x-men : apocalypse
Prepare for both physical and emotional devastation as the X- saga enters the ’ 80s
DIRECTOR Bryan Singer STARS James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Oscar Isaac RELEASED 19 May
Brace yourselves. The X- Men universe is about to be torn apart.
The franchise returns in May, and though this latest entry has many intriguing elements there’s one major talking point. Yes, it’s set 10 years after Days Of Future Past, so we can expect some fun with ’ 80s trends. Yes, it’ll reinvigorate the series by introducing younger versions of Jean Grey, Storm, Cyclops and Nightcrawler. And yes, James McAvoy’s Xavier will finally become a slaphead. But the main attraction is the titular Big Bad…
Apocalypse. Played here, beneath bright blue prosthetics, by The Force Awakens’ Oscar Isaac, he’s very aptly named. This ancient mutant’s abilities make Magneto’s look miniscule. After centuries of slumber, he has awakened – and surveying his kingdom, he is mightily displeased with what he finds…
The character’s appeared in many storylines, but perhaps the key one was ’ 90s arc Age Of Apocalypse, set in a world where Professor X’s death created a radically altered timeline. Speaking to SFX, director Bryan Singer and X- producer/ co- writer Simon Kinberg confirm that this series was an influence – but only one of many.
“There’s a lot that we’re drawing from the comics, as we have with all the previous movies,” Kinberg says, “and there’s a lot of licence that we take. It’s a combination of a lot of different arcs from the comics, and even some arcs from the animated show. That’s something Bryan’s always loved, and we watched back a couple of different versions
of the Apocalypse story together. So there’s quite a bit of Age Of Apocalypse in it, but it’s different as well.”
“The biggest influence was that I wanted to meet every single character at the opposite place they were when we last saw them,” Singer adds. “That was my biggest inspiration from the Age Of Apocalypse concept – flipping everyone around.”
With Apocalypse delegating some of the devastation to his “Four Horsemen” – Angel, Storm, Psylocke and Magneto – we can expect disaster movie imagery on an epic scale. But the two filmmakers are keen to emphasise that this wrap- up of the “origins” X- trilogy which began with First Class will have impact of the poignant variety too, not just the falling masonry kind.
“This movie’s very emotional,” Singer says. “It’s got some very intense, emotional stuff happening.”
So much so that while devising the story, the director found himself repeatedly blindsided – partly because of his own changed personal circumstances, after he fathered a son by friend Michelle Clunie ( born in January last year).
“There’s a lot about family. And I just had a child myself. The idea of family – whether it’s your blood family, your friends, your tribe or your team – is a very big part of this movie, and I guess that makes it even more special to me now my best friend, Michelle, and I have this lovely boy together.
“So it’s interesting,” Singer continues, thoughtfully. “When I was developing the script with Simon, I’d suddenly be in tears, and start getting emotional about this stuff. And it’s a comic book movie! I’m like, ‘ Okay, hold on,’ and Simon’s like, ‘ Oh, he’s doing that thing again…’ ‘ Hey Simon, you have two kids, okay? This is new to me!’” Ian Berriman
Move over Magneto, there’s a new Big Bad in town.