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Dark Phoenix

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Dark Phoenix
The Phoenix will NOT Rise! 'Nuff said!
Genre: Superhero
Directed By: Simon Kinberg
Produced By: Simon Kinberg
Hutch Parker
Lauren Shuler Donner
Todd Hallowell
Written By: Simon Kinberg
Based On: X-Men
by Stan Lee
Jack Kirby
The Dark Phoenix Saga
by Chris Claremont
John Byrne
Starring: James McAvoy
Michael Fassbender
Jennifer Lawrence
Nicholas Hoult
Sophie Turner
Tye Sheridan
Alexandra Shipp
Jessica Chastain
Photography: Color
Cinematography: Mauro Fiore
Distributed By: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: June 4, 2019 (TCL Chinese Theatre)
June 7, 2019 (United States)
Runtime: 113 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $200 million
Box Office: $252.4 million
Prequel: X-Men: Apocalypse
Sequel: The New Mutants

Dark Phoenix (also known as and marketed and later released on home media as X-Men: Dark Phoenix) is a 2019 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team The X-Men. It is a sequel to 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse, the seventh installment in the X-Men film series, and the twelfth installment overall. It was written, co-produced, and directed by Simon Kinberg (in his feature directorial debut) and stars an ensemble cast featuring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, and Jessica Chastain. Dark Phoenix tells the origin story of Jean Grey's transformation into the Phoenix, which is triggered by a cosmic force that enhances her psychic abilities. The story follows Jean's gradual descent into madness after the force unleashes repressed traumatic memories from her childhood that causes both her emotions and powers to become unstable, threatening the people she loves.

After X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) erased the events of X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) from the series' timeline, Kinberg expressed interest in a new adaptation of Chris Claremont and John Byrne's "The Dark Phoenix Saga" in a future film that would be more faithful than his previous attempt with The Last Stand, which was met with a mixed reception, with even Kinberg and co-writer Zak Penn ultimately unimpressed with the final product. The new adaptation was confirmed as a follow-up to Apocalypse in 2016. Kinberg signed on as director in June 2017, with the majority of the cast set to return from Apocalypse. Filming began later that month in Montreal and was completed in October 2017; the entire third act was reshot in late 2018 following poor test screenings. The film was dedicated to the memory of X-Men co-creator Stan Lee, who died on November 12, 2018.

Dark Phoenix was theatrically released in the United States on June 7, 2019, produced and distributed by 20th Century Fox. It is the lowest-grossing installment in the main series, and the second-lowest grossing X-Men film behind The New Mutants (2020), which was released in theatres during the COVID-19 pandemic. The film grossed $252 million worldwide on a $200 million production budget and lost an estimated $133 million after marketing and distribution costs, making it one of the biggest box-office bombs of all time. It received mixed reviews from critics.


The X-Men. Protectors of peace. Jean Grey is one of the most beloved X-Men. But when a mission goes wrong, Jean is exposed to a dark and ancient power. This power has destroyed everything it comes in contact with, until her. Now that this power is becoming unstable, she releases it with destruction and anger. Now that this foreign power is consuming her, and the world is threatened, the X-Men have to face an important truth: they must save either the world or their friend who threatens it.

