I’m worried. After watching the trailer for X-Men Dark Phoenix, I’m worried that the franchise will be leaving Disney on a low note. I’ve been a big fan of the X-Men franchise for its entire existence. It has done a wonderful job of translating the characters I grew up idolizing to live action. Even their missteps (Origins Wolverine, The Last Stand, and Apocalypse) haven’t been all bad. Without Origins Wolverine we wouldn’t have Deadpool. Without The Last Stand we wouldn’t have the reset, First Class. And without Apocalypse, we wouldn’t have a new generation of characters.
But Dark Phoenix worries me.
The movie follows one of the most cherished stories in X-Men history the Dark Phoenix Saga. In the story, Jean Grey sacrifices her life to save her fellow X-Men. Unbeknownst to any, instead of dying she merges with the Phoenix Force. With it inside her, she slowly embraces her dark side and begins her descent/ascent to becoming one of the most feared and respected characters in X-Men history.
The problem with what The Dark Phoenix movie is trying to do, and maybe it’s my skepticism from Apocalypse shining through, is that I have zero reason to care for characters in the movie. Sorry, I have no reason to care for any character not named Magneto and Charles Xavier.
The truth is that I don’t even care for Mystique. After watching Jennifer Lawrence give lacklustre performances for multiple movies, I just don’t care for the character. Even as a kid I didn’t like her. Worse yet, Fox seems to have an agenda to push Mystique down our throats. I’ve never understood why. She is a small player in X-Men and many of the comic book stories the movies have built themselves around, don’t even include her.
Most of the characters in Dark Phoenix were introduced in X-Men Apocalypse.
And therein lies the problem. This version of Jean Grey has no history and no reason for the audience to connect with her. The Dark Phoenix Saga worked because Chris Claremont brilliantly took one of the most beloved characters in X-Men history and killed her. No disrespect, Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey is not beloved. To put it bluntly, I don’t give a shit about this Jean Grey. She won’t keep me up and night wondering why she was killed, nor will I develop deep-rooted feelings for her.
I don’t want to go as far as saying that Fox has killed the X-Men franchise because they’ve done so much for comic book movies. However, I can’t help but not to say it.
Sadly, Dark Phoenix and this Jean Grey will only further prove me right.
The X-Men Dark Phoenix movie hits theatres June 7, 2019.