What Everyone Needs to Know About X-Men: Apocalypse
“X-Men: Apocalypse” seems weird. I mean that as the greatest compliment, too, because for the first time it appears like we’re getting an X-Men film that plays to the established serious, grounded robustness of the franchise while also diving into the weird ending of X-Men. Only taking a look at the preview, it is a picture that seems proud to be a comic book superhero movie, plus it doesn’t care who knows it.
This trailer has everything: ’80s hair, a blond boy, flying on metallic angel wings, spooky black eyeballs, a Tron hat, a sweeping vista of Ancient Egypt, religious overtones, mallrat mutants, three distinct blue people, shoulder pads, beat drops and more neon lights than Studio 54 in its prime. The shot composition is all Singer, but this first glance at “X-Men: Apocalypse” shows a filmmaker that seems to be finally ready to confess he’s directing a superhero picture.
And that’s not to knock Bryan Singer’s previous X-Men work whatsoever. Along with “Blade,” Singer’s “X-Men” helped convince the overall public that superheroes weren’t firmly relegated to retro television and Joel Schumacher movies. If Richard Donner proved Tim Burton established which they might be dark and, superheroes could inspire, subsequently Singer shown they could be spectacular. He proved they might be grounded, realistic that and give dramatic celebrities that were real meaty parts -in on. Those first two X-Men films changed the way the people saw superheroes by reversing plenty of the damage done by the surplus and goofy eccentricity of the mid-’90s Batman films.
But Singer accomplished that by jettisoning a lot of the weird from the X-Men. He kept the mutant metaphor whole, yes, and he prudently driven it to the forefront and explored it thoughtfully (particularly in 2003’s “X2”). However, he dumped the colorful costumes for black leather, streamlined the continuity surrounding the team, focused on the most well-known and uncomplicated team members, stuck with a dull colour palette and only used the most grounded of villains. Magneto and William Stryker are two of the most serious rogues in the X-Men’s gallery, and it looked as if Singer would not go near some the big old’ weirdos the X-Men have always been proven to confront. After seeing a film start off having a scene in a concentration camp, like 2000’s “X-Men,” it was pretty clear that you’d never see Sauron (a jorts-wearing were-Pteranodon) in a Bryan Singer movie.
The reality is, though, that public image work done to make them viable into a mass audience was desired by superheroes that linked crimefighters with nipple-suits. That shift led to, eight years later, Marvel Studios’ grounded take on “Iron Man,” a movie that was very much rooted in the real life politics of the day. In fact, every Marvel movie has a kernel of the same self-seriousness in them that Singer made sure to infuse his Xmen pictures with. Every Marvel Studios hero takes what they do seriously, and also the movies all handle their characters with reverence — yes, even if those characters certainly are a Norse quasi-alien- God along with a talking tree.
However, the Marvel movies started to incorporate something that the X-Men pictures didn’t: they got bizarre. It is difficult to pinpoint when that occurred; maybe when Marvel Studios understood they needed to make Asgard work in a shared universe that had so far been completely technology-based? However, the Marvel movies gave us a Captain America costume that was patriotic and believable, justified the presence of the fantastical Asgard, dropped in numerous Easter eggs and shouted outs to deep continuity, and — most importantly — made “Guardians of the Galaxy” work. They made a movie starring characters obscure to longtime comic book readers into home heroes. They made audiences relate to a foul-mouthed raccoon. The Marvel Studios movies have proven that superhero movies could be many things simultaneously, and they can adopt the absurdity of the source content with dignity.
So here we are at “X-Men: Apocalypse,” just the second Xmen film directed by Singer considering that the launching of the modern Marvel Age in 2008. It looks like, with “Apocalypse,” we’re getting an evolved Bryan Singer, one that’s seen where Marvel has triumphed and made a decision to give weirdness a go. Peeks of Singer’s change were seen in 2014’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” mainly because that movie gave us Sentinel robots that were, just like in the comic books, giant purple robots. The singer added Kitty Pryde and a totally absurd power that she doesn’t even have in the comic books, and also espoused time travel with that movie. He out-weirded the source material! But “DOFP” was still grimy and gritty, most likely because it was set in the ’70s and owed a lot visually to thrillers of the age. The singer is cutting loose for “Apocalypse.”
The best example of this is the Cerebro redesign, which looks like something you’d purchase at a Spencer’s Gifts. This film features Storm a nod to a treasured look the character wore in the comics, with a Mohawk, plus it features a completely amusing- precise Jubilee, one wearing pink sunglasses, a yellow jacket and hoop-earrings. This picture has Archangel inside it, a guy with razor wings, and the trailer shows him shooting at flechettes in the screen.
There is no greater evidence of Singer’s new style as well as willingness to embrace treasured absurdity. This is Apocalypse. In 15 years, Singer has gone from flat-out dissing comic costumes by making fun of “yellow spandex” to having a size-changing, funky-lipped, armor-wearing, immortal blue Egyptian as the titular villain of his film. That is some amazing progress when it comes to adopting the inherently comic book-y things that make the X-Men the X-Men.
Now, if only the X-Men can move out of those tactical jumpsuits and into something more vibrant…
“X-Men: Apocalypse” is scheduled for release on May 27, 2016.