It’s an ultimate clash of the mutants
By Pamela Chow. Photos: Twentieth Century Fox
Civilisation’s most powerful mutant, Apocalypse, awakens and captures Professor Charles Xavier — how will the crippled X-Men halt Earth’s impending doom?
Apocalypse and his unexpected allies (some X-Men once upon a time) make a powerful force to be reckoned with. (Photos: Twentieth Century Fox)
In the heat of the superhero season, another exciting showdown enters the arena. Following X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), director Bryan Singer returns with the riveting X-Men: Apocalypse.
Since the dawn of civilisation, the primal, invincible and seemingly- immortal mutant En Sabah Nur, known as Apocalypse, was feared and revered as an all-powerful deity.
Having been entombed for several millennia, he now awakens and is enraged to discover that his kind is no longer treated as gods.
Bent on creating a new world order, Apocalypse (portrayed by Oscar Isaac of Star Wars: The Force Awakens) recruits four powerful mutants — Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Psylocke (Olivia Munn) and Angel (Ben Hardy) — in a mission to exterminate mankind.
Singer (best known for The Usual Suspects) provided some insight into Apocalypse’s motivations when he said, “Apocalypse believed that it was his responsibility to build a society and to remove humanity’s innate savagery.
Over the millennia, Apocalypse had done this many times with, for example, the Babylonians, Arcadians [and] Sumerians.”
Jennifer Lawrence and Evan Peters return as Raven aka Mystique and Quicksilver in the latest superhero blockbuster, X-Men: Apocalypse.
A leaderless party
The formidable X-Men may have made things look easy before but this battle will be no walk in the park.
The movie’s final trailer reveals that Apocalypse abducts Professor Charles Xavier (reprised by James McAvoy), leaving Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and blue-skinned shapeshifter Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) to rally the troops.
This revelation has stirred excitement in fans of the original X-Men comic books, wrote The Hollywood Reporter. Compared to the movies, in which the Xavier-Magneto tension dominates the narrative, the comics place Xavier as more of a mentor figure guiding the X-Men team from the sidelines.
The comics’ storylines often have Xavier written out for long periods, allowing greater focus on the more active X-Men and character development of the individual mutants.
It will certainly be a treat to see the X-Men coming into their own without their leader, and this may even be an indicator that the movies are starting to shadow the comic book narrative.
Kodi Smit-McPhee of “Gallipoli” and ParaNorman stars as a younger incarnation of Nightcrawler.
Favourite characters fleshed out
To give further indication of this, Singer shared that fan favourite Mystique will be fleshed out in a deeper way, exploring her inner thoughts.
This includes conflicting views between Mystique and Charles on the mutants’ place in society.
“Raven confronts Charles… They have polarising views of where the world has come in the past ten years and how that leads to the formation of the X-Men,” said Singer.
Let’s not forget the villains, who’ll also enjoy greater character development in this new X-Men movie. Fassbender (also known for playing human-like android “David” in Prometheus) shared that X-Men: Apocalypse will delve into the tragic backstory of Magneto and what led him to “take an apocalyptic turn”.
Comic fans especially will also be elated to see some X-Men characters making their debut, such as Caliban, as well as in more prominent roles, such as Psylocke. Portrayed by Olivia Munn, she certainly cuts a ravishing figure.
Alexandra Shipp is a new actress playing Storm, who takes villain Apocalypse’s side this time.
Will Wolverine turn the tide?
The final trailer also teases us with another surprising appearance: Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, who’s likely to join the battle against Apocalypse and his henchmen, The Horsemen.
This revelation comes after previous reports that the character would not be appearing in this sequel.
The particular snippet shows Mystique and Quicksilver (Evan Peters) meeting Jean Grey (this time played by Sophie Turner, better known as Sansa Stark from “Game of Thrones”) and Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) in a body-littered corridor.
Mystique remarks, “Well, you’ve been busy.” In response, Cyclops reveals that they “had a little help” before the camera grants us a glimpse of Wolverine’s extended claws.
Singer disclosed that Wolverine will play a “more pivotal” role in this film, reported Empire. In fact, he indicated that the appearance of the slashing mutant superhero will mark “the birth of a new direction” altogether.
How does this “new direction” influence the storyline of future X-Men movies and is it linked to the mysterious untitled Wolverine sequel coming up in 2017? The revelation will soon arrive.
Nonetheless — sorry, Apocalypse — I’m certain the X-Men will be postponing the end of the world for a while.
X-MEN: APOCALYPSE [TBA]
Director: Bryan Singer
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Hugh Jackman, Sophie Turner & Olivia Munn
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Run length: 143min
Release: 19 May
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of Weekender, Issue 152, May 13 – May 26, 2016, with the headline ‘The age of Apocalypse descends’.