X-Men: Apocalypse has received plenty of criticism for being a largely mediocre comic book film, and now some are also taking aim at the film’s advertising campaign.
Some billboards for the film depict a scene from the film in which Oscar Isaac’s Apocalypse chokes Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique. Among those blasting 20th Century Fox and Marvel for the billboard is actress – director Rose McGowan, who told The Hollywood Reporter on May 25:
“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?”
She continued: “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?”
McGowan isn’t the only one taking Fox to task for the billboard. Devin Faraci, editor-in-chief of the film site Birth.Movies.Death, agrees with her, calling the billboard “tone deaf as hell.”
“Images of violence against women are pretty common in the X-Men universe, which is a pretty violent universe. The problem is taking this one image out of context and having it be an image that is not fantastical in nature. Setting aside that Apocalypse and Mystique look like Smurfs, it’s just an image of a big guy choking out a smaller woman. I have wracked my brains trying to come up with an example of a marketing image like this featuring two men, and I’ve come up empty,” he told THR.
It doesn’t look like Fox has responded to request to take the billboards down. Given how many characters are in the film, it’s safe to say there were probably quite a few better options than the one they picked, though.