The (Re)Rise of Phoenix
At long last, we have a new trailer for X-Men: Dark Phoenix, the presumably final film from Fox that stars the mutants (assuming that New Mutants ever gets released). For being the second adaptation of probably the most famous X-Men story of all time, this new trailer leaves an awful lot to be desired, not even considering that it looks like it’s taking the same “Jean Grey wears a trench coat” approach that X-Men: The Last Stand did. But the trailer even suggests a major death in the movie, something that is confirmed by long-time X-Men producer and first time director Simon Kinberg. Which brings me to my question: does anyone really care about this movie?
Look, I’ll admit that even if Marvel Studios wasn’t acquiring the X-Men characters that my interest level in Dark Phoenix would be pretty minimal. After soaring to new highs with the franchise with First Class and Days of Future Past, I was beyond disappointed with X-Men: Apocalypse, a movie that not only wasted Oscar Isaac, but also somehow turned the franchise into the ultimate wheel-spinner. The X-Men, once again, never became the group of heroes that we thought they’d be at the end of DOFP. Magneto went into hiding, only to maybe be an ally, only to then turn on the X-Men, only to become an ally AGAIN by the end of the film, with Charles Xavier just letting him go. All that, and the fact that the new X-Men barely had enough screen time to make an impact led to a superhero film that I personally think is towards the bottom of the list of modern day comic book films.
But that’s just me, and there’s a chance that Dark Phoenix could be the shot in the arm the franchise needs. But now it has another hill to climb aside from being a follow-up to Apocalypse. It’s now dealing with the widely known (and fairly widely celebrated) fact that Disney has bought Fox, and in doing so will be acquiring the X-Men and Fantastic Four properties. Of course, there’s no solid, definitive statement that either of those characters will be worked into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but all signs point to it happening. So no matter what future events Simon Kinberg teases in this film, the simple fact is that they won’t happen. I can’t imagine Marvel Studios wanting to keep all the baggage of these films and their cast (though I’m still hoping that McAvoy and Fassbender stick around), and try their own spin on these characters.
In a way, I feel kind of bad for Simon Kinberg and everyone involved in Dark Phoenix. When they started work on this film, there were little to no rumblings of Disney buying Fox. But now it’s not only a reality, it’s already been done and is going into effect soon. Imagine putting that much work into something, only to have it be kind of unceremoniously dumped by the studio, and knowing that your work is all over. I’m sure there’s probably a freeing feeling to that, but at the same time, it’s gotta be kind of a bummer. Maybe that’s why Kinberg is so open about revealing things about this film, but I hope that he was able to give the movie the sense of closure these characters need.