With all the hype surrounding Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War you would be forgiven for forgetting that there is in fact a third major superhero team-up franchise about to release a major movie…I know I did. The build-up to the release of X-Men: Apocalypse is currently quite difficult to measure, because of the movies that are being release around the same time and have shared its marketing space, but it should not be forgotten. It is a major film franchise and has been responsible for several huge, even genre defining, movies but to me it really just has not taken off and hasn’t got me all excited and I will tell you why.
Firstly, it doesn’t feel like an X-Men universe or have a very complete feel to it. I don’t know if this is just me but with the release of X-Men, X2 and X-Men: Last Stand then followed by the release of X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past and now X-Men: Apocalypse it does not feel very unified. Granted there is a time difference between the first three and second three movies, but they are undoubtedly connected with the Days of Future Past involving, essentially, the whole cast of both trilogies. It just feels like they simply wanted to drag it out; like they did the first three then had a great idea and wanted to bring them together but it’s a bit slap-dash/botch-job and we never really can connect with the characters. This is in stark contrast with the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the proposed Justice League franchise where every movie should be quite clearly connected, to then subsequently bring the characters together, and that is just not the case for X-Men.
There is also the issue with all time-travelling movies is how they impact on what has already happened. It must be the singularly most frustrating moment for audience members and fans to watch and/or read in comics, or other genres, when something in time has changed and everything you have watched, followed and loved then becomes completely redundant as it is wiped from the history books. This seemed to happen in Days of Future Past and was confusingly introduced in ‘The Wolverine’ post-credits scene to people’s confusion, and has since completely undermined the first three X-Men movies…so don’t bother watching them if you haven’t already.
One aspect I have really enjoyed about the X-Men: First Class movie series has been the casting, the actors and actresses in these movies have been perfect, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence being the picks of a very impressive group. They have really embraced their roles and given them a youthful take on already established characters, but still managing to make them their own. However, for this movie I have one concern regarding casting, and it’s a bit too big to not affect my anticipation for this movie and that is the casting of Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse. I really rate Oscar Isaac as an actor, I think he is very versatile and capable of many roles but my issue isn’t with his acting per se, but instead with the character himself. Apocalypse is one of the most powerful villians in the Marvel Comic Universe, he is what Thanos is to the Avengers, Galactus to the Fantastic Four or what Darkseid is to the Justice League. That is the level of the character he is and I am surprised that they not only cast the role but kept the role very human in appearance. Now admittedly this is subject to change, we have only seen a trailer and he may be portrayed differently as the movie progresses but…if he doesn’t then it will be a let down. He is supposed to be monstrous and intimidating to all, and his power and presence is enough to dominate almost all life on the planet so why keep him so human and not push the boundaries? Josh Brolin has had his likeness imposed on an enhanced, if not totally CGI, depiction of Thanos for what little screen time we have seen of him, Galactus was not cast, or even seen, in the Fantastic Four: The Silver Surfer flop which was one of the risks they managed to avoid; and I do hope that if Darkseid does appear in the Justice League franchise he is made out to be more than a man, almost incomparable to humankind. X-Men have seemingly failed to do this, making me doubt the grand nature of this portrayal of the villain and his worthiness to be a fitting franchise finale. On a shorter note, from what I have heard of Apocalypse’s voice in the trailers, he does not seem to have the presence or grandiose of a world destroyer, I feel they should have gone bigger or different to Oscar Isaac.
Although I think the movie will be good, I think that will be the exact problem with it. Good, will not be the finale that the producers want for a franchise that has been going for 15 years now. It has been drowned out by bigger movies, and its universe, if you can call it that, pales in comparison to others that are around it when it really should be shouting much louder about its brand than the inconsistent murmurings we get every once in a while. It’s a shame because the characters, actors, directors and all artists and personnel involved are some of the best in their respective industries. I shouldn’t prejudge a movie before it is out, I mean Deadpool has proven to be a huge hit and that X-Men works, but as a fan I would have liked a bit more togetherness and drive surrounding the franchise to get closer to the recognition is deserves.
That is my two cents, this is one topic I am really interested to hear people’s opinions about. Are you an X-Men fan? More so than Avengers and/or Justice League? What do you think of the franchise? Do you prefer the first or second three? What are your expectations for the movie? What about Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse? Thanks for the read and please let me know what your think, because these heroes really may come down to a matter of perspective.