This week sees Dark Phoenix landing in cinemas. The movie is so highly anticipated that you’d need Colossus to handle the weight of expectation. It may look like just another comic book flick to the outside world, but fans know the significance of this particular entry, and its impact on Marvel’s big screen exploits in general.
Dark Phoenix rests on the shoulders of rising star Sophie Turner, who plays the powerful title role. Here’s what to expect from the latest adventure…
The end of X-Men movies as we know them
The original X-Men movie came out in 2000. Feeling old yet? After multiple films featuring different casts and alternate timelines, this will be the final installment made at 20thCentury Fox.
There was some hope from writer/director Simon Kinberg that Dark Phoenix would launch a new sequence of movies starring a relatively-new cast, but this was dashed. Prof. Xavier and co. are headed to Marvel Studios and their all-conquering Cinematic Universe. Whether actors such as James McAvoy will be along for the ride remains to be seen.
A new direction
Reports have been circulating for some time that the movie would be much darker than previous chapters. Early reviews have backed that up, mentioning some gruesome-sounding deaths.
Dark Phoenix is also a chance for the Fox movies to change course on one of the most famous storylines in Marvel mutant history. The transformation of Jean Grey into the dangerous Dark Phoenix dates back to 1976. A mysterious deep space solar flare boosted Jean’s capabilities, giving rise (quite literally, after all she is a phoenix) to an inner-battle with the darker side of her nature.
Producers attempted to shoehorn the plot into 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand. Despite the shocking spectacle of Jean (Famke Janssen) murdering boyfriend Cyclops (James Marsden), it was felt they wasted the opportunity. The Dark Phoenix character jostled for attention alongside other elements, and the film in general was rightly criticized.
Now is Kinberg’s opportunity to redress the balance (he co-wrote The Last Stand). With the previous timeline erased and his butt in the director’s chair, he wants to do justice to Grey’s personal and very violent journey.
People are worried about it
The movie has taken a long time to emerge from its comic book chrysalis. Wrapping in late 2017, its release was delayed by reshoots. Test screenings were apparently responsible for these, and coordinating the schedules of big stars like Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique) proved challenging. Olivia Munn reportedly couldn’t play Psylocke again due to clashes with another troubled project, The Predator.
When any major film takes a while to reach cinemas, there’s worry amongst fans that things aren’t going well. Truth is, some of the best films have had their behind the scenes issues. However the word “reshoots” can’t help but cause concern, suggesting the final product needs serious repair work.
What is Jessica Chastain doing in the movie?
Ever since The Last Stand, the X-Men have had a mixed reception on the big screen. First Class (2011) was a promising relaunch of the franchise, but since then it’s been a bit of a lottery. Days Of Future Past (2014) saw original franchise cast members mixing it up with their fresher counterparts, and 2016’s Apocalypse was tarred with the “meh” brush.
One thing you can guarantee with the franchise are quality performances. One of the major talking points has been the interplay between James McAvoy’s Xavier and Michael Fassbender’s Magneto. Dark Phoenix delivers an extra helping of acting prowess by adding Jessica Chastain to the cast.
Her role in the movie was shrouded in mystery, though has since been revealed as (spoiler alert) Vuk of the D’Bari race. She should make a fine contribution to the roster of X-Men villainy. Chastain is also good pals with Oscar Isaac, who donned the latex as Apocalypse in the previous installment.
The classic characters
Not only does Dark Phoenix have the epic task of portraying a fan favourite story, it also has to give a send off to a diverse and long-running team of mutants. How it handles this will be one of the most eagerly-awaited details of the movie. We know from advance publicity that at least one classic character is due to meet a sticky end.
What other upsets does Kinberg have in store? How does Magneto’s saga end? Will Charles and Eric finally have that smooch millions have been asking for? Dark Phoenix is out now and you can find out for yourself.
Maria Hart is an enthusiast of the comic-book industry, which is why she loves to share her knowledge with all the fans of comics, movies and TV shows out there. Her passion and love towards the industry are what make her articles outstand and gain the interest of many readers.