With the impressive roster of superhero films being released this year you'd be forgiven for thinking that X-Men: Apocalypse was in danger of falling by the wayside somewhat. After all, it's got Marvel and Disney's [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409), DC and Warner Bros. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Fox's own Deadpool - which is arguably one of the most anticipated superhero movies ever - to fight against.
But X-Men: Apocalypse has one thing that none of those films have, and that's Oscar Isaac, current up-and-coming golden boy of Hollywood following his praised turn as the charismatic Poe Dameron in the record breaking [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158), and the sleazy Nathan Bateman in Ex Machina last year.
Isaac will portray the titular villain, the dangerous god-like Apocalypse; the oldest living mutant in memory and long running antagonist of the X-Men team. Regardless of what you think of the prosthetic character design (which has drawn a pretty negative reception so far) Apocalypse is shaping up to be the archetypal villain you shouldn't mess with, with the powerhouse performance of the fantastic Isaac behind him.
The Comic Book Apocalypse
There's a lot we can take about his character from the comic books; an ancient, immortal, super-villain, mutant, Apocalypse a long and complex history with everyone's favourite mutants and has appeared in more X-Men titles and series than you can shake a stick at.
Born 5000 years ago, Apocalypse is generally regarded as the first being with the mutant X-gene. He spent most of his life travelling the world, posing as a God and testing civilisations through war and conflict. You didn't want to fail his test though, cause if you did he'd pretty much wipe out your entire civilisation.
It's his powers you want to watch out for though, he possesses complete control over his own molecules, allowing him to manipulate his own form. He can make himself impenetrable or flexible, change size, transform his limbs into weapons or wings, regenerate from fatalities and emulate pretty much any power he can conceive of. He can also project energy, has displayed telepathy and telekinesis, is a super-intelligent scientific genius and a master strategist. Oh and his blood can heal other mutants.
Our Cinematic Villain
That's a lot to adapt into a film, especially if our young team are going to have any chance of defeating this ancient evil. But director and self-ascribed Oscar Isaac fan (who isn't at this juncture?) Simon Kinberg has described Apocalypse as the first on-screen villain who really has the power to go head to head with the other big series antagonist - Magneto (Michael Fassbender):
"[X-Men: Apocalypse] does some things that the franchise hasn’t really done on film. You have a character called Apocalypse, who wants to do a different kind of damage than [any villain in an] X-Men movie ever has. It’s the first time we’ve had a villain in an X-Men movie who could compete in terms of physical power and presence with Magneto. It’s an interesting dynamic to create."
So here's something interesting from the trailer; at one point we see a giant-sized Apocalypse pinning Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) to the ground, but just before that the Professor standing and throwing a punch at the villain.
The giant-sized Apocalypse is a canonical power as in the comics as he can control his molecules (as mentioned above), but it looks like this battle might actually not take place in the real world.
Though Apocalypse growing to great heights works as a central power in the comics it's a bit of a stretch (literally) to translate this power into the slightly more grounded form of cinema.
Add this to the fact that Xavier is shown standing out of his wheelchair and throwing a punch and it starts to look more like this scene will in fact be a dream sequence - or rather - a mental battle of will between the two (which makes sense given Xavier's powers).
But it's not just Xavier who is able to read and enter the minds of others; it's not one of his more prevalent powers but Apocalypse himself has been shown to demonstrate some forms of manipulative telekinesis. Using this power in the film would also explain how he is able to subjugate and control such powerful mutants as Magneto, and why it appears like Xavier is getting overtaken by the power of Apocalypse that he feels in the trailer.
Of course this is likely to be just one of his many powers, and we'll have to wait until X-Men: Apocalypse releases May 27th 2016 to find out the full roster.