X-Men: Apocalypse has been officially announced. Many fans are hoping that the focus of what will be the eighth movie in the X-Men series will breathe life back into a series that left many reviewers disappointed with its last two releases, but will Apocalypse sound the end of the intrepid X-Men heroes only, or will he also destroy the popular movie franchise?
In an ambiguous December 5th Tweet X-Men: Days of Future Past Director Brian Singer announced the 2016 release of X-Men: Apocalypse, two years after the X-Men franchise’s still unreleased 2014 installment, X-Men: Days of Future Past.
In a marketing move right out of the Anchorman 2 promotional handbook, Marvel Comics-20th Century Fox are using the X-Men villain to guarantee their fans attend Days of Future Past en masse. But, will Apocalypse be the destruction of the X-Men, or just their movie franchise?
Apocalypse is going to be the direct successor to the X-Men: Days movie according to an article at bleedingcool.com by Brendon Connelly. Connelly, originally reporting that Brian Singer convinced him (back in March) Apocalypse would make his appearance as the villain in X-Men Days, now reports that Apocalypse is getting his own movie.
His hunch has been corroborated.
E! confirmed the release date with 20th Century Fox . X-Men: Apocalypse will hit theatres on May 27th, 2016, and fans are going wild.
Speculation about the cast, characters, and whether or not Apocalypse will make a cameo in the 2014 film has Twitter, Facebook, and fan-blogs talking. Comments like, “Couldn’t care less about Spiderman 2, let alone the Wonder Woman movie. It’s all about X-Men: Apocalypse!!!! #EnSabahNur,” and “X men apocalypse [sic] announced for 2016!!! The first and original mutant and the most bad*** #marvel,” abound.
The sentiment seems to be that Apocalypse won’t just succeed in a film series that has sometimes received lukewarm reviews, it could be the best installment yet.
Why Marvel-Fox would announce the 2016 release so soon before the impending release of what amounts to the Apocalypse movie’s predecessor may be a flagging of interest in the X-Men movie series, but X-Men: Apocalypse doesn’t please its fans the villain may lead to the demise of the X-Men series, and not just the movie’s heroes.
Comicvine.com, a popular comics and hero-related subject discussion forum is rife with concerns about the direction the movies have taken their beloved series. A thread titled “Are the X-Men Losing Popularity and if so, Why?” is home to an extensive conversation by avid fans about the dismal changes to the comic series made by the movies.
The sometimes-cool-sometimes-hot response to the movies at the movie review site, Rotten Tomatoes, seems to support the opinion that Marvel and Fox could be doing better. The popular user-review site has rated the last two releases in 2006 (X-Men: The Last Stand) and 2009 (X-Men: Origins) at 57 percent and 38 percent respectively.
The X-Men comic—and all of its spinoffs—started in Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s X-Men #1, published in 1963. With a wealth of background stories, branching story arcs, and a plethora of mutant characters, it has been difficult for the Hollywood movies to keep pace. Consolidation, creative re-writing, and artistic license have changed many of the key elements that make up the characters, their origins, and the directions they take on-screen.
Apocalypse might be the balm that heals the wounds to the flagging popularity of the six-movie franchise. Releasing a movie that centers on the X-Men’s most terrific enemy may be a bid by both companies to prove that they feel the pain of the X-Men series’ lovers.
This stroke of marketing genius, if it pays out, could establish the X-Men as the premier hero movie platform—The Avengers: Age of Ultron is attempting a similar feat— and prevent its current downward spiral. But, if Apocalypse doesn’t deliver, it could as easily be their death knell.
Readers may not be familiar with the “original” mutant’s story line.
Apocalypse, despite the fact that his powers are derived in some sense from the advanced technology at his command, is a 3000-year-old Egyptian slave. His realization of his powers as well as his rise to infamy are catalogued in fine detail throughout an epic story arc surrounding the nigh invulnerable character. If Marvel and Fox are not careful to stick to as much of Apocalypse’s known history as you can in the strict confines of a two or three hour movie, he might not just be the harbinger of “the end” for the X-Men; he could be the herald for the end of what has been a long running, relatively successful superhero movie dynasty.
X-Men: Apocalypse will be in theaters on May 27th, 2014, and by the looks of things it could be the most successful Marvel superhero movie to date, rivaling even the status of the Iron Man movies. But, whether or not the villain-centric title signals a new beginning for the declining X-Men series, or their end, is a tale that will be told after opening day.
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By Matt Darjany