Oscar Isaac’s mysterious new villain might have many names, but X-Men: Apocalypse represents only one thing: Bryan Singer and 20th Century Fox’s biggest mutant epic to date.
Indeed, Singer and the studio have gone for broke in crafting a superhero film intent on being Irwin Allen disaster movie™ in scope—something that is certainly hinted at in the margins of the new X-Men: Apocalypse trailer. Yet, there is something strangely more insidious about this bit of marketing besides the fact that it is shrouding us from a close-up look at the Apocalypse make-up on Oscar Isaac’s face. Rather the trailer seems to be focused on several things: establishing the return of the franchise’s biggest non-Hugh Jackman stars with James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and of course Jennifer Lawrence; the inclusion of long-missed fan favorite X-Men like Jean Grey, Cyclops, and Storm; and a villain whose menace is sold less on CGI and more on ominous allusions to Biblical End Times and heresy.
If Bryan Singer can really try and tie in his mutant villain just as much into the world’s “Good Book” as he does to comic books, there might be more to this thing than a hero vs. villain slug match. But now we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s actually look at all the cool stuff we glimpse in the trailer below, and why it should make Marvel Comics fans giddy:
The X-Men Find God
The first few images of X-Men: Apocalypse certainly would seem to herald the end of the world. In fact, it’s a collection of humanity’s worst fears as dreamed up by Jean Grey. But of special interest is this mysterious Egyptian-like silhouette that Jean imagines has entered Cerebro. It could be Apocalypse, but the figure seems too lithe and feminine for that.
Also among the visions–which include images of real hurricanes, floods, and the requisite nuclear explosion–is this rather unconvincing CGI of a city melting in apparent lava. Hopefully, these special effects are (very) early but perhaps Apocalypse’s master plan is all right here in these quick flashes?
Consider that we also saw a clip of a rather menacing sun and its flares, and already one’s mind might stretch toward the threat of geomagnetic reversal and its very science-based form of Armageddon. One of the most popular End Times yarns amongst doomsayers is that we are long overdue for a geomagnetic reversal of the poles that create a magnetic field around Earth (and this is true). When that happens, North will become South and vice versa, but it also would briefly leave Earth open to massive bouts of radiation if a solar flare happened to be reaching our planetary location.
Am I overthinking this or could this be how Apocalypse chooses to incinerate the “weak?”
And here also is our first image of young Jean Grey, now played by Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner. Given her famous red hair on that HBO series, she certainly looks the part of a teenaged Jean and seems convincing with an American accent (if however briefly heard). It’s perhaps too early to tell, but the fact that she dreams of a world on fire and can prophesy our doom might suggest that we’ll see her burn up the screen in other ways for X-Men: Apocalypse.
After all, consider that Bryan Singer loves the Phoenix Saga and still has been unable to do it in some form or another yet…
Look at Charles rocking that ’80s hair. It might be set in 1983, but the more playful McAvoy-Xavier from First Class appears to be back and ready for a stint on Miami Vice. Enjoy that hair while you can, Chuck.
And our first introduction to Apocalypse in motion is far more satisfying than those standalone pictures from a few months ago. Oscar Isaac is a tremendous actor–please go see Inside Llewyn Davis, A Most Violent Year,and Ex Machina right now if you haven’t already–and he hisses arrogance and a sense of ancient entitlement with his line readings. And I’m sure the “Yahweh” quote is sure to leave some viewers a wee bit uncomfortable.
We also see the back of his cloak before his face. In these pictures above, he apepars to be in Egypt, which is likely where he awakens in the 20th century, and certainly where he meets Storm. In the above image, you can see Storm with brown hair being seduced to the Mutant Dark Side by Apocalypse. Apparently that brown hair is going to turn white from this encounter, which is a small departure from the comics where she was born with white hair.
Moira McTaggert/Rose Byrne is back! She apparently still works for the CIA, as we see Charles’ wheelchair cross the Langley seal, but she is now focused on tracking the origin of the mutant species. And what she has discovered is quite unpleasant. Also, love the ’80s hair and pant suit.
Lucas Till is also back as Alex Summers/Havok. After only cameoing in X-Men: Days of Future Past, he would seem to have a bigger role in attending Langley with Xavier. Perhaps it’s because he has a son now in Xavier’s school? For while Alex Summers is Scott’s brother in the comics, the age difference in the movies might suggest a different familial relationship.
A shot of ancient Egypt. Given the architecture of the city surrounding this pyamid, it is safe to say that we will be getting flashbacks to Apocalypse’s origin as En Sabah Nur.
Oscar Isaac’s Apocalypse costume is revealed in snippets here. And rest easy internet fans, because it is not purple or reminiscent of Ivan Ooze. Rather it looks to be filmed as a blue-ish gray with a very tactile and metallic look. While he might not be eight feet tall, he is definitely in the room with Storm and looks therefore so much more promising than the CGI used to realize similar villains in other recent superhero movies (cough-Thanos-cough).
In the bottom two images, it is likely his first meeting with Magneto, which in the Comic-Con trailer memorably features Magneto asking, “Who the fuck are you?” and Apocalypse responding, “Come and see.” Sadly, that epic question and retort will not be in a green band trailer anytime soon, but it raises a curious question about why Magneto is in hiding still 10 years after Days of Future Past, needing to be recruited by a new bigger bad.
Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe this is Nicholas Hoult in mid-transformation between “Hank” and “Beast.”
