighthearted and Singer’s choices, the director himself also took this platform to discuss Ally Sheedy’s unexpected cameo, where she Cyclops’ (Tye Sheridan) teacher early in the film, and how she came aboard the franchise builder in such an untraditional manner.

Two identical twin filmmaker friends of mine, Gary and Edmund Entin, who made a film called Sins of Our Youth, that Ally was in and she has an amazing couple of scenes in it. I hadn’t seen her work in a while and she just rocked it in their film. One of them suggested, “It’s that time period, why don’t you put Ally in there?” And I rewatched WarGames, where she plays the obnoxious person in the classroom, and, of course, there’s Breakfast Club. So to switch roles and have her be the annoyed teacher would be such a fun thing to do.

Hey, you won’t find me complaining about bringing Ally back to the big screen. In fact, while you’re at it Hollywood, why not keep a good thing going, huh? You’re bringing back everyone and their mother anyway.

Source: Empire Podcast

Will Ashton

Will Ashton

Will is a writer for Heroic Hollywood, and a lot of other places too. One day he'll become Jack Burton. Just you wait and see.

  • Peter James

    Having that massive level of destruction with virtually zero collateral damage or human deaths, is mind-boggingly unrealistic.

    Forget every other fantastical or fictional element of the movie.

    It defies logic that you’d have so much destruction on such a scale in heavily populated areas and that no one would die.

    Fact of the matter is that people DID die (they showed people running away from the part where the Brooklyn bridge was being ripped apart, and it’s ridiculous to suggest that they all survived), but they just chose not to show it.

    Which is fine.
    But then don’t be such big hypocrites about death and destruction in other movies like Man of Steel (or even the ones people don’t like to acknowledge or pretend didn’t happen like Avengers, AoU (which dropped a building on the Hulk on top of a busy street) or even in Civil War (where they at least acknowledged it as a major part of the story))

    You want to watch superheroes duke it out with other superheroes or supervillains in heavily populated areas with virtually zero deaths, then maybe cartoons are more your speed.

    • xxjinzaxx

      Even the animated versions of superheroes have citywide destruction. The comic book pages ooze collateral damage. But only here in the US do we pussyfoot around the subject. Funny thing, that in Japan, they embrace their character superpower/abilities and celebrate those powers when they go off at full power. Destruction is part of the game; part of the story; par for the coarse.

      It is very unclear what the end game is whenever superhero films are unevenly criticized over destruction. Are they trying to ruin the genre?

    • Axxell

      For the record, the Avengers movies DO acknowledge death; they’ve done so from the beginning. If you watch the ending scene of the first one, you see memorials popped up on the streets on behalf of those who died. They wouldn’t have done that if they somehow had a problem with it.

      • AshWilliams1975

        The Avengers movies would be such a better franchise if they’d stuck with the original idea for the first movie.

        The tragic bookends would have made it a truly great film aside form the sheer Spectacle it was.

        It also would have made Civil War much more meaningful.

        • Axxell

          What “original idea” are you talking about?

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