I’ve always been a much bigger fan of the X-Men stories and characters than I have been of the Marvel Universe as a whole, Spider-Man notwithstanding. They perfectly meld sociopolitical issues of otherness and prejudice, family drama, and batpoop-crazy sci-fi stuff in the cozy visage of a superhero team. Maybe the finest and most lauded stories they’ve done—the “Phoenix Saga” from 1976-77 and “Dark Phoenix Saga” from 1980—have all the cosmic weirdness you could want from writer Chris Claremont. But this series seemed destined to never get translated properly to big screens.
Yes, the trailers we’ve seen so far of Dark Phoenix, perhaps the last gasp of the Fox-controlled X-Men franchise, have been less than exciting, but the latest international trailer gives us some hope. I’m really not sure why the U.S. trailer was cut in such a lackluster way, but everything about the above international trailer has what we want from a movie seemingly devoted fully to Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) and her interstellar merging with the Phoenix force and the subsequent darkness that overtakes her and endangers her friends. This trailer also shows what is likely the end of Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique, but we need a sacrifice like that for the stakes to be what they need to be.
One of the six billion problems with X-Men: The Last Stand was that it tried to combine too many X-Men elements and stories into one movie, and the Phoenix Saga was all but sidelined in favor of the “Mutant Cure” storyline from the comics. By all accounts, writer-director Simon Kinberg has really focused on the “Dark Phoenix Saga” for the movie that bears its name, as he should.
Jean Grey is easily one of the most complex and interesting (and powerful, let’s be honest) characters in the X-Men books and Marvel Comics as a whole, and it’s a shame she’s never really gotten the chance to take center stage in any of the movies or TV cartoons. I think this could finally be the send-off the First Class-era cast deserves. Let’s just forget all about Apocalypse, please.
Dark Phoenix is set to hit theaters June 7.
Kyle Anderson is the Associate Editor for Nerdist. You can find his film and TV reviews here. Follow him on Twitter!