Unfortunately, all of these critiques apply to Dark Phoenix as well, which spends a considerable amount of time stumbling around aimlessly as we're presented with middling action sequences and melodramatic exchanges that lack genuine emotional substance. "We were basically trawling through the source material it seems". The blurring of the lines between Jean and the Phoenix's respective powers has always been one of the more fascinating elements of their dynamic, but it doesn't quite work in Dark Phoenix because it unintentionally muddles some of the film's big ideas rather than adding a layer of intrigue to them. Let's break it down.
"I'm just happy that Dark Phoenix got her own movie because she deserves it". With Dark Phoenix's release date fast approaching, IGN has revealed new posters featuring Sophie Turner's Jean Grey, Michael Fassbender's Magneto and more characters from the movie. Dark Phoenix is hamstrung by being a forced ending, and by trying so hard not to be Captain Marvel (Jean's Phoenix power is incredibly boring to look at, no doubt because they're trying not to look like they copied Carol Danvers' homework).
In the movie, we get a glimpse of the character played by Halston Sage (The Orville), putting on a light show for the students on the grounds of the manor and surprisingly wearing her iconic white outfit. "So I think you just never know". The movie is a culmination to the X-Men Universe. There is even an element of "Shazam!" in the opening scene, which gives Jean Grey a backstory similar to that of the "Shazam!" antagonist. That is until Xavier, with Scott's help, manages to reach her cell and wake her up.
"My original ending didn't have the entire X-Family together the way they are in the film now", said Kinberg.
Dark Phoenix presents a smaller, more intimate version of the X-Men, with a running time under two hours, a minimum of comic relief, and an attempt at telling a more character-driven story.
But of course, things don't actually end there. Built around a neatly constructed tension and the looming spectre of dissension in the X-Men's ranks, the interpersonal relationships between the characters prove to be way more gripping than the lion's share of the combat or depictions of each mutant's powers. We barely get a chance to even understand what the Phoenix Force is before the plot is in full gear. The final scene has Xavier, now retired from being the head of Xavier's School for Gifted Children (renamed the Jean Grey School for Gifted Children) and quietly enjoying retirement at a Parisian café. Professor X himself retires to Paris, where he meets with Magneto for a game of chess, just like old times-all while a suspiciously Phoenix-shaped neon flare blasts through the sky overhead, implying that Jean may still be out there somewhere.
Until this week, I didn't even know this was part of the X-Men: First Class franchise. Human and mutant relations are, we can assume, looking pretty good and Charles and Erik have found a way to start resolving their perpetual conflict peacefully.