X-Men: Dark Phoenix won’t repeat X-Men: Apocalypse’s mistakes

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According to mythology, a phoenix will die in a fire before being reborn again from the ashes. How fitting then that the next X-Men movie will tackle the famous Phoenix storyline from the comics, as the previous film, X-Men: Apocalypse, was a flaming wreck. Ignoring the continuity established in previous films, relegating popular characters to just standing around and doing nothing, rehashing story beats that had already been resolved, picking a fantastic actor to play one of the X-Men’s greatest villains only to depict him as a lame, doe-eyed, Power Rangers baddie, etc. The list of X-Men: Apocalypse’s foibles is a lengthy one, but it’s one that X-Men: Dark Phoenix’s writer/director Simon Kinberg is well aware of.

Of course, Kinberg would be aware, seeing as he wrote and produced Apocalypse for director Bryan Singer along with most of the other X-Men movies. However, stepping behind the camera to direct himself for the first time in his career, Kinberg knows that those mistakes can’t be repeated and need to be addressed, as explained during an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

I think we took our eye off what has always been the bedrock of the franchise which is these characters. It became about global destruction and visual effects over emotion and character…

One of the things I went into this film wanting to do is obviously focus on the characters and give them real emotions to play and come up with a theme that would make it feel relevant and necessary in today’s world.

Kinberg also continued, explaining that his pitch to Fox for the visuals of Dark Phoenix was to have it “all feel organic and it needs to feel like it lives in our world.” Actress Sophie Turner, who was introduced in X-Men: Apocalypse as the young Jean Grey – the telepathic/telekinetic mutant girl who loses control of her power through the influence of an ancient cosmic force and becomes the Dark Phoenix – elaborated on Kinberg’s statement. According to Turner, despite X-Men: Dark Phoenix’s cosmic, world-ending narrative, the film would boast a lot more realism than its predecessor.

It is so gritty and there are so many fantastical things in this movie and we really wanted it to resonate with every member of the audience who watches it so we had to make to so real as well. You still get that sense of escapism when people start flying but there’s so much reality in it. I think it will really affect people. And the way Simon shot it — the majority of this movie is handheld, like Steadicam.

Going mostly handheld is definitely an intriguing approach here. As this is his debut behind the camera, we have no idea what Kinberg’s directing style is. Will he just imitate Singer and the other X-Men directors or do something unexpected. However it plays out, as long as Olivia Munn’s Psylocke actually gets to do more in this movie than look pretty in a blue swimsuit, it’s already a step in the right direction.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix also stars James McAvoy as Charles Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, Nicholas Hoult as Beast, Tye Sheridan as Cyclops, Alexandra Shipp as Storm, Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler, Evan Peters as Quicksilver and Jessica Chastain as a mysterious new alien shapeshifter villain. It is scheduled for release on 2 November 2018.

Last Updated: December 12, 2017

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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