X MEN APOCALYPSE IS BRINGING BACK THE 1980s + REMINDING US THAT VIRAL MARKETING IS ALIVE AND WELL
This is a precarious time to be a ‘comic book’ movie. Why? Well, the problem is possible saturation in the market. We’ve had BATMAN V SUPERMAN and the somewhat mixed reaction thereto. CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (review to follow, soon) has received unanimous praise.
So, X MEN: APOCALYPSE is kind of trapped in the middle and has the slight disadvantage of being one of the last to be released this spring /summer season, whilst lacking the benefit of the minor break that will recharge expectations for say DOCTOR STRANGE.
Plus, 2014’s DAYS OF FUTURE PAST feels relatively recent, still and was so good it will be a very hard act to follow, especially since it arguably both closed and re-opened the franchise, perfectly. BATMAN AND ROBIN should have taught us one thing: NEVER rush out a sequel prematurely, and especially after good will is established with a soft reboot! Make people WAIT and WANT a bit longer?
But here we are, anyway. And one has to admire the techniques being deployed by 20th Century Fox and Director, BRYAN SINGER to ensure X MEN: APOCALYPSE stands out. YES: It is another super-hero movie. But it’s much, much more.
It is also a disaster film, Biblical epic, sci-fi fantasy and action adventure 1980s set piece. With added JENNIFER LAWRENCE. In short: MORE than insured against ANY liability of being anything other than a gigantic box office blockbusting hit.
And yet: never taking things for granted, team X MEN have given us both a viral video AND a final trailer. They do spoil us..without actually spoiling the movie! We SEE more here and FEEL more of the 80s era in which the new film is set. And yet we are all none the wiser as to the precise beats of story, structure, character arcs and so on. And THAT is what you call GREAT marketing.
EXHIBIT 1: VIRAL VIDEO
Imagine being back in a classroom of the 1980s and watching this instructional video. Or in a darkened sitting room. When some elderly relative asks ‘Do you want to look at television?’ like it’s just been invented. Back when watching a film in class was a treat rather than an approved ‘learning activity and starter task’.
This FEELS like the ACTUAL 1980s and exists as a piece of entertainment and nostalgia in itself, independent of yet co-existing with the movie which inspired the piece. It is also a good addition to the extended / expanded universe of these films, making the threat feel more real and urgent (I have news for you..spoiler..the world does NOT end in the 1980s..or did it..answers on a post-card..what do you mean ‘what’s a post-card’?).
Whilst it is unlikely to be a true driving force for viewers to view the film, this nice little mini movie is a fine piece of viral marketing and has done no harm to the continued momentum towards release date. If the narrator’s voice sounds familiar..that’s GEORGE TAKEI of STAR TREK and Internet humor / civil rights campaigning fame.
Remember also to catch a previous entry in the viral video series for APOCALYPSE:
EXHIBIT 2: THE FINAL TRAILER
This is not just a great X MEN trailer. It’s a great trailer. Full stop. Selling points are far clearer now.
JENNIFER LAWRENCE is finally at the front of the story and the campaign, having been seemingly and strangely quieter in preceding trailers? It’s an awkward balancing act. She is not playing badass Katniss because this aint HUNGER GAMES. And Jennifer must therefore craft a new character that somehow does justice to her talents as actress and develops her arc from X MEN FIRST CLASS and DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. But she remains charming, intriguing, sexy and quite simply: a STAR!
WOLVERINE makes a sort of appearance. Or rather, his claws do! Could this mean that HUGH JACKMAN was fibbing about standing down from the part (he is due to film a separate stand alone sequel soon and that is supposedly his last ‘stab’ at the role). Or..could it be even MORE radical?
Could THIS be our first glance at a NEW Wolverine? Probably not, given how impossible it would be to keep a secret of that magnitude. On the other claw..stranger things have happened and this IS an 80s period piece, which has provided a platform for retrospective ret-con re-casting. I do hope it’s Hugh, though. We like Hugh. He can coach the new X-Men, same way he coached EDDIE THE EAGLE .
We get a little bit more FASSBENDER as MAGNETO here. At last! He had been a little bit light on appearance in previous trailers, bit like Ms Lawrence. Those two MUST get more screen time together and soon..not necessarily in X MEN but just in something. She can’t JUST do movies with BRADLEY COOPER?
I’d certainly prefer more of Magneto’s involvement in the film instead of ‘Angel’ (another ‘horseman’ of the titular ‘apocalypse’ and for some reason..his whole outfit etc..just looks..well.. a bit, dare I say, creepily fetishistic? But then, perhaps that’s the point? Answers on post-card!).
There’s a VERY funny hint of things to come from EVAN PETERS as QUICKSILVER (no not the rubbish one from AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON but the funny one from DAYS OF FUTURE PAST; it’s complicated..until FOX do a deal with Marvel..and they never will if X MEN continues being a big hit series).
And FINALLY: JAMES MCAVOY gets to play PROFESSOR X with the BALD HEAD of the comics and the PATRICK STEWART iteration. The circle is complete.
Who or what causes his hair-loss? My money is on something to do with the eponymous villain of the piece: APOCALYPSE. OSCAR ISAAC is given a part that disguises his looks (sorry, ladies!) but USES his considerable talents in a way that STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS simply did not.
And the special effects and make up have clearly gone through the requisite post production process now, as this baddie LOOKS a lot more formidable than indicated by previous glimpses. So bye bye to all those ‘Ivan Ooze’ jokes.
All in all..this DOES look good. X MEN: APOCALYPSE is released in MAY and reviewed here at MOVIE-VIRAL, once we have viewed it, using CEREBRO technology.
MUTANT AND PROUD!