While The Avengers and The Dark Knight may wield more weight in the cinematic arena that Fox’s X-Men, the sixteen-year-old franchise has undoubtedly trumped all other superheros when it comes to sheer variety. An original trilogy (2000-2006), a pair of middling Wolverine solo outings (2009, 2013), and a prequel/spinoff (2011) have each struck with varying levels of success, peaking with 2014’s mega-hit Days of Future Past. Reuniting with original director Bryan Singer, Past opted to rewrite the X-Men rulebook, reset the timeline, and in the process, reinvigorated the entire series.
Moving forward with this summer's Apocalypse, Singer’s band of mutants (new and old) are looking more promising than ever. The director, insistent upon exploring the liberties of a new timeline, will not only conclude the trilogy that was jump started by X-Men: First Class, but what he has noted as “the climax of [all] six movies.” Paired with an adherence to source material that has yet to be seen onscreen, this seventh outing could very well be the magnum opus of the entire franchise. Just in time for the apocalypse.
Here are Screen Rant’s 10 Reasons To Be Excited For X-Men: Apocalypse.
10 A Bald James McAvoy as Professor X
This one may seem a bit of a moot point, but bald McAvoy implies grander things for the direction of the X-Men timeline. In the comic books, Xavier’s mental powers caused his hair to fall out as a teenager, something filmmakers have clearly felt little regard for upholding on the big screen. But this liberty also allotted a physical aspect to McAvoy’s performance, transgressing from a clean-cut lad in First Class to a shaggy underachiever in Days of Future Past.
As a result, the brief glimpses of Professor X shaven and chrome-domed in the trailer speak volumes for his current mindset. Now, more than ever, the idealism of Xavier’s youth has begun to settle into the pensive older man played by Patrick Stewart in the original trilogy - a unifying of past and present that backs up Singer’s bold claims of conclusion. Of course, there’s always the possibility that the Professor has simply fallen victim to male pattern baldness. Or does that not affect mutants?
9 Apocalyptic Levels of Action
Large scale battles have long been an M.O. of the X-Men films, arriving awful close to downright destructiveness in The Last Stand (2006) and First Class. But screenwriter Simon Kinberg has gone on record to confirm that viewers haven’t seen anything yet. The Days of Future Past scribe has praised Apocalypse as Marvel’s awe-inspiring take on “a disaster movie,” name dropping the maestro of mayhem himself, Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow) as a reference point.
And while the Emmerich comparison may elicit eye rolls and groans from the comic book faithful, this big benchmark does bring up some exciting possibilities. The global carnage that someone as powerful as Apocalypse could inflict is stunning in itself, let alone The Four Horsemen and a response from X-Men’s all-time lineup. Additionally, Given Singer’s past ability to cobble action and emotional detail into glistening set pieces (Superman Returns notwithstanding), the ceiling behind such a large-scale attack could be very, very high.
8 Clean Slate Timelines
Even for fans who adored them upon initial release, the X-Men trilogy was a bit sloppy when it came time to following a stringent continuity. The Last Stand, typically hailed as the weakest in the franchise, really did a number in this regard by simultaneously wiping out Professor X, Cyclops, and Jean Grey with a single underwhelming swoop. But, as previously mentioned, the time travel behind Days of Future Past turned back the clock on the entire saga, leaving only itself and First Class as remaining canon for future installments.
With that in mind, it will be exciting to see how Singer and Kinberg factor in a fresh approach to a sequel that has no concrete rules. Events and relationships that transpired in the original films are no more, and replaced by an opportunity to not only rectify gaping plot holes (the Professor X-Mystique connection), but to improve upon the franchise’s very foundation. It isn’t often that filmmakers get a second chance to tackle an origin story. Here’s hoping Singer can make it count.
7 The Return of Quicksilver
For a movie that rejuvenated the X-Men brand, the most memorable scene in Days of Future Past actually arrived courtesy of speedy newcomer Quicksilver (Evan Peters). Enlisted to aid Wolverine and Professor X through a security concern, the snarky teen subjected viewers to a glorious visual accompaniment of slow motion and snack sampling - the birth of an immediate fan favorite. Consequently, Singer has confirmed Quicksilver’s significantly larger role heading into Apocalypse.
This spells out good news for Marvel heads and casual fans alike. Though a powerful bunch, the X-Men aren’t exactly the wittiest bunch in town, and increasing the visibility of a comedic hero like Quicksilver will only aid in the balanced tone of the film. Elsewhere, Singer has raised eyebrows by sharing that it took over a month and a half to shoot Quicksilver’s latest super speed escapade; in an effort to top the thrill of the Future Past sequence. As to whether he’ll achieve this goal remains to be seen, but one definitely can’t fault Singer and company for their lack of effort.
6 The Nuclear 1980s
An added bonus of the last two X-Men projects have been the swanky period settings of the 60s and 70s. From a contextual standpoint, each explored the themes of these eras and integrated them into a story that spoke to something deeper within the mutant (or human) condition. For First Class, it was the Cuban Missile Crisis that injected a fear of the supernaturally gifted, while Future Past found fault with the Sentinel program as an allegory for Drone Strikes. This thematic match will no doubt continue into Apocalypse, as Kinberg has plenty of juicy Cold War comparisons to make between the titular villain and the impending paranoia of the decade.
