Olivia Munn called herself a “geek goddess” during her time as a G4 TV host. It may have been pandering, but no one doubted how legit she looked in Wonder Woman and Chun-Li cosplay. Now, The Newsroom alum is dressing up for real as Psylocke in the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse, and the new Super Bowl commercial showed a brief glimpse of her in action.
It looks as though Bryan Singer and the filmmakers of X-Men: Apocalypse finally get it. Olivia Munn’s Psylocke looks exactly like she jumped from the page, as do Jubilee and Jean Grey. Oscar Isaac’s Apocalypse is appropriately cartoonish. Wolverine is … missing, but if he shows up, maybe he’ll finally wear some color, too. After 15 years and, like, 300 X-Men movies, Munn as Psylocke shows the filmmakers of X-Men finally give a shit about the X-Men comics.
Munn is perfect. The purple latex getup is both (A) hilariously impractical for a character who will be locked physical battles, and (B) exactly how Psylocke looks in the comics. In fact, she’s among the few characters these X-Men films have ever gotten right. Here Psylocke is in the Super Bowl ad:
And her she is on the page in Marvel’s usual depiction:
There’s a line in the first X-Men that used to be funny but now induces eye-rolling on repeat viewings: Talking to Wolverine, Cyclops asks, “What were you expecting, yellow spandex?” Today, fans would shout “YES.” We are expecting yellow spandex in our silly comic book movies. Maybe we were just angry in the ’90s, but we implicitly agreed boring black leather was the ideal superhero look.
Just check out this Class of 2000 group shot from that film. It’s like a biker gang mated with a stainless steel kitchen.
The unofficial mandate for movie superheroes to look like cyberpunk/BDSM enthusiasts disappeared after X-Men when Sam Raimi proved in Spider-Man that red and blue spandex can look great without studded leather or armor.
More colorful heroes came and went, but the X-Men movies stubbornly stuck to its subdued leather unis, depriving its characters from looking like their comic book counterparts. Wolverine made a generic motorcycle jacket and jeans his own, and you’d know who Cyclops is only because he’s the one asshole wearing Oakleys indoors. Exceptions like Mystique and Beast were rare, and there is no extra credit for casting Patrick Stewart as a bald guy.
The X-Men movies looked like they were on the right track in 2011, adopting a more colorful costume palette in First Class that saw a clear homage to the original suits designed by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
But by 2014’s Days of Future Past, all that good will was squandered when the filmmakers returned the characters to their group Halloween costume as a SWAT team.
One could explain that Days of Future Past’s apocalyptic premise means a shortage of blue spandex and that plated armor is way more practical. But then again, Captain America fought actual Nazis who possessed occult superpowers and still wore the Star-Spangled Banner with pride. Today, we look forward to that guy’s next movie, and, in fact, his corny outfit adds only so much more meaning when his ideals are questioned in films like The Winter Soldier.
When X-Men: Apocalypse arrives in theaters May 27, at least diehard X-Men fans can ease up knowing they’ll see exactly whom they paid for. Not The Matrix with superpowers.