Jennifer Lawrence is seen here rocking some big ’80s hair. It should also be noted that she is now identifying herself as Raven more than Mystique since she has rejected Magneto’s militant ideology. Further, she is living in hiding because Mystique is the most famous mutant in the world after saving President Nixon’s life from Magneto at the end of X-Men: Days of Future Past . That’s why Lawrence is so rarely in the make-up. That’s their story anyway, and tehy’re sticking to it.
Our first good look at Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler and Lana Condor as Jubilee. Nightcrawler still very much looks like Bryan Singer’s design from X2, which is the blue skin covered in religious tattoos and iconography. However, Condor’s Jubilee looks like she just stepped out of the comic book page and is ready to hit the arcade! Look below for proof.
So now comes our first official acknowledgement of the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” In the comics, the Four Horsemen are mutants that Apocalypse further genetically manipulates and conditions via mind control to do his bidding.
While Storm has never been a member of the Four Horsemen in the comics, she was made into one in the X-Men: Evolution cartoon of all things. However, Storm has always had a complicated history with the X-Men before she was recruited on the team. Even more enticing, however, is her white haired mohawk, which is directly out of the popular punk image created by Chris Claremont and Paul Smith in Uncanny X-Men #173 in 1983.
Also memorably, the popular 1990s cartoon, X-Men: The Animated Series, only used the mohawk when adapting another famous Apocalypse story from Marvel, Age of Apocalypse. While the movie X-Men: Apocalypse is certainly not based on this story (it would be too similar to the alternate universe angle utilised in Days of Future Past) this is nonetheless a cool little nod.
And here we see that Apocalypse (who is not purple) has arrived inside the X-Mansion with Storm, Magneto, and Archangel (who we’re getting to in a moment) by his side. It’s a bit of a shame to see Magneto and Xavier battling again, but you know how those two kids are.
It would seem that in the absence of Xavier and Magneto, Mystique/Raven is taking center stage with a leadership role. Undoubtedly comic book purists are rolling their eyes, but this was well established in X-Men: Days of Future Past that she chose peace instead of war, and a middle path instead of Magneto’s violence, that she could be redeemed. So, the character growth did prepare her to “one day all be with us” as Charles said. Of course, that also means more warfare, but hey it’s a superhero movie.
Presumably, they are flying into an apocalyptic battle since Beast, Quicksilver, Jean, and Cyclops are there, along with Moira. I do wish their costumes were more colorful, however. And for that matter, in the heat of battle why is Mystique still not blue?
Oh there she’ blue! If you look carefully, the image clearly features Moira (or Jean), Hank, Quicksilver in the center, and a blue and defeated Mystique at the bottom left. I theorize that this is right after the attack on the mansion where the X-Men attempt (and fail) to save a captured Charles from being taken by Apocalypse. Perhaps he takes them all to this strange looking holding cell with alien technology?
The next generation of X-Men are here. The upcoming X-Men 7 will likely belong to Sophie Turner as Jean, Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler, and Tye Sheridan as Cyclops (who we are now seeing for the first time). Also in a telltale line, Scott tells Mystique that not all of them can control their powers. Mystique snaps back, in her most Katniss Everdeen-esque line-reading, “Then don’t, this is war!”
Indeed it is, and perhaps the best way to win it is to let the Phoenix rise from the ashes of the X-Men’s defeat. Hint, hint.
Ah, now that is Apocalypse! Here we see the grand master baddie growing to be supervillain of unusual size. This is a classic trope of the comics that will hopefully play out something like this in the third act:
However, this particular movie sequence pictured above is probably for the moment where he goes inside Charles Xavier’s head (hence Charles walking). It would appear that Charles Xavier tries to read his mind with Cerebro, and Apocalypse is so powerful that he “breaks” into Cerebro to both monologue to all the mutants in the world that Charles’ mind is connected to while also whopping Xavier’s behind all up to the cerebral plane. This is also a classic “X-Men” moment where we see a battle of psychic powers between Xavier and [insert fellow psychic like Jean, Emma Frost, etc.]. But this is the first time it’s been onscreen in earnest, and it’s nerdy cool.
Quicksilver is forced to go fast here. Perhaps too fast given the look on his face is not so smug this time.
Archangel, the original and best Horseman of the Apocalypse. Indeed, Warren Worthington III has always been a bit of an early adopter as one of the five original X-Men in the initial Stan Lee/Jack Kirby run and then the first Horseman of Death that was turned into a colorful (and very ’80s day-glo) villain in 1988’s X-Factor #24. Alas, while they adapted the metallic and fiendish wings, he is not the colors purple, blue, and hot pink. I can’t imagine why…
If anyone can figure out what this is, I am all ears. I really want it to be Phoenix related, but that young girl whose back is to the camera looks too young to be Sophie Turner, and there appears to be someone flying above the explosion. Any guesses?
Just an awesomely comic booky shot of Oscar Isaac in his full glory. Yes there is an A on his suit and from this angle, it actually looks pretty cool. Again, I don’t understand the fanboy desire for him to look like a CGI cartoon.
A questionaly digital shot of New York being destroyed by Apocalypse. That’s fine and all, but after The Dark Knight Rises, I suspect people are a little tired of seeing those bridges go boom. Also, including the (historically accurate) World Trade Center in the background of said shot is also a wee bit uncomfortable.
Probably the moment Xavier loses his fight with Apocalypse in his head. After all, eyes going black is never a good sign. I wonder if he will soon be under Apocalypse’s thrall?
That certainly appears to be the case. He is finally bald Xavier here, but his face does not suggest friendliness.
So there are all of our observations. Did we miss anything? Does the trailer leave you excited, apathetic, or downright apocalyptic in your reaction? Let us know.