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'X-Men: Apocalypse' trailer – can the movie continue the franchise's success?

'Apocalypse' features the return of actors Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, and Michael Fassbender as well as new stars like Sophie Turner and Kodi Smit-McPhee. The film will be released this May.

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A new trailer has been released for the upcoming superhero movie “X-Men: Apocalypse.” 

The newest film features the return of Jennifer Lawrence as the character Mystique as well as James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as friends-turned-enemies Professor Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr, also known as Magneto. “Apocalypse” features the debut of actors who are new to the franchise as well, including “Game of Thrones” actress Sophie Turner as a younger version of the “X-Men” character Jean Grey and Kodi Smit-McPhee of “Slow West” as a younger version of the “X-Men” character Nightcrawler. 

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” actor Oscar Isaac stars as villain Apocalypse, who threatens various X-Men while others choose to team up with him. 

The new film will be the third starring Lawrence, Fassbender, and McAvoy and is the follow-up to the 2014 critically acclaimed box office hit “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” 

To continue that success, how should “Apocalypse” resemble the hit movie “Days”? 

“Days” centered on X-Man Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), who time-travels back to the 1970s to attempt to stop a disaster. He meets younger versions of characters like Professor Xavier and Erik, as portrayed by McAvoy and Fassbender. Monitor film critic Peter Rainer wrote that he found some of the time-travel mechanics confusing but that the movie was enjoyable because of its funny tone and well executed, small moments. 

“What elevates this film above most of its predecessors is the dynamic action filmmaking and, above all, its wit,” Rainer wrote. He notes that a scene in which superhero Quicksilver (Evan Peters) moves quickly in order to tilt the action in favor of his friends is “relatively free from mayhem" but is “a classic sequence."

Those making “Apocalypse” shouldn’t be afraid to make the proceedings light at times and to add quiet moments to the movie.

Judging by the review written by Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times, those behind the “X-Men” films also shouldn’t be afraid to discuss weighty themes in the movies. “Allowing one of the mutant corps to travel back to save a perilous present paves the way for all of the X-Men to find their better selves,” Ms. Sharkey wrote. “And who wouldn't want a chance to do that? … ‘Future Past’ is a deeper, richer, more thoughtful film, more existential in its contemplations than earlier ‘Xs.’”

While easier said than done, bringing on the right cast members for the franchise is also crucial. Fassbender, McAvoy, and Lawrence’s turns in the movies have been praised since their first appearances in 2011’s “X-Men: First Class,” and Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers called Fassbender and McAvoy “both terrific” while writing that “for scene-stealing, the prize goes to Jennifer Lawrence, whose shape-shifting, blue-skinned Mystique is a match for any man or mutant.” 

While it remains to be seen whether the trio will return for any “X-Men” movies after “Apocalypse,” good casting decisions could be on display with the newbies to the films, of which there are several in “Apocalypse.” Fans will no doubt be curious to see how Ms. Turner, Mr. Smit-McPhee, Olivia Munn, Alexandra Shipp, and Tye Sheridan do in the new film.

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