Film Trailers

Dark Phoenix: Kill ‘Em All & Let Disney Sort Them Out

Comic book movies usually only gain a sense of finality when the key actors involved truly and finally get tired of playing the characters and/or their contracts expire. Those two things don’t always happen at the same time, of course, but when they do then it’s finally time for a long-running character to die. Otherwise, superhero cinema is the fuel that makes the worldwide box office go and very few are willing to hop off that gravy train unless they have to.

That is, however, unless they are forced off the train by forces outside their control.

Turns out, there is another way for real-world events to lend a comic book movie an actual ending: corporate drama. If your studio suddenly makes a deal for someone else to take over (like Sony lending Spider-Man back to Marvel Studios) or if your studio is simply bought out entirely (like Fox being absorbed by the Disney machine) then whatever plans you had for the future are as dead as Uncle Ben. The last movie you made before the corporate drama is suddenly the end of everything you’ve been doing for years.

Enter The Dark Phoenix, Fox’s 12th overall X-Men movie since 2000 and fourth in the prequel timeline which Matthew Vaughn kickstarted in 2011’s First Class. A youngish Simon Kinberg helped adapt the iconic Dark Phoenix storyline from the comics into 2006’s The Last Stand, and he’s been apologizing for it ever since. This is his do-over as well as his directorial debut, but a lot has changed from the start of production to the release of this new trailer:

The release date has been pushed back repeatedly. Expensive reshoots have been conducted. Crucially, a need for some actual finality has been forced on them because after Dark Phoenix and New Mutants Marvel Studios gets to hit the giant reset button. It’s almost like the people in Fox’s marketing department – ya know, the same people about to lose their jobs as part of Disney’s “efficiencies” – knew what they were doing in selecting The Doors’ “The End” for the mandatory old rock song to accompany the first Dark Phoenix trailer.

However, if people didn’t get the message then they sure seem to now, thanks primarily to this new trailer which outright spoils the big death everyone had already guessed and heavily implies she might not be the only one to go.

Yes, Mystique dies, thus fulfilling Jennifer Lawrence’s lifelong dream of never having to wear that make-up or costume again. If the trailer didn’t make that clear enough for you, Kinberg confirmed it in an Entertainment Weekly interview. He also teased the film will deliver several more “major casualties.”

It’s certainly possible that in a post-Infinity War world Fox’s marketing people wanted to make it seem like Dark Phoenix will deliver more death than it actually does and Kinberg is playing along. However, the trailer is very convincing in arguing everyone might be fair game, including Magneto, Beast, Quicksilver, and Professor Xavier, all of them seem caught in potentially fatal confrontations with Sophie Turner’s Dark Phoenix.

And why not? Other than the Deadpool universe, Marvel Studios is just going to recast everyone and start over. At this point, kill ‘em all and let Disney sort them out, that’s what I always say. When it actually applies…like it does here…and pretty much only here.

I still can’t shake how much this movie still seems airlifted in from another era. The same was true of Apocalypse as well. The endless delays – they finished principal photography October 2017 – certainly don’t help. Expectations, inevitably, are pretty low. However, gifted with such a protracted post-production process I have a feeling Dark Phoenix might need its own subtitle: Simon Kinberg Kills the X-Men Universe. That’ll at least be something new.

Dark Phoenix is due June 7, 2019.

7 comments

  1. Big improvement. Still just a rental though.

    What do you think is the deal with all the terrible unfinished first trailers lately? Venom, this, Hellboy…why do they even release those first ones? Just to test the waters and see what changes they should make? Seems like the damage to the reputation of the movie in question wouldn’t be worth it, but then again Venom seemed to come out ahead against all odds. I can’t imagine Dark Phoenix or Hellboy seeing that kind of success, but I guess you never know.

    You think this is something we’re going to be seeing a lot more of from now on?

    1. Oh, wow, that Hellboy trailer … not to repeat a cliche at this point, but I’ve seen video game cut scenes that look better.

      I don’t know about this as a new trend, though. This has kind of been the way of things for years now. I still recall how PS3-like the Green Goblin looked in the Amazing Spider-Man 2 trailers. By the time the movie came out, he at least looked PS4 caliber, if not even better 🙂

      The argument then is the same as the argument now – the tighter the production schedule, the higher the likelihood of the CGI not being done until right before the release date. That was the case with the first Ant-Man, for example. In those situations, the VFX department (or VFX house they outsource to) can only hand the studio’s marketing department the best they have, and sometimes their best at that exact moment is awful because they have so much more work to do. Hellboy, for example, seems to be a victim of this. It seems like Millenium has pushed that thing through production at warp