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Can Dark Phoenix Honor the Original Storyline?

Just like the Fox version of Jean Grey, I feel like there are two sides of me when it comes to the trailers for the upcoming Dark Phoenix movie. On the one hand, I genuinely love most of the actors and actresses who have been picked to play these roles, and y’all know I love Sophie Turner. On the other hand, everything about this trailer shows little growth and development since the last time we did this (in X-Men: The Last Stand), and it’s just frustrating.

The second trailer was released early today, and I will say that visually, it does look fine. Sophie looks great as Jean. She has worn red hair long enough for us to know it’s a look that works for her, and I do think the special effects have improved a lot since Last Stand. I’m also glad that there will be some element of outer space, even if it’s just at the beginning.

It also looks like Mystique is going to die, and honestly, good riddance. Jennifer Lawerence’s version of the character has been overwhelmingly bland, and once more, her pansexuality was erased. Say what you will about the character’s iterations, but Rebecca Romijn brought a lot of fun and charisma to the character that JLaw, who is a great actress, just doesn’t have.

That all being said, the main issue of this storyline seems to be the way it’s rushing through all the parts of the Phoenix story to go right into Dark Phoenix. As I’ve discussed here, and other comic people like Movie Bob have, the Phoenix/Dark Phoenix storyline is important because of how it functions as a character story for Jean Grey, who, up to that point in comics, had been the “good girl” sort of bland character. The Phoenix storyline played with the way readers had conceived her for years and the in-universe relationships she’d had.

The Phoenix Force was not something that had always been in Jean, as the movies have suggested, including a glimpse of the Phoenix in Age of Apocalypse, when Jean used her power to defeat Apocalypse.

So, is it inaccurate to the comics? Yes, but does that mean the movie can’t be good on its own merits? If we judged every single comic book movie based on how closely it followed the original source material, we’d have a lot of problems. Sometimes, cutting things out can make movies more seamless, and things that work in comics don’t always work onscreen.

That being said, my biggest concern about the film is how it will focus on Jean. Jean is a character who has gotten shafted in the movies since the beginning. She’s been limited to being a love interest and a MacGuffin whenever the situation calls for it. To get the Dark Phoenix right, they need to make sure that the focus of the movie, 80% of the time, is on Jean’s emotional story—on her pain, her conflict, and her trying to figure out what’s going on with her.

It can’t be about Charles Xavier realizing he has ruined someone else’s life, or Magento trying to do … whatever he does in these movies now, or Scott being sad about everything. It has to be about Jean—who she was before, and who she is now—which is what makes me nervous, because we barely know Jean in the movies, and that is a lot of pressure to put on one script.

Still, if this is going to be the end of this incarnation of the X-Men and the end of the Fox X-Men team, I want it to be a strong ending, because for all its ups and down, that universe gave us X2, which is one of the best superhero movies ever.

What do you guys think of the second Dark Phoenix trailer?

(image: 20th Century Fox)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.