On a more lighthearted note, seeing a refitted crew of X-Men square off in the era that inspired their greatest comic book run is a nerdy delight - paired with a fashion sensibility that’ll only adds to the tongue-in-cheek context. Singer clearly had fun dolling out Pong and Star Trek references last time around, so it’s anyone’s guess as to what easter eggs will be sprinkled in this time.
5 Recast Heroes
Scott Summers as Cyclops is a stern team leader in the vein of Captain America. Jean Grey, a gargantuan source of power blended with youthful innocence and a sensitivity beyond her years. And Storm is a deity of mysterious intensity and wonderment that can captivate Earth’s elemental core. Yet somehow, the portrayals of James Marsden, Famke Janssen, and Halle Berry in the original trilogy managed to bypass each and every one of these distinguishing traits. As a whole, their contributions onscreen were minimal, serving only to make the performances of Hugh Jackman and Ian McKellen look better by comparison.
Fortunately, with a new timeline comes new actors, and the potential behind Cyclops, Jean Grey and Storm have been immediately upped as a result. Mud (2013) actor Tye Sheridan will take over the role of teenage Scott Summers, playing opposite Games of Thrones’ Sophie Turner as Jean Gray. With Alexandra Shipp rounding the trio out as Egyptian Princess Storm, this crop of youngsters will be nothing if not intriguing to watch in the shadow of established stars like Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence.
4 The Original X-Men Lineup Onscreen
Spilling over from the previous entry on the list, this youthful swap of talent in core members also confirms what many comic book fans have long been waiting for: the original X-Men lineup onscreen for the first time - well, almost. It’s doubtful that Iceman Bobby Drake will suddenly swoop into action to complete the crew, but even still; the team will consist of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast (Nicholas Hoult), and Angel (Ben Hardy) under the leadership of Professor X.
Such a culmination will draw high sighs of relief from viewers, who were collectively miffed when X-Men: First Class didn’t actually consist of the first class, and The Last Stand incorporated each member with little to no interaction. The additions of Storm and a refurbished Nightcrawler (Kodi Smith-McPhee) aid in the excitement, but the real draw here is the O.G. crew in brand new uniforms. As a result, Apocalypse will be the film that takes a huge step forward in honoring hardcore fans, and laying the groundwork for any potential follow-ups that seek X-Men authenticity.
3 The Four Horsemen
Initially cultivated in the comic books as The Four Horsemen of War, Death, Famine, and Pestilence; writer Simon Kinberg have since taken artistic liberties in adapting this quartet for the big screen. The Horseman now consist of Magneto (Fassbender), who, in the midst of starting a new life, cannot resist the temptation of eternal power - a trait echoed by fellow miscreants Psylocke (Olivia Munn) and eventual X-Men Archangel (A.K.A. Angel). This will be the first time viewers get to see both the blade wielding empress and the metal winged warrior in action, and the buzz behind such potent villains are steadily rising to epic levels of anticipation.
Rounding out the group is Storm, awoken by Apocalypse and convinced to serve his doom-laden plans of destruction. As such, this array of characters, some old (Angel technically appeared as a child in The Last Stand), and some new, will undeniably come together to provide the X-Men with their most formidable foe yet.
2 Both A Final Chapter And a New Beginning
Pulled almost verbatim from the Apocalypse story arc of the 1980s, this X-Men adventure has the benefit of adhering closer to source material than any of the six films that preceded it. Before, especially in the original trilogy, slivers of comic book stories were cut out and squashed with new material to make an utter hodgepodge of content; neither fully original nor fully grounded in Marvel lore. Consequently, though, it is referred to as the finale of both trilogies, Apocalypse will purge further into the clean start that was offered by Days of Future Past.
The idea behind such a multipurpose project is rather brilliant, actually. Fans of the previous films will be satisfied by a rousing conclusion that brings the Jackman/Stewart/McKellan era to a worthy close. Comic book heads, and those who have been squandered by a lack of reliable content, will catch a glimpse of where this new generation of X-Men is going; and whether or not they want to hop onboard. As a result, Apocalypse is ramping up to be the most important X-Men movie ever made - a final chapter and a new beginning that must operate smoothly as both to be considered a full-on success.
1 Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse
In the last year alone, Oscar Isaac has gone from solid supporting actor (Drive, Robin Hood) to one of the hottest stars on the planet through acclaimed indies (Ex Machina) and a career making turn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Equally adept at conveying upright integrity as he is steadfast derangement, the 36-year-old will have a golden opportunity to steal the show as the megalomaniacal title villain with a “survival of the fittest” philosophy.
The deep-seated desire to see Apocalypse portrayed onscreen dates back to the early days of the X-Men saga, and Singer knew he would need an actor of the utmost quality to correctly capture the mutant’s superiority complex. Fortunately, for both him and viewers alike, Isaac is a staggeringly good choice; aided further by the Guatemalan actor’s chiseled composure and piercing eyes that even colored contacts can’t suppress. This intimidation factor, already noticeable in the previews, will come to pass as an intangible aspect of the character himself - a being of pure power, unconcerned with the outcome of mankind other than it's destruction. The other actors in Apocalypse will have difficulty keeping up.
Can you think of any more reasons to be excited for X-Men: Apocalypse? Let us know in the comments!
X-Men: Apocalypse will open in U.S. theaters on May 27th, 2016.
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