Already part of New New Star Wars, Oscar Isaac is adding another huge franchise to his roster as he is joining X-Men: Apocalypse as the titular villain. Isaac’s been on the brink for a few years now, and it’s really feeling like he’s ready to make the leap and hit the mainstream in a big way. He’s got a solid lineup—an actor’s showcase this year with A Most Violent Year, a supporting role in next year’s Star Wars re-launch, and now in 2016, he’ll be the big bad in an X-Men movie. It’s not a bad run.
Isaac was a favorite of Marvel Studios’ for Dr. Strange—at this point, who hasn’t been?—but he turned that gig down. Dr. Strange is a serious time commitment, no less than four films by 2019, which means doing little else but being in Marvel movies. X-Men: Apocalypse, however, is a high-profile, popular superhero gig that lasts only the one movie. It’s the final installment in the “early days” trilogy that started with X-Men: First Class, and will be set in the 1980s and revolve around Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Magneto’s (Michael Fassbender) budding love affair. For an actor as in demand as Isaac, X-Men is a much better deal. Same exposure for less time given.
My only reservation is that the X-Men movies have a serious villain problem. Besides Magneto, they haven’t produced one interesting villain. Everyone has a villain problem, but it’s especially noticeable in the X-Men movies. It would be entirely possible to make one without having a real villain, since all the drama and tension in those movies derives from the clashing ideologies of Professor X and Magneto. Villains are a secondary concern, and Fox has already wasted a number of good actors in villain roles over the years, most recently Peter Dinklage as the entirely forgettable Bolivar Trask in X-Men: Days of Future Past. For Oscar Isaac, this makes a lot of sense from a business perspective, but villain roles work best when they’re memorable, and the X-Men can’t be counted on for that.
Attached – Oscar Isaac promoting A Most Violent Year last week.