When it comes to the X-Men films it’s a mixed bag. The first two, original films are usually still regarded as some of the best in the franchise, back when effort was required as superhero films were less of a guarantee. X-Men: The Last Stand has been in hindsight considered a solid film but cram-packed with too many characters and a splintered plot. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is pretty much a film everyone wants to forget (With each of those solo films getting progressively better with Logan considered an artistic high point). Deadpool is highly regarded but the first film was made on a small budget for a superhero film so there was a certain natural, on-the-fly process in the story. Deadpool 2 was more outrageous but at least it didn’t hinge on trying to be part of the main films. First Class, the first in the prequel series of films, was considered a return to form but it’s still a basic “How-we-got-there” prequel. Days of Future Past is highly acclaimed, but in hindsight it’s been evaluated by some as having a very flawed storyline (Time travel am I right?).
But what really started to ruin the series almost unanimously was considered X-Men: Apocalypse in 2016. A film that tried to be like a Marvel film, setting up future films (Namely the upcoming Dark Phoenix) and have all the bombastic flair of one, but lacking an understanding of the characters in the film. One major issue was of course the titular villain, played by Oscar Isaac. Reduced to another repetitive genocidal mutant villain (Original for an X-Men film right?!), the character was already being scrutinized in early promotional photos for looking nothing like the character and lacking the intimidating nature of the character in the source material.
As it turns out, Isaac himself wasn’t too pleased with it, although from his perspective it was namely the required heavy make-up that made it a…less than enjoyable experience. In a new interview, Isaac delves deeper into why that was:
Apocalypse, that was excruciating. I didn’t know when I said yes that that was what was going to be happening. That I was going to be encased in glue, latex and a 40-pound suit – that I had to wear a cooling mechanism at all times.
I was like, “Oh, I get to work with these great actors that I like so much,” but I couldn’t even see them because I couldn’t move my head. And I had to sit on a specially designed saddle, because that’s the only thing I could really sit on, and I would be rolled into a cooling tent in-between takes.
And every time I moved, it was just like rubber and plastic squeaking, so everything I said had to be dubbed later as well. And then getting it off was the worst part, because they just had to kind of scrape it off for hours and hours. So, that was X-Men: Apocalypse.
This is not the first we’ve heard this complaint. Both Mystique actresses, Rebecca Romijn and then Jennifer Lawrence, complained in the past of the process with the latter ultimately using a body suit since Days of Future Past (Which is very clear and the scales now look like glued-on paper machete in my opinion). Alan Cumming, who played Nightcrawler in X2, ultimately chose not to return for The Last Stand because he also found the process difficult to sit through (His character’s disappearance in-story was explained through X-Men: The Official Game in which Cumming voiced the character).
I have to say though…what did Isaac expect? That he was going to do motion capture? That he was going to wear a light spray over of paint? That his skin would be digitally colored in post-production? How could an actor in the business for as long as he has been not be aware of this process. It was nothing new, especially in the X-Men films, which I assume he watched a couple installments of before he felt that Apocalypse was a film he wanted to sign onto. Much like Lawrence’s complaints, it feels a bit like undeserved complaining and a sign of ignorance on their part. At least Cumming had the good sense not to opt for reducing the quality of his character’s look like Lawrence did but Isaac’s complaints just feel utterly baffling.
And given he’s also in the new Star Wars trilogy (Which he did started doing BEFORE Apocalypse), again it feels like he should have known what he was signing on for. I guess though this is just another sign of how no one seems to enjoy doing these X-Men films anymore with even audiences noting almost phoned-in performances from half of the cast anyway. Seems a good thing that this continuity is coming to an end with Marvel Studios expecting to reboot the franchise (Certainly not to use this incredibly convoluted continuity).