After [X-Men: Days Of Future Past](tag:203942) wowed fans, [X-Men: Apocalypse](tag:1194267) has a lot of hype and fan expectation to live up to, putting a lot of pressure on Oscar Isaac's eponymous villain to deliver. X-Men has never been known for big bad villains: the stories are often more morally grey and complex than that, and even Magneto has sympathetic motivations and redeeming features. The biggest foes the X-Men face are usually societal rejection and their own demons, but Oscar Isaac's Apocalypse looks ready to change all that with his larger than life antagonist.
Oscar Isaac Is Ready To Conquer
Isaac has been building up the role of Apocalypse in recent interviews, describing the character as "playing God". The mutant does seem to be very grandiose, as Isaac described the themes of X-Men: Apocalypse as comparable to a Greek tragedy.
"X-Men was great because there’s an embodiment of such big ideas, you’re not working in the realm of naturalism. Sometimes it’s fun to push performance into other places that is not just about the same kind of verité thing. You can go to heightened places in a Greek tragedy or kabuki kind of way. You have these forms that express more than just an individual’s personality. And that’s been really fun to play with."
Honestly, these lofty ideas could go either way: we're either going to get a fantastically vicious and dramatic villain, or a campy exaggerated mess... though Jupiter Ascending did prove that can be totally awesome.
But so far, the character of Apocalypse seems like exactly what we need from a true comic book villain. The preview reel shown at SDCC heavily featured quotes from Apocalypse, giving fans a good idea of what we can expect from the mutant fiend.
"I was there to spark and fan the flame of man’s awakening. To spin the wheel of civilization. You are all my children and you are lost, because you follow blind leaders. Everything they’ve built will fall and from the ashes of their world we’ll build a better one…"
So it seems that Apocalypse is the oldest mutant we've ever encountered (wait, how does that make sense with the idea of mutations as a late jump in evolution? Eh, it's X-Men, the continuity really doesn't have to matter). He's got a serious god complex, and has decided that now is the time to recruit others into his cult, to... take over the world I guess?
And here's where the story promises to deliver all that morally grey goodness that X-Men does best, because among Apocalypse's followers are some of the franchise's biggest heroes...
Hero or Villain?
Apocalypse is on a mission to recruit the Four Horsemen that will help him achieve his plans, and he's got a pretty good reward to sweeten the deal. Among his extensive mutant powers is the ability to change others' molecular makeup, meaning he can increase his followers' powers tenfold (or twentyfold or thirtyfold... you get the jist).
Archangel is one of the newbies to be unveiled in this film (well, new-ish, but X-Men is notorious for casually re-using mutants that appeared in earlier films and hoping no-one will notice), and will be persuaded by Apocalypse to join the Horsemen. Charles Xavier is also tempted by Apocalypse's offer, which will mark the first time Magneto has chosen to be a follower instead of a leader. That's certainly an interesting twist.
Fan fave Psylocke is finally entering the movie franchise, and will also join Apocalypse's cause. Will she remain a villain or be persuaded to side with Xavier's X-Men? Perhaps most interesting of all, Storm will be the final Horseman. As one of the longest running members of the X-Men, Storm is revered as a goddess in the comics. And she's definitely on the side of good.
Yet Storm joining with Apocalypse may not be as unexpected as you'd think: when Xavier first meets Ororo in the comics, she is a lowly pickpocket in Cairo. Storm hasn't always been so heroic. Perhaps instead of Charles saving her from a life of crime, Apocalypse encourages her less than moral urges, and indoctrinates her to his cause. How can she come back from this? Is there still hope for her to join the X-Men?
With Jean Grey and Scott Summers joining Xavier's team, it looks like Bryan Singer is primed to give X-Men a soft reboot, recasting younger actors in the core X-Men roles. So it's likely that by the end of the film, Storm will join up with Xavier's team. But we'll have to wait until next year to find out how!