X-Men: Apocalypse Trailer Analysis

We examine 37 new images in Bryan Singer's X-Men: Apocalypse to discover how the mutant superheroes find religion.

And the superhero trailers just keep on coming. After weeks of seeing heroes versus heroes, and even more heroes in proverbial civil wars, the latest X-Men: Apocalypse trailer feels almost like a refreshing throwback: remember when superheroes fought villains instead of each other?

Also in the case of the latest Bryan Singer mutant epic, the X-Men are fighting more than just any old villain…  they will behold the glory of Apocalypse and tremble! For he is the rock on the eternal shore that all vessels must crash against and be destroyed.

Indeed, this is a villain Marvel fans have long wanted to see on the big screen, and his emergence in the form of Oscar Isaac comes with what appears to be a very different kind of X-Men movie. While there are still Singer’s favorite characters front and center with Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), Magneto (Michael Fassbender), and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) at the epicenter of this cataclysmic event—and completing the last leg of the X-Men: First Class trilogy—the film appears more like a comic book in terms of scope, costumes, and wanton destruction. Not even a poorly chosen Coldplay song can diminish its sense of scale.

So without further ado, let’s dig in and see what we’ve learned from the latest X-Men: Apocalypse trailer.

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The trailer begins with a callback to Bryan Singer’s previous X-Men films. In this exchange between Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr, we are hearkened back to the very last scene of the original X-Men from 2000 where Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen trade barbs and chess moves. However, this reminder of the past is also displaying a look toward the future since now the battle lines are drawn in the younger faces of Fassbender and McAvoy.

Still, I am not positive that their words are in the same scene. Magneto looks cleaned up and to be decked out in some quality ‘80s swag. He’s also clearly standing in the X-Men hallway underneath the mansion. Yet, we know from later in the trailer that he is bearded and far more modest in his attire when Apocalypse comes to recruit him.

Unless, this is a psychic vision, I would not be surprised if this is from the end of the film, and the parting words between old friends. In which case, Xavier already knows what has happened to his school… as the trailer shows us later.

As we already knew from the X-Men: Days of Future Past post-credits stinger, we’d be taking a further glimpse into the past… and into ancient Egypt. Here, we have what will likely be one of several flashbacks to Apocalypse’s origins, including a religious ceremony involving a very healthy and normal looking Oscar Isaac.

Which leads us to the next ominous curiosity…

This is obviously a religious ceremony in what appears to be the transference of Apocalypse’s essence into Isaac’s body, suggesting that Apocalypse is more than just the first mutant; he is also a nearly supernatural entity. While this is a departure from comicdom’s normal origin for the character, it is actually quite in line with how X-Men: The Animated Series once depicted Apocalypse possessing Fabian Cortez’s body to live again. Also, it sets up what I imagine to be the ticking clock of the film’s plot.

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In previous trailers and TV spots, we have seen Apocalypse kidnap Charles Xavier. But why? He already has Four Horsemen by that point. He is seeking to transfer his consciousness from his current Oscar Isaac body to James McAvoy’s (presumably he’d heal the legs too). Hence, the return to Egypt in the third act.

Is this also somewhat of an adaptation of the plot to The Mummy (1932) and its 1999 remake? Sure, but nobody seemed to care when Days of Future Past faintly resembled the early Terminator films.

Also, extra points for implying the Celestials’ technology here, which could mean future X-Men movies get Guardians of the Galaxy levels of nerdy.

Here is an image of Apocalypse recruiting his first Horseman, Alexandra Shipp’s Storm. What is also curious is that she has black hair in this scene. So, in the new continuity, Storm’s hair goes white because of the evil influence of Apocalypse’s power.

I’d turn gray too if I saw this guy staring at me…

Ah, here is Apocalypse in his immortal glory. For fans quick to complain online about casting a major talent like Oscar Isaac, because he isn’t over six feet tall, or for those that dreaded that we have practical effects instead of a CGI creation, you should rest easy. In a few seconds, Isaac oozes regal insidiousness. And apparently by just rolling his eyes back, he can also cause a whole room full of humans to drop dead. If we are to believe that these corpses were in the process of persecuting Magneto or his family, that would be enough to cause him to join the big A’s team.

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Unfortunately, it seems that online fan complaints have caused the studio and filmmakers to modulate Isaac’s voice. Personally, I hope they dial it back in the finished film, because he sounded much better in the previous trailer where the actor hissed his lines with a seductive menace.

Just a cool shot of Ben Hardy as Archangel and Olivia Munn as Psylocke.

We had a glimpse of this destruction in the X-Men: Apocalypse Super Bowl TV spot, but now it is quite evident that what we are seeing is the wrath of the Four Horsemen unleashed on the city of Cairo. Previously, it could have been almost any location (as we’ve seen visions of New York’s umpteenth destruction in a comic book movie in the very first Apocalypse trailer), but the final showdowns apparently will occur in an obliterated North African town, which makes Apocalypse and the Horsemen standing just outside of it all the more ominous.

What I am not sure about is who is causing the vehicles to disintegrate into mush like when newspaper ink meets water water. Perhaps this is one of the augmentations to Magneto’s power from Apocalypse? Unless of course, this is the actual power of the fiend himself.

These images of missiles (perhaps from the very timely Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” program?) still lead me to believe they’re part of Jean Grey’s bad dream visions. If those things are really going off, the Four Horsemen are the least of humanity’s worries.

Almost taking a cue from other fan concerns, this X-Men: Apocalypse trailer is working very hard to let you know that Jennifer Lawrence will spend at least part of the film in the iconic blue make-up. While previous trailers (and posters) have highlighted the fact that Lawrence is a star in this movie while in Mystique’s “human” form, there will be at least several scenes of her donning the blue skin at least one more time.

