The first trailer for Dark Phoenix, the next installment in the revamped X-Men movies, was released last week and it gave us a glimpse at the circumstances that lead to Jean Grey, played by Game of Thrones alum Sophie Turner, possibly losing control of the world-ending threat that is the Phoenix Force.
It’s a good, but not great, trailer that does absolutely nothing to make me excited to see the movie anytime soon.
First, take a look at the trailer below:
Now, if you’re like me, you probably wondered why the producers chose the Phoenix saga as the basis for the latest X-Men movie. And if you’re not like me, allow me to give you four reasons why I’m ambivalent about this movie’s story considering the tons of amazing X-Men stories (helpfully compiled by the folks at IGN here) available to crib from.
1. It’s been done before.
And by that I mean the Dark Phoenix story, one of the most beloved of X-Men story arcs, has been told on film in the 2006 movie X-Men: The Last Stand. Now, whether you hated it or loved it, you probably agree with me that the final act of that movie gave us a truly, terrifying Jean Grey. In fact the demonstration of her Phoenix-infused power-set made an eloquent case for why mutants are very, very dangerous.
But, for reasons that have been covered all over the internet, that movie was not very well received and that led to the 2011 movie X-Men: First Class. The soft reboot was helmed by Matthew Vaughn and his creative vision and willingness to tell a fresh new story delivered one of the best reviewed X-Men movies of all time. Which leads to my second grouse with this movie…
2. It’s not original storytelling.
I know. I know. It’s a comic-book movie and I’m crazy to expect anything original in today’s box-office environment. The suits in the movie studios are often risk-averse and shy away from anything that’s not a guaranteed box-office success.
But in 2011, they did and allowed Matthew Vaughn to craft a period piece that told the story of the birth of the X-Men, explored the complicated friendship between Professor X and Magneto and gave us an epic revenge tale set against the backdrop of the 1962 Cuban Missile crisis.
The combination of a fresh story along with terrific performances by a cast led by Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy took us to places we had never been in the X-Men universe (Argentina with Magneto hunting Nazi’s?) and blew the minds of audiences.
Vaughn dared to reinvent the X-Men and since his departure the X-Men movies are coming full circle right back to things we’ve seen before. And speaking of things we’ve seen before…
3. Close but no cigar on the costumes.
Director Simon Kinsberg has revealed in an interview with Empire that he was thrilled to get a chance to give the audience the comic accurate costumes. “I’ve been waiting to do that from the first time I ever got a call from Avi Arad,” Kinberg said. He goes on to mention that he worked with the costume designer to create something that was loyal to the comics and then also had a little bit of its own feel. There’s little nuances from the cartoons, the comics, from whatever it is that if you were a fan you grew up reading or watching.”
I’m happy for him. Really, I am and he gets an ‘A’ for effort. But sadly, the X-Men are a little late to their own party when it comes to badass, comic accurate costumes. In the trailer the team is wearing jackets that look appropriate for a school field trip than a superhero mission. They got the colors right but that’s about it.
But hey, since Deadpool and Deadpool 2 did X-Men costumes better, lets ask Negasonic Teenage Warhead what she thinks of those outfits.
Yeah, I thought so. And on the subject of things I saw coming…
4. It was a predictable trailer.
Let’s see what the trailer had to offer that anyone could have predicted.
The X-Men in a crisis? Check.
Jean Grey as a child struggling with her powers? Check.
Ms Grey as a young woman with powers she does not fully understand? Check.
Magneto and Xavier at loggerheads? Check.
Mystique as some sort of leader of the X-Men and voice of reason? Check.
Charles Xavier as the deceitful father figure whose attempts to do the right thing may have doomed all humanity? Check.
Everyone piling on Charles for said deed? Check and… wait, Beast is angry with Charles? Okay, that’s new.
But was anyone really blown away by this trailer?
Overall, the vibe felt CW-ish to me with the angsty, betrayal exchange between Professor X and Mystique (who the hell is she to talk about deception by the way?) If you like that sort of thing, that’s fine I guess – no offense to Flarrowverse fans.
I could go on but I’ll stop there because I am a fan and do want to see the movie. Maybe there are going to be surprises and satisfying nods in a great story. After all, it does seem like we finally get to see McAvoy go from full-headed to bald this time and that’s about the only thing I’m even half curious about.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix stars Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, James McAvoy as Professor X, Nicholas Hoult as Beast and Tye Sheridan as Cyclops. Simon Kinberg wrote and directed the film, which hits theaters on February 14th, 2019.