After months of waiting, Fox has released the first proper trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse, the third (and final) instalment in its X-Men: First Class movie series. Although the teaser at the end of X-Men: Days of Future Past seemed promising, it’s fair to say that reaction to the production stills have been mixed. Does this new glimpse of the movie put you at ease? And what can we learn from it?
Previously seen in X-Men: The Last Stand, Warren Worthington (aka Angel) was famously transformed (in the comics) into the horseman Death by Apocalypse, who replaced his recently-amputated wings with new metal ones that could fire razor-sharp feathers at his enemies. I think we can safely say this movie will be operating along similar lines.
Set a decade or so on from the previous instalment of the franchise, X-Men Apocalypse sees the introduction of a number of X-Men as they attempt to transition between the First Class team of the 60s and the original X-Men of the 1999 movie. In the comics, Xavier helped Jean gain better control of her telepathy when it manifested at a young age. It seems like they’ll have a similar relationship here too.
Remember how at the end of Days Of Future Past we saw a pale, thin guy telekinetically building a pyramid? This might be that pyramid, now surrounded by a cult of his worshippers. In the comics Apocalypse was an Ancient Egyptian slave before his powers manifested, and retains some affiliation with the region. This may also explain how the young Storm has ended up as one of his horsemen: in the comics, she spent some of her childhood operating as a pickpocket in Cairo.
Also returning to the franchise after last being seen in X2: X-Men United, Kurt Wagner (aka Nightcrawler). Anyone wondering how and why characters like Nightcrawler and Angel can turn up in the ‘past’ when the X-Men were previously unaware of them should remind themselves that the events of Days Of Future Past essentially created a splinter timeline, so all continuity bets are off. In a way, you have to applaud the movies’ decision to make following the story as confusing and difficult as the comics. They’ve adapted the spirit, if not the letter of the franchise.
Fans of the 90s X-Men cartoon (and comics) will no doubt recognise the yellow-coated, sunglassed mutant girl Jubilee. And let’s face it, she’s awesome. Jubilee previously had the occasional cameo in the movies, but she’s been upgraded to a major player. She was also previously played by Heather McComb in the mostly forgotten Generation X TV movie, but the less we say about that the better.
In the film, as in the comics, Apocalypse tends to surround himself with lieutenants he calls the Four Horsemen. Death, War, Famine and Pestilence. His team in this movie is Magneto, Angel, Storm and Psylocke (who’s not in this trailer). Becoming a horseman tends to involve some level of brainwashing and power upgrade, so it’ll be interesting to see how they approach it in the movies. In the comics, everyone from Wolverine to Gambit to the Incredible Hulk has been a horseman of Apocalypse at some point or another, so it’s fair to say the criteria isn’t THAT strict.
Perhaps occupying Halle Berry’s role as ‘X-Men actress most annoyed she signed a three-picture deal shortly before becoming super-famous’, Jennifer Lawrence is back as Mystique. And this time, she’s playing the hero. Which is fair enough, because why wouldn’t you use Jennifer Lawrence if you could? The last two First Class movies were quite heavily centred around Mystique’s relationships with Charles and Magneto, so if this is her last appearance (and we’d expect it to be) then you’d hope for some kind of closure on that plot thread, at least.
Captain Cardboard is back! It’s fair to say Scott Summers hasn’t had the best time in the X-Men movies, but as boring as the character became for great swathes of his comics and screen history, those early years where Teen Scott and Teen Jean were hashing out their relationship amidst personal uncertainty were actually pretty good. Let’s hope some of that magic gets translated to the screen with this new incarnation.
The guy most likely to win an Ivan Ooze lookalike contest is understandably not the focus of this trailer, perhaps thanks to the drubbing images of him have received online. I’m not exactly a fan of the movie design, but I love the character in the comics, and this signature Apocalypse moment – using his shape-shifting powers to grow huge – gives me some hope that his portrayal won’t be a total train wreck. Some.
And let’s be fair. Now that they’ve applied some digital manipulation and de-purpled him, this is recognisably Apocalypse. He’s got the blue lips, he’s got the tubes, he’s got the neck collar thing. It’s not as horrible as we feared. He lacks the bulk of the comics version, and it’s fair to say a Hulk-style CGI version would’ve been the preferred choice. But I can sort of see this working.
It’s not immediately clear what’s going on in this shot, but it’s safe to say none of it is good for the X-Men or the inhabitants of the city.
And finally, this being (we assume) the final picture in everyone’s deal, Fox has taken the opportunity to transform James McAvoy into Patrick Stewart. By implication this film is going to contain the long-awaited origin for Professor Xavier’s baldness, having already given us the origin of his paralysis in the first movie. If nothing else (and there’s plenty to chew on!) we can be excited for that.
X-Men Apocalypse is due for release in May 2016.