X-Men: The Apocalypse Comes!

I’m belaying the usual Week of Marvels in order to hone in on discussion on the most, ah, X-citing X-Men developments in quite some time – the trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse and the synergistic release of Marvel’s Apocalypse Wars event!

X-Men: Apocalypse

It’s finally here – our first trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse!

For me, one of the most fascinating aspects of the trailer is how it toys with the very idea of an ‘apocalypse’.

“In ancient times, ‘apocalyptic’ literature was a form of writing that usually claimed to be inspired by a vision, given by God. These apocalypses used a tremendous wealth of symbolism and imagery to foretell the ‘End Times’, the ‘end of the world’. Their concern was usually with how justice would eventually triumph, how good would prevail over evil, but at a terrible cost. The biblical book of Revelation is pretty much the only piece of apocalyptic literature that’s well-known today; and because the literary form is so unknown to modern-day readers, many Christians struggle to interpret it, and there have been some seriously off-the-wall interpretations.

The movie’s opening scene – with Jean glimpsing the end of the world in a vision, perhaps granted it by Apocalypse – shows a deeper understanding of the concept of ‘apocalypse’ than, frankly, most of the comics have ever portrayed.”

Source: MoviePilot

Apocalypse in X-Men Apocalypse 2

Bryan Singer and Simon Kinberg have clearly put a great deal of thought into their use of Apocalypse in this film, and it shows very real promise.  Tonally, the trailer shows something very different to Singer’s previous work:

“This trailer has everything: ’80s hair, a blonde boy flying on metallic angel wings, spooky black eyeballs, a Tron hat, a sweeping vista of Ancient Egypt, religious overtones, mallrat mutants, three different blue people, shoulder pads, beat drops and more neon lights than Studio 54 in its prime. Does this at all feel like the same Bryan Singer that brought us the muted, steel-centric palettes of 2000’s “X-Men” and 2003’s “X2”? The shot composition is all Singer, but this first glimpse at “X-Men: Apocalypse” shows a filmmaker that seems to finally be ready to admit that he’s directing a superhero movie.”

Source: CBR

Archangel in X-Men Apocalypse

Further details have started to emerge, as Bryan Singer pushes the movie’s publicity machine up to speed.  For example, he revealed a fascinating insight into the super-speeding Quicksilver scene viewed in the trailer:

“There’s one sequence that took one and a half months to shoot for three minutes of film.  It involves the most complex camera moves, very sophisticated explosive algorithms, 3D Phantom cameras travelling at 50mph while shooting at 3,100 frames per second.  Evan [Peters] worked more days on this movie than any other actor because of this one sequence.”

Source: Empire Magazine

Meanwhile, in interviews with Entertainment Weekly, Singer and Kinberg have been discussing the future of the X-Men franchise.  The focus will shift on to a new generation of mutants, with Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey, Tye Sheridan’s Cyclops, and Alexandra Shipp’s Storm playing key roles.

Storm in X-Men Apocalypse

As Singer observed:

“This is kind of the introduction to them.  At the same time, it has concluding aspects of those previous stories.”

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Where’s Wolverine?

Hugh Jackman Apocalypse

One of the strangest popular reactions to the trailer has been to ask a single question: where’s Wolverine?  The easy answer is, he’s not on the cast list; at the most, Hugh Jackman will have a cameo.  Fox’s X-Men movies seem to be finally moving away from a focus on one or two key characters, broadening out to create a wider universe.  I’ve aired my views on why I think that’s a good thing over on MoviePilot.

X-Men: Apocalypse Wars

It’s no coincidence that, the same week the trailer was released, Marvel announced an event that’s clearly intended to tie in – Apocalypse Wars!  The covers of key issues of Extraordinary X-MenUncanny X-Men and All-New X-Men have been released, homages to the issue of X-Factor in which the villain made his comic book debut.  Check them out!

ComicBook.com got an exclusive chance to speak to Jeff Lemire about the event:

“One of the first things I looked at when accepting the Extraordinary X-Men assignment was Apocalypse. To me, Apocalypse stands with Magneto at the premier X-Men villains. The original Apocalypse story in X-Factor by Walter and Louis Simonson is a real touchstone for me. As a kid that story had a massive impact on me.

So I wanted to craft a story that had the same energy and imagination as those early Apocalypse stories, but something where Humberto Ramos and I were also able to put my own spin on things. I think we’ve come up with a big story that will be very fresh, but also harken back to the classics.”

Source: ComicBook.com

The approach is going to be a little different to your standard crossovers, with each series standing on its own two feet but running with the simultaneous themes and driving villain.  It sounds fun!

Hopeless’ book will focus in on the young Evan Apocalypse, and Hopeless – who delights in putting young characters through the wringer (check out Avengers Arena) will test his character.  Meanwhile, Uncanny X-Men will, of course, be asking a nasty question: has the Dark Angel persona survived?

Dark Angel

X-Men fans are sitting up and taking notice.  This is literally the first time the X-Men comics have tried to act in synergy with Fox movies in thirteen years.  For Brett White, Assistant Editor of CBR, it’s a moment to celebrate:

“Apocalypse Wars” might just mean, at the bare minimum, that Marvel’s now totally down with loose tie-ins to Fox’s movies — which is still a step forward. As an X-Men fan that’s seen nothing but warning signs for the past few years, I’ll take it. I’ll take it, and I’ll read a lot into it, and I’ll love it.

Source: CBR

I’ve made a similar point, arguing that this fits into a trend where the tense relationship between Marvel and Fox seems to be coming to a state of détente.

The timing’s no coincidence, so it looks pretty clear that Marvel are returning to their older (better) attitude of using the movies to promote their comics!

Source: MoviePilot

So – this has been an exciting week for X-Men fans!

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