“Together, we will cleanse the earth. For the strongest will survive.” -Apocalypse
Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Apocalypse will complete the trilogy that Matthew Vaughn started with X-Men: First Class and will begin a new chapter in the X-Men cinematic universe. Oscar Isaac will be portraying one of the X-Men’s greatest foes; Apocalypse. Apocalypse has awakened to do one thing and one thing only: To bring about the destruction of humanity.
Before I get to my list, let me briefly explain how comic book villains have been depicted on screen thus far.
Why Certain Comic Book Villains are One-Dimensional
With films including Captain America: The First Avenger, Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man 2, and Thor: The Dark World, the Marvel cinematic universe has largely downplayed their villains. Most fans out there (including myself) have categorized these characters as “throwaway villains.” In other words, these villains usually don’t last in more than one film and are not given a proper origin story and purpose for them being in the story. It makes sense to give more screen time to the title heroes but there never seems to be a proper balance between the heroes and the villains.
To put these characters in video game terms, these villains (ie: The Red Skull, Ronan the Accuser, and Malekith the Accursed to name a few) are a “one shot, one kill” type of character. The writers seem hesitant to develop these characters more. There is so much comic book history in the origin stories of these characters that the creative team leaves out of the script. It’s very unfortunate because I feel that if the lead villain is developed more, then we as an audience become more invested in their motivations.
How popular comic book villains have been portrayed in films
This is why so many fans love DC’s Joker, not just because he’s a complete badass but more on the fact that all he cares about is “watching the world burn.” He’s a complete megalomaniac and his backstory and catalyst is what drives this character forward. The Joker was fleshed out beautifully in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. This was one of the main reasons why Heath Ledger’s portrayal as the Joker became such a cult sensation.
Another great example is Marvel’s more popular movie villain, Loki. Loki has now been in three Marvel films thus far including Thor, Marvel’s: The Avengers, and Thor: The Dark World. He was even supposed to appear in Avengers: Age of Ultron briefly but that scene was removed during post-production. He will once again be reprising his role in 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok.
Even without him reprising his role in other films, in Thor we learned where he came from (the Frost Giants), his relationship to his brother Thor, and why he wanted to rule over Asgard. In just one film we learned all of this information and director Kenneth Branagh could not have done a better job.
How Can Apocalypse Change the Landscape for Future Comic Book Villains?
In comes Oscar Isaac’s Apocalypse. There are reasons to believe that Apocalypse will be a fully fleshed out character by the time our heroes have to face him. The actor recently played Poe Dameron in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and will now become one of the X-Men’s greatest foes. Here are “3 Reasons Why Oscar Isaac’s Apocalypse Will Make a Compelling Supervillain.”
But before I get to my list, check out the newest X-Men: Apocalypse trailer again!
#1. A Proper Origin Story
Right at the beginning of the trailer, we finally get to see Oscar Isaac without all of the necessary prosthetics and CGI which transforms him into Apocalypse. This pic already tells us that we will definitely be getting some sort of origin story for this character. Like the post credits scene from X-Men: Days of Future Past, the picture shows him in his early days living in ancient Egypt. He was born with powers stronger than any other mutant and was the very first mutant.
This looks like he will be undergoing some kind of ritual to give himself the full power of Apocalypse. Could he be obtaining his powers from some kind of demonic entity? Bryan Singer has told fans that Apocalypse isn’t your typical mutant. His powers can be transferred from one person to another. He’s more “energy than man” where he can take on any physical form while absorbing that mutant’s powers before moving on to the next victim. It will interesting to see where Singer goes with this method as this origin story does tend to deviate from the comic book origins of Apocalypse.
#2. He Manipulates an Army to Fight on His Side
“You are all my children and you’re lost because you follow blind leaders. No more false gods. I’m here now. I’m here for you.” -Apocalypse
Another great aspect of this villain is that he can manipulate other mutants to fight on his side in battle. We see from the trailers that he seeks out four mutants to become his horsemen who appear at their most vulnerable: Storm, Psylocke, Angel, and Magneto.
