This is said practically every year, but 2016 is gearing up to be the year of the superhero (at least, until 2017 comes along). The MCU and DC releases have been getting the most attention, with the build-up for the Batman v Superman and Civil War trailers reaching a fever pitch amongst fans that some films aren’t even lucky to get during their premieres. It was a pleasant surprise then to see the trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse got dropped rather unexpectedly on YouTube, though the relative lack of pre-publicity has not stopped the footage from racking up over 5 million views in its first 12 hours.
With several key plot details – such as the identity of the titular villain’s four Horsemen and the return of Rose Byrne as Moira MacTaggert – already revealed earlier, the two and a half minute video ran the risk of being boring. Fortunately, the marketing team seems to have a keen understanding of what it takes to keep us intrigued. It’s a sombre trailer from the outset, with visions of future destruction coupled with Apocalypse’s (Oscar Isaac) relentless pursuit of power and new recruits.
Interestingly, most of the Horsemen’s clips seem to show them looking unhappy at being included in the big bad’s squad, hinting at what could be brilliant and detailed backstories to their involvement in his schemes. The returning cast provide the familiarity and continuity from Bryan Singer’s masterful Days of Future Past, and the new faces get a fair amount of screen time too, hinting at a piece that is more focused on an ensemble than just one mutant (looking at you, conspicuously absent Wolverine).
“It’s a sombre trailer from the outset”
The trailer also throws in some tantalising glimpses of key set pieces – but crucially, only glimpses – as well as providing at least one shot of almost every major mutant in the film. As for the final seconds… well, money shots are rarely as understated yet powerful. If the final product is as good, it could well be the best superhero film next year.