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I imagine that this is near the end of the film or in the scenes of Cairo’s ruined remains.

Speaking of ruins, here we have another callback to X2 with Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler, and Tye Sheridan as Cyclops following Mystique through the tunnels that lead outside of the X-Mansion. However, instead of sneaking out of the mansion, they appear to be going back into the subbasement area.

What reason would they have for this? Well…

The X-Mansion is getting totally destroyed in this movie. While Deadpool joked about that happening every couple of years in his own movie, the truth is the mansion has never been left in ash and ruins on film. Yet that is clearly what happens after Apocalypse and his minions visit. In addition to taking Charles (and probably doing unspeakable things to a few characters like Havok), they must completely burn the whole place down. Thus, Quicksilver’s big scene of the movie is running through the fire as fast as he can, trying to save all the students and children from burning to a crisp.

And just to highlight the point, buried much later in the trailer is Scott Summers returning to the remains of his school. Hence why Mystique needs to lead them back to the subbasement that might just have things like black jumpsuits and a handy dandy X-Jet to commandeer.

Also on the note of Quicksilver, when the movie begins he apparently is not yet an X-Man or living at Xavier’s school. Rather, he remains in the basement we previously saw him in during X-Men: Days of Future Past with an obviously concerned mother since it’s been at least 10 years of this. I wonder if finding out who his dad is might be what gets him out of the house?

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Still, things could be worse. He could have been killed off after one movie by a villain singing synergetic Disney tunes!

Mutants of unusual size? I don’t believe they exist.

If you wanted a big Apocalypse, here is your big Apocalypse. However, fans should be warned that this is clearly a psychic battle between Xavier and Apocalypse, with the big guy dominating the confrontation. It is unclear whether he can actually grow like that in the “real world,” but if he did, it might make sense to save it for the final film.

Also, the trailer confirms that Angel and Nightcrawler will know each other before things get biblical. From previous materials, it has been ascertained that Angel is a “show mutant” being exploited in Germany. Thus his meeting the German-born Nightcrawler makes sense, but it’s apparently in a kind of mutant cockfight with the mutants acting as the chickens.

It is still unclear if this version of Angel, or Warren Worthington III to be exact, will even come from money and affluence. However, he certainly would be susceptible to Apocalypse’s offer in such a lifestyle.

William Stryker is in the movie, because of course he is. I genuinely hope, however, he is only going to be onscreen long enough to get killed off by the Horsemen, because we have seen far too much of this character by now.

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We’re back in the remains of the X-Mansion’s basement where Mystique gets to christen the new team. The team, in fact. With Cyclops, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Beast, and Quicksilver onboard, the only mutants missing for a classic line-up are Storm and Angel—who may be there by the end of the film. Mystique being the one to actually pass the torch might irk some comic book purists, but she has had a unique and movie-exclusive role in this franchise, going all the way back to X-Men: First Class (when Jennifer Lawrence was an unknown beyond the small audience and Oscar voters who’d seen Winter’s Bone).

Mystique was set up from the beginning of this trilogy to be a child of Xavier and Magneto, and caught in the middle of their ideological struggle. With her also refusing to “come home” in Days of Future Past, the stage always seemed prepared for her to be the prodigal daughter. In that context, this is a big moment for both the next generation and the current one.

So it’s war then? Let’s enjoy the film’s many war images. We start with this one, which features the X-Jet flying toward Storm’s handiwork outside of the Egyptian pyramids. This might be a precursor to the epic struggles in Cairo.

However, I suspect there will be one final and major set-piece inside the actual ancient chamber from Apocalypse’s flashback—where he tries to transfer his being to another’s body. And if that’s the case, they’re keeping any such footage close to their chest in this trailer.

Psylocke vs. Beast? Awesome.

Storm vs. Cyclops? Even better, especially because Alexandra Shipp’s Storm can apparently fly, and this looks to be like the best use either character has enjoyed in the six X-Men movies thus far produced.

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Archangel vs. Jean Grey? This also should be fun. We see Jean Grey for the time being using her powers to merely deflect the winged Horseman’s attack. However, the second image I’ve included of Sophie Turner’s superhero shows her horrified at something… and an angry Jean is also a Jean capable of going to some fiery places. That scene might just be again from that final showdown that I suspect the trailer is hiding.

Perhaps Apocalypse has designs on another mutant vessel, altogether?

This moment actually occurs prior to the Horsemen destroying the X-Mansion, because Xavier is still using Cerebro. I imagine that when Apocalypse defeats Xavier in a mental battle, he uses Xavier’s connection to Cerebro to give his stump speech to all mutantdom, and Lucas Till’s Havok is trying to stop it.

However, we can judge the success of Havok’s efforts by the fact that there are no images of him in Cairo… which is after he tries to bum rush Apocalypse in the X-Men’s basement, as seen in the previous trailer. Uh-oh.

Also, it looks like we will be getting those comic book accurate (and colorful?) costumes for the heroes, eventually. While I have no idea if this is just a sample from the final scene of the movie or something hidden from the third act, but the trailer let slip an image of Quicksilver in a new costume unlike the images of him in Cairo… and he looks like he stepped right out of a comic book.

Finally, the trailer ends like the Super Bowl spot with Apocalypse’s hands around Mystique’s throat. This clearly occurs in Cairo and is meant to hint at the death of the franchise’s biggest star not named Hugh Jackman. But the truth is that it would certainly create major dramatic tension and consequences if he did kill her, which is fair game since she did not appear in Days of Future Past’s 2020.

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But would Singer end the story of one of his most iconic mutants that he had a hand in growing the popularity for over the years? Well, I suppose we’ll find out when X-Men: Apocalypse opens on May 27.

So did I miss anything? Disagree with my theories about a third act body swap scene? Let me know in the comment section below.