The newest movie poster of Dark Phoenix (or X-Men: Dark Phoenix in some other countries) has been released and so has the second movie trailer which you can watch right here.
Previously scheduled for a November 2018 release, Dark Phoenix is all set to to fill up the movie screens – including IMAX – in cinemas around the world this June and fans of the X-Men movies developed by 20th Century Fox will finally be getting their fill of fun.
The new movie is the 2nd cinematic adaptation of the classic Dark Phoenix storyline of the X-Men comics. It has superstar Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, Sophie Turner as Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix, James McAvoy as Charles Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Tye Sheridan as Cyclops and Jessica Chastain as an alien shapeshifter. Given the fact that 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past erased X-Men: The Last Stand (the unfaithful Dark Phoenix adaptation) from canon, the 2019 X-Men film will be the DP cinematic story to see.
Dark Phoenix is set in the year 1992 (9 years after X-Men: Apocalypse) and Charles Xavier’s team of mutants face their most formidable and powerful foe yet who happens to be one of their own…Jean Grey. During a rescue mission in space, Jean gets hit by a mysterious cosmic force. As a result, she gains tremendous power but struggles to contain it. What makes things more difficult is her raging emotions.
At least from its premise, the movie has potential. I myself am an X-Men fan as well as a long-time comic book collector. The Dark Phoenix Saga is one of my favorite storylines of not just the X-Men but of all superhero comics in general. I could never forget the very powerful storytelling pulled off by Chris Claremont and John Byrne. The Dark Phoenix Saga in comics has always been very engaging to read on my part.
Within that storyline, the stakes were raised very high and each member of the team – Charles Xavier, Colossus Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler and others – each had a nice contribution to the overall development of the team as it struggled with the moral complications related to Jean Grey’s struggle with Dark Phoenix not to mention her being responsible for the countless deaths of inhabitants of planets destroyed. Also included in the saga was the Hellfire Club
Naturally I cannot expect Simon Kinberg and his team to pull off a 100% faithful adaptation of the literary storyline. As such he and his creative team have a story of conflict and division that looks like will challenge each X-Men member personally as their team struggles with Jean Grey.
The newest movie trailer is an improvement over the previous one and now the cinematic plot looks clearer. I just hope that the marketing team at 20th Century Fox did not reveal potential surprises from the movie.
As much as I enjoyed the X-Men movies and comics, there are a few signs of concern that can potentially make Dark Phoenix a major disappointment.
The first sign is that this movie is Simon Kinberg’s directorial debut. Checking his record on IMDB.com, he worked as a screenwriter, producer and as Second Unit Director (notably on the pathetic 2015 Fantastic Four movie). I’m not putting Kinberg down but those credentials don’t convince me he could effectively direct a solid film. As I learned in film school from my Hollywood mentor almost 15 years ago, the film debut of a Hollywood director is often the worst film as he makes more films.
Many times in Hollywood, the director’s 2nd movie turned out not only a major improvement over his/her first film but also a critical and/or commercial hit. Look at the 2009 Star Trek movie which was J.J. Abrams‘ 2nd movie as director. That was a critical hit and it grossed $385,680,446 worldwide. Remember when Iron Man 3 made $1,214,811,252 in global ticket sales in 2013? That movie was Shane Black‘s 2nd directorial effort!
I can only hope that Kinberg can prove me wrong by making a really great and fun movie despite the tremendous odds stacked against him. It is very rare that a movie directed by a first-time director would become a hit. Maybe Kinberg can pull off a Dances With Wolves with Dark Phoenix.
The next sign is that key storytelling elements from the 2006 disappointment X-Men: The Last Stand seem to be resurfacing in the new movie according to the latest trailer released today. Those elements include Charles Xavier taking special responsibility of Jean Grey when she was a little girl. Jean Grey becoming unstable with her tremendous power which affects her relationship with the X-Men. Also if you look closely at the movie poster posted below, you will notice Jean Grey wearing (on the other half) a coat that resembles what the X-Men: Last Stand Jean Grey (then played by Famke Jansen) wore.
Still there is potential in the movie to deliver something new as far as storytelling is concerned. Key portions of the latest trailer show Cyclops showing greater concern for Jean Grey (which reminds me of what I read in The Dark Phoenix Saga) and he even pushes Charles Xavier to answer his questions. Xavier could only say “I don’t know what to do!”
It has been reported that Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige reviewed the script of Dark Phoenix although it’s not necessarily a sure sign that the X-Men cinematic universe will end and somehow the X-Men will become part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) within the movie.
Even though there are uncertainties, I intend to watch Dark Phoenix in the local cinemas this June. The uncertainties actually motivate me watch and find out the answers if there are any. Also I want to experience again the fun of watching Fassbender, McAvoy, Lawrence and Hoult reprising their roles. Sophie Turner meanwhile proved to be good as Jean Grey in X-Men: Apocalypse and I really want to see her portray the character struggling with the Phoenix. I am confident she can do a much better job than Famke Jansen.
Now if only the clock could move faster…
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