Storm is the youngest of the four horsemen and one of the most powerful mutants Apocalypse has ever come across:
“I think that his plan for her in the movie is to protect him. Protect him with fog. Protect him with lightening. Blow away a missile. Blow away a plane. There is so much that she can do, and what he’s looking for is protection because he just woke up after a couple thousand years. He’s weak and he’s alone, and he’s been betrayed, you know.” -Alexandra Shipp
The sword wielding/psychic powered being named Psylocke is another character Apocalypse recruits for his team. Once again it’s through manipulation that Apocalypse convinces her to join his side. It all comes down to her own choice:
“Apocalypse first meets her and she’s the bodyguard. She’s got this amazing skill and she has zero fear when she goes against him, so he needs her. What he sees in her is that she is someone who can protect and has no fear and is an amazing fighter and has amazing abilities. She’s doing things because she wants to do them. She’s like, “I want to join you. You haven’t fooled me into joining you. I get it, I see what you’re doing, and I want to be part of it.” In the end, they manipulate her, but it’s always her choice to join it.” -Olivia Munn
The third horsemen Apocalypse persuades is perhaps my favorite of the four. His story arc is so vast but I get the feeling we won’t get a proper introduction to this character other than Angel being just another horseman for his team. Here’s Ben Hardy’s take on the character of Warren Worthington III:
“This is cool, this is awesome, we’re together on this. We are going to take on these people. I don’t know who these X-Men are, I don’t know who this Xavier dude is. We’re going to beat him up. We’re going to win.”
The final horseman we come to is one we are all familiar with; Magneto. After walking away with a few bruises in X-Men: Days of Future Past, Magneto has disappeared somewhere in Europe to begin a new chapter in his life. As we all know, Magneto can become easily flustered which is why Apocalypse will pay no expense on bringing him along for the ride. Here is what Michael Fassbender had to say about his character arc in the upcoming film:
He arrives and it’s like, “Okay well something much more powerful than me has arrived,” in a way kind of like a god; he’s the original mutant. And I think… Magneto doesn’t really follow anyone, so it was kind of a hard thing like, well how does he just become one of Apocalypse’s Horsemen, and is he cool with that? But he appreciates that this guy is going to do what he couldn’t do. He’s got just so much more power than him, he’s such an immense force.
In a way, it’s like that classic thing of joining any cult or radical group, he’s caught him at a very low, vulnerable point where he doesn’t really care anymore whether he dies or not or what happens, so he’s like, “Yeah I’ll join this guy. I’ll go on this path of judgment.”
Apocalypse will have a powerful team at his disposal when the young and mostly inexperienced X-Men have to take on these four horsemen. What I enjoy learning more about this character arc of Apocalypse is that he’s not a villain who just wants hundreds of minions to fight by his side. He’s not a Red Skull who has an army of H.Y.D.R.A. agents ready to be killed off one by one by Captain America, a Ronan the Accuser who loses hoards of Kree warriors at the hands of a talking tree or a smart-mouthed “raccoon”, or a Shredder where every Foot Clan member is defeated at the hands of the Ninja Turtles.
Apocalypse wants to bring the best and ONLY the best to fight on his side. Think of Apocalypse as sort of a Major League Baseball scout where he goes out to find the next up-and-coming talent that could change the landscape of the entire organization. This is the way Apocalypse views the mutants he is seeking after and will only recruit the one’s he feels better improves his team.
Apocalypse is smart and has been around for thousands of years. He knows what he wants and will do anything to get his hands on the next powerful mutant that walks on the earth. The X-Men better be up for a difficult battle because right now, all of my chips are on Team Apocalypse.
#3. He’s not Afraid to go Toe-To-Toe with the X-Men
I always hate it when a films’ main villain run’s away from the main protagonist of the movie. The villain sometimes is too scared to put his/her own life at risk and would rather hire henchman to do all the dirty work. Apocalypse is not your typical movie villain. Sure he recruits four horsemen to help him with his world domination, but we see him in this trailer clearly manhandling Mystique.
We also see Apocalypse fighting Charles Xavier while flinging him across the room. This is most likely some sort of dream sequence or it could be Apocalypse fighting Xavier while he’s wearing Cerebro. Judging by the trailer, we know Apocalypse fights both Mystique and Xavier at some point in the film.
It would be great to see Apocalypse grow to his enormous size while fighting all of the X-Men in that form. That would be a wonderful nod to the comics as well as those who grew up watching the X-Men Animated Series on Fox Kids.
I’m sure the X-Men are in for quite a battle as once again the future of the world rests in their hands. We only have a few short months to go before the Apocalypse begins! But first, we still have Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War to check out!
My question to you all is what kind of villain do you think we’re going to get from Oscar Isaac’s rendition of Apocalypse? Do you think he’ll make a compelling villain and why? I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comment section below and don’t forget to share!