x-men : apoc­a­lypse

Pre­pare for both phys­i­cal and emo­tional dev­as­ta­tion as the X- saga en­ters the ’ 80s

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Superhero Preview -

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.

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