When Dark Phoenix lands in cinemas this summer, it won’t be without its fair share of setbacks. Its release has been rescheduled twice, it has had a number of reshoots after test screenings were rumoured to be unpopular, and it has faced much criticism online with many feeling that it is just a rehash of 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, the movie it is trying to take a redeeming second stab at. Not to mention the recent billion dollar deal that saw Disney acquire all of Fox’s film and TV assets, throwing the movie and the series’ future into further doubt.
But, despite everything, it appears Dark Phoenix will persevere to its June 7th release. It aims to give fans of the series a faithful adaptation of the iconic comic book storyline, The Dark Phoenix Saga, in which the X-Men must face off against one of their own, as the telepathic Jean Grey succumbs to the power of the Phoenix Force, granting her unimaginable and uncontrollable power.
As mentioned, the storyline was loosely (and poorly) adapted in 2006s X-Men: The Last Stand. The main focus of that film was the development of a cure for mutants, while the Dark Phoenix storyline was relegated to a clumsy subplot. Dark Phoenix‘s director Simon Kinberg was a writer on the poorly received TLS and it’s clear from interviews that he is keen to avoid a repeat of its failures. Especially seeing as Dark Phoenix will now likely serve as an ending to the franchise as we know it at Fox, with Disney having begun making long anticipated plans to introduce the characters into the hugely popular Marvel Cinematic Universe.
So, Dark Phoenix has a big weight on it’s shoulders to deliver not only a better adaptation than has come previously, but also a fitting send off to a series that spans almost 20 years and arguably kicked off the current superhero movie dominance at box offices across the world. And, while everyone will have moments from The Last Stand that they would rather forget or have drastically changed, there is one hugely important one that must NOT be repeated, or no matter what happens the film will once again be criticised.
In the closing scenes of TLS, Jean Grey (played by Famke Janssen) becomes fully corrupted by the Phoenix and begins to use her overwhelming power to disintegrate everything and everyone on Alcatraz Island. Wolverine (played then by everyones favourite, Hugh Jackman), manages to reach her and tells her he would happily die for her, which triggers something in Jean, allowing her to gain control for a brief moment to beg Wolverine to kill her. This particular moment was a butchering of the original storyline!
In the source material, the X-Men battle Jean/Phoenix in an attempt to stop her after she causes untold destruction, even going so far as to destroy an entire planet, murdering billions. It becomes clear that nobody has the power to stop Jean, until she manages to regain control and chooses to kill herself before she kills or hurts anyone else. It’s an emotional moment, as the character battles back against the immense power that is trying to consume her and ultimately decides to sacrifice herself to stop it.
The Last Stand destroyed this powerful moment by having Wolverine kill Jean. Rather than having her fight back against the power inside her and choose to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect the people she loves, her death was used to advance Wolverine’s story in future instalments of the franchise. The original moment from the comic packs an emotional punch, and absolutely should remain the same when Dark Phoenix flies into cinemas this June.
Are you excited or Dark Phoenix? Or just excited for the series to wrap up and move to the MCU? Let me know below!