The X-Men movies are wildly uneven, ranging from “highly enjoyable” to “utterly godawful”, but the prequel trilogy starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence has generally been good. That’s a great ensemble making fun movies that are good for the most part. But the trailers for the latest X-movie have not been impressive. Now there’s a new trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse, and it isn’t helping. It’s as bad as the first trailer—maybe even worse, given how f*cking bored everyone looks to be there.
Jennifer Lawrence looks 100% done with the blue body paint, and indeed, this trailer is the first time we actually see her in Blue Mystique mode—I bet we only see Blue Mystique for 20% of the movie. Michael Fassbender looks equally over it, and Oscar Isaac looks like he actually might be asleep at one point. Even James McAvoy, usually the guy you can count on to throw himself wholeheartedly into a project no matter how questionable it may be, looks like he just wants to go home.
The action doesn’t look much better. It’s the same kind of CG destructo-city kit every superhero movie uses, and though a few of the X-Men have striking visual costumes, like Psylocke, most of them are wearing generic black body armor that looks weirdly cheap. It’s a shame—the X-Men have some of the most colorful, individual costumes in comic books, yet the movies keep shoving them into these one-size-fits-all body armor monstrosities. Even Magneto’s costume looks like they’re trying to de-wackify a guy in a metal helmet and purple cape.
This is the legacy of Tom Rothman, who hates superhero movies and resents having to make them (he’s now the chief at Sony, so have fun with Spider-Man, guy!). Rothman famously told the X-Men producers they couldn’t use the mutant-killing Sentinel robots in the movies—which was the first thing the X-movies busted out after Rothman left Fox. But his distaste for the endeavor lingers in the upper echelons of management, and no matter how much money they spend, the X-movies always end up looking a little cheap and slap-dash.
X-Men: Apocalypse opens three weeks after Captain America: Civil War. People around the industry are starting to put together projections on that movie, and it’s shaping up to be a MONSTER. In the wake of that, and Superhero Face Punch and the surprise success of Deadpool before it, what’s left for the X-Men? And how did Marvel’s marquee heroes end up an afterthought?