The Fox Studios X-Men franchise brought us the modern superhero movie. I know that Blade came before it, but that was a completely different monster. Literally, it was a monster film that just so happened to be based on a comic book. X-Men really took the comic book movie to the next level and showed the world that campiness didn’t have to be the only way. There are people that genuinely like X2, First Class, and Days of Future Past, but there have been less than stellar installations within this franchise. One of those less than stellar outings was 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand. This film aimed to tell the beloved Dark Phoenix story but it left a lot to be desired. 13 years later, Fox is giving the Jean Grey story a second try…
While at WonderCon, Director Simon Kinberg was asked about the darkness of this upcoming film:
“I don’t know that we’re on a DC level of darkness, and I say that as a fan of some DC movies. I’m certainly a huge fan of the Dark Night movies. I think there is still an inherrent optimism to X-Men movies despite them being edgier and darker than a lot of other superhero films. I think that inherrent optimism comes from Professor X.”
I get that. Ever since First Class we’ve seen less dark in colors and more dark in tone than the original three films. The originals all had black leather and mad a joke about blue and yellow spandex… silly Fox. The movies have most certainly touched on darker subjects than trying to turn everyone into a mutant or trying to cure all of the mutants. With the word ‘Dark’ in the title, you would expect this movie to be heavier than its predecessors. Charles Xavier has always been the optimistic one. The one who wanted to save humans from war with mutants, to save Magneto, and to save his students. This movie looks to test that optimism.
Kinberg was then asked about when the decision to do the Phoenix Saga again happened and why:
“When I wrote the end of Days of Future Past, and we did a reset. I felt as though there was an opportunity to retell X-men 3, and I’d be lying to you if I said there wasnt a part of me that wrote that ending so that we could have another crack at Dark Phoenix. I felt we couldn’t do it in the next film, Apocalypse, because we would be introducing a new Jean and we need to earn our way into the Dark Phoenix story.”
That sounds good on paper, but is one movie was not enough for us to build a relationship with Jean and care about her? Especially when she was sidelined to play in Mystique’s shadow. Then we see Jean use the Phoenix Force in Apocalypse which brings so much into question in this next film. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Is it always in her and needs to be awakened, is only part of it there and the rest in space, or will this just be another moment of Fox and company not being able to keep up with their own canon?
Kinberg goes on to explain how grounded and based on reality this film is but that they ensured they had an alien with Chastain’s character and the cosmic stuff with the Phoenix itself. I always love when filmmakers try to talk about balancing reality and fantasy. They sure do love to throw around those buzz words of “grounded”, “real”, and “gritty”… I love it!
One of the last questions asked dealt with whether or not that fans will get closure with this film:
“When I first statred writing it three plus years ago, it takes a long time to gestate a movie, and long before there was any idea of a Disney aquisition of Fox. I felt as though, and we all did, that this was the culmination of this cycle of X-Men movies. Not necessarily the end, but the culmination.”
So Fox had no intention of ending this franchise. Makes sense. They were looking at all sorts of solo projects and spin-offs. What’s really funny is when Kinberg says that this may not be the end of the cycle. He uses the word “if” in this instance.
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