While they haven’t released the trailers they screened at Comic-Con just yet, the folks at 20th Century Fox and Entertainment Weekly seem keen to remind us that there’s another X-Men movie in the works. It doesn’t hit theatres until next summer, but we finally have an idea of what this - the sixth team film in the franchise - will look like, and it seems to be just the right amount of both serious and silly.
For one thing, the outfits actually look like superhero costumes, and it appears Brian Singer is no longer ashamed of the yellow spandex. Perhaps it isn’t fair to hold Singer solely responsible for the black leather. Times change, and the superhero movie is a staple of pop culture as opposed to a weird experiment, and it’s nice to see this series of films finally get to a point where the films not only work, but look and feel like comicbook movies.
To start things off, there’s just one EW cover this time around (as opposed to 25), but it’s a damn good one.
In the footage shown at SDCC, Magneto asks Apocalypse “Who the fuck are you?”, and that’s probably because he was expecting to see Oscar Isaac. There’s no getting around the fact that En Sabah Nur is going to look a fair bit like a Power Rangers villain (“Smells like…. Mutants”) but there’s a certain majesty to his outfit, and I’m really digging all that headgear. It’s technological, but it has hints of ancient Egypt. I’m not sure how big he’s supposed to be - he looks massive on that cover - but he looks only a couple of inches taller than Olivia Munn’s Psylocke when they’re standing side-by-side on set (and apparently matching poses). Munn has a great look for the character, and it’s fantastic to see them go all-out comicbook with her design, even though it does mean she’s essentially in an bathing suit. It’s more armour than actual spandex of course; subtle motion would be lost if superhero movies didn’t afford their costumes some texture.
Singer’s in a bit of a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ position at this stage. For a lot of things in a series with such weird continuity, and I suppose that stems to Psylocke. There’s no way for him not to be torn between a boring, reductive design and something comics-accurate but still overly revealing. Munn is of Chinese descent (though raised in Japan) and Psylocke is Japanese, but she’s also a Japanese character inhabited by the consciousness of a white woman because comics used to do stuff like that, so things can get messy any which way you go about it. Does one cast a Storm (see header photo) that resembles the Kenyan princess from the comics, or someone with a lighter complexion who could conceivably grow up to be Halle Berry? X-Men: Apocalypse exists in the same universe as the four films in which Berry played the character, so as much as I’d like to see something closer to her comicbook origin, Alexandra Shipp seems to be a fine choice for the time being. Oh, and please excuse me while I yell “Mohawk Storm!” from the rooftops.
We also have our first look at a whole host of other returning cast members. Michael Fassbender’s disheveled and decidedly confused-looking lumberjack Magneto is probably the most curious thing in all this, apart from Rose Byrne of course, who’s back in the role of Moira MacTaggert after the absence of one film and one memory wipe. Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) also seems to have rolled up to a shiny new Cerebro along with MacTaggert, Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Havok/Alex Summers (Lucas Till) and Beast/Hank McCoy (Nicolas Hoult), all looking aor more colourful than you’d expect from a Brian Singer X-Men movie. Again, that’s a good thing, though it doesn’t seem like he’s entirely abandoned his heavy-duty black aesthetic in that last image, what appears to be an airplane set with Mystique and Quicksilver (Evan Peters), the wacky highlight of Days of Future Past.
Now that they’ve decided on this direction, it’s going to be interesting to see how they actually use the outfits. Magneto’s new red armour (bordering on Asgardian) seems to be technologically enhanced in the same vein as Apocalypse. My money’s on Psylocke being one of his four horsemen since she fulfilled that role in the comics, alongside Angel, Storm and Magneto, unless of course Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine decides to show up. He very well might, but how cool would it be to finally get an X-Men movie without him for once? It’s already filled to brim with characters, as these things usually are, and it’ll be nice to see Scott Summers finally get to be Scott Summers, in a movie that looks and feels like an X-Men movie.
X-Men: Age of Apocalypse hits theatres May 27th 2016, and will feature Mowhawk Storm.