Bad Qualities that Make the Phoenix Fail to Rise

  1. Executive meddling: The film was originally intended to be a faithful adaptation of the Dark Phoenix story arc from The Uncanny X-Men issues after X-Men The Last Stand didn't stay true to it's story arc. However in Dark Phoenix, it later ended up not doing that at all when it was made:
    • The Hellfire Club and Mastermind, whom manipulated Jean Grey's Phoenix powers are replaced by the D'Bari led by Vuk.
    • Jean Grey got her Dark Phoenix powers from a spaceship rescue rather than hijacking the spaceship.
    • Angel, (who died in X-Men: Apocalypse), Wolverine (who disappeared during X-Men: Apocalypse), Kitty Pryde (whom was not even born yet), Multiple Man, Banshee, and Colossus are absent from the film.
    • The Shi'ar who challenged the X-Men against the Dark Phoenix does not appear and are replaced by the aliens called the D’Bari.
    • Magneto, Omega Red and other mutant prisoners were never involved from the comics.
    • One of the more notable is that Beast almost became a villain after Mystique’s death, whereas the comics did not just to add up more plotlines.
  2. It messes up the X-Men timeline even more, which was already a mess before this film. Not only that, this film takes place in 1992, but none of the main characters looked like they aged since the previous films.
    • James McAvoy's Professor Xavier and Michael Fassbender's Magneto age into Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in the time span of eight years.
    • Professor X, Magneto, Mystique, and Beast look like they did not age since 1962, (which is about 30 years in this time.)
    • Quicksilver also looked like he didn't age 19 years since 1973.
    • Cyclops, Jean, Storm, and Nightcrawler also didn't look like they age 9 years since 1983.
  3. A lot of the villains, especially major villains like Magneto are incredibly nerfed, while the characters are still bland and uninteresting like most of the cast in the X-Men films that aren't Professor X, Wolverine, and Magneto. Though Xavier and Magneto aren't that well written here.
    • The film's main antagonist, Vuk, an alien, appears one-dimensional and has generic goals involving with the Phoenix Force. She doesn't feel like an X-Men villain and is quite forgettable.
    • The mutant response division called the M.C.U. have no purpose just to take mutants custody.
  4. The plot with Jean Grey getting the phoenix force is made more confusing since she had it in Apocalypse in the new timeline and defeated Apocalypse with it and she also had it in The Last Stand in the original timeline since Bryan Singer was not available to direct and write the next film due to some incidental allegations and had producer Simon Kinberg to write and direct it as well.
  5. The story itself is all over the place.
    • When Jean gets the Phoenix Force, there are a lot of people hunting her down and some people going out to help her, etc.
  6. Professor Xavier repeats the same motivation as he did in X-Men: The Last Stand.
  7. Although Mystique is very unlikable, Jean Grey killing her was spoiled directly in one of the trailers.
    • Speaking of Mystique's death, it was unsettling to look at.
  8. The scene where Mystique suggested to Xavier that he should change the team name to "X-Women" drew controversy for enforcing unnecessary propaganda rather than good writing. Not to mention, in the context of the movie, it comes right out of nowhere, Mystique just springs it up out of the blue and all anyone can ask is "what was that about?".
  9. Jean Grey's Hans Zimmer music theme was okay but got really annoying at times.
  10. Bad production values and the film refuses to have the color of any sort like most of the X-Men films.
    • Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique make-up looks cheap and half-finished due to possible budget constraints.
  11. Nightcrawler seems a little bit out of character.
    • A lot of the time he has an evil expression in some scenes.
    • And he kills people? Most notably where he stabs someone with his tail and barges in front of a car.
  12. Quicksilver, while still a show stealer, was heavily underutilized and had less than three minutes of screen time, and half of it was just him standing in the background.
    • Also, he doesn't even reveal himself to his father, Magneto.
  13. Bad pacing, especially most of the time Jean is afraid to fight and a lot of characters are being tossed in a lot.
  14. They were going to make two sequels as part of a new trilogy along with The New Mutants, but due to this movie underperforming at the box office and Disney buying Fox three months before this film came out, the planned sequels were cancelled, resulting in any future X-Men films to go to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  15. A lot of corny and unintentionally funny moments that try and fail.
  16. The final scene when Jean was able to use her powers to destroy aliens' ships is too similar to Captain Marvel.
  17. Weak direction by Simon Kinberg, in his directorial debut, who later directed The 355.

Good Qualities

  1. Amazing musical score and soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer.
  2. The performances are decent, just like the many X-Men movies.
  3. Despite being heavily underutilized, Quicksilver is still a show stealer despite only having three minutes of screentime, which is impressive.
    • Evan Peters' performance as him, like always, is still fantastic.
  4. James McAvoy as Professor X looks just like his comic book counterpart.
  5. As mentioned above, the movie has unintentionally funny moments.
  6. This movie doesn't have as much troubled production problems as the next movie, The New Mutants.
  7. The cinematography is good.
  8. The poster is very colorful.


Critical and audience response

Dark Phoenix received generally mixed reviews from critics, even more than X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which was at the time considered the weakest film in the franchise until this movie came along, with many viewing it as a disappointing and anticlimactic conclusion to Fox's X-Men series, although the cinematography, the performances of the cast and Hans Zimmer's score were praised. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 22% based on 366 reviews, with an average rating of 4.63/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Dark Phoenix ends an era of the X-Men franchise by taking a second stab at adapting a classic comics arc—with deeply disappointing results.". On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 43 out of 100, based on 52 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews.". However, audience reception was more mixed, with a 64% on Rotten Tomatoes and a B- in Cinemascore, the latter being the worst-reviewed in the X-Men series, and those at PostTrak gave it an overall positive score of 69% (with an average 3 out of 5 stars) and a 49% "definite recommend."

Chris Stuckmann gives this film a rating of C.

Jeremy Jahns gave this movie a Dogshit! rating.

Angry Joe gave the film a 3/10.

The movie currently has a Google users rating of "72% of users liked this film".

Writing for TheWrap, William Bibbiani said of the film: "It would be wonderful to report that Dark Phoenix was an impressive send-off to this long-running franchise... Instead it's just a disappointingly average superhero flick, with a familiar story, disinterested actors, some cool action sequences, and a whole lot of missed opportunities."[1] Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave the film 1.5 out of 4 stars and said, "It's hard to even render an opinion on the discrete strengths and weaknesses of a franchise that has devolved to the point of Dark Phoenix, a lavishly brutal chore nearly as violent as the Wolverine movie Logan and a movie featuring more death by impalement and whirling metal than all the Saw movies put together."[2]

Matt Goldberg of Collider gave the film a grade of "D" and wrote, "When Marvel Studios inevitably reboots X-Men, a movie like Dark Phoenix will be a forgotten relic. The characters and their world deserve better, but we'll have to wait until their next evolution."[3] Kurt Loder of Reason magazine wrote, "There are several things wrong with Dark Phoenix. I'm tempted to say everything is wrong with it, except that the picture is largely in focus and the credits appear to be correctly spelled. Other than that, though..."[4] Rodrigo Perez of The Playlist said: "Its atrocious, expository dialogue, cumbersome plot, whiplashing character motivations, unintentionally funny moments, and often corny costumes ensure Dark Phoenix will be remembered in the annals of mediocre movies."[5]

Conversely, Variety's Owen Gleiberman summarized his positive review with, "The X-Men franchise wraps up... with a functionally plotted sequel that attains a note of ominous majesty, thanks to Sophie Turner's presence as an X-Woman consumed by the awesomeness of her power."[6]

Kate Erbland of Indiewire and Anne Cohen of Refinery29 criticized certain moments of the film, particularly a moment in which Raven suggests that the name of the team be changed to the "X-Women", for attempting to pander to female audiences, which they described as "cheeky", "inorganic" and "condescending". They compared these to similar moments in other blockbuster films, and Erbland felt that they distracted from more constructive aspects of its female-centric perspective.[7][8] Nikolay Nikolov of Mashable wrote that the feminist messages of the film were "a refreshing attempt to fix some of the mistakes made in the past".[9] However, in the behind-the-scenes feature The Making of Dark Phoenix, both the cast and crew state they didn't intend on making a feminist message.

Kinberg took responsibility for the film's poor reception, stating: "I'm here, I'm saying when a movie doesn't work, put it on me. I'm the writer-director, the movie didn't connect with audiences, that's on me.[10]

Box office

The film grossed $65.8 million in the United States and Canada, and $186.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $252.4 million.[11] Deadline Hollywood calculated the net loss of the film to be $133 million when factoring together all expenses and revenues.[12][13]

In the United States and Canada, Dark Phoenix was released alongside The Secret Life Of Pets 2, and was initially projected to gross $50–60 million from 3,721 theaters in its opening weekend, with the studio expecting a $50-million debut.[14][15] However, after making $14 million on its first day, including $5 million from Thursday night previews (the lowest X-Men total since The Wolverine's $4 million in 2013), projections were lowered to $34 million. It ended up debuting at $32.8 million, finishing second behind The Secret Life Of Pets 2. This was, at the time, the lowest opening weekend total of any film in the franchise by $20 million and the first time an X-Men film did not top the box office the week of its release.[16] In its second weekend, the film fell 71.5% to $9.4 million, finishing fifth. The following weekend, the film was pulled from 1,667 theaters and made $3.5 million, finishing tenth.[17]

In other territories, the film was projected to gross $120–135 million, including $50–60 million from China, for a global debut of around $170 million.[18] The film made $13 million on its first day in China (including previews). It ended up debuting at just $103.7 million internationally and $136.5 million worldwide. Its largest markets were China ($45.6 million), South Korea ($5.1 million), Mexico ($5 million), and the United Kingdom ($4.9 million).[19]

The failure of this film significantly lessened 20th Century Fox's autonomy after Disney acquired the company, with Disney taking a more hands-on approach to handling their new subsidiary than they did with Pixar, Marvel Studios, or Lucasfilm.


The film was nominated for two Golden Raspberry Awards but did not win either of them. It was nominated in the category Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel, and Jessica Chastain was nominated as Worst Supporting Actress, but lost to Rambo: Last Blood and Rebel Wilson in Cats, respectively.[20]



  • Initially, Dark Phoenix was meant to be the first installment of a new trilogy focusing on the younger versions of the original X-Men characters. However, after Disney acquired 20th Century Fox, plans for a trilogy were scrapped. Disney CEO Bob Iger stated that any future X-Men films, along with any future Fantastic Four and Deadpool films, would be produced by Marvel Studios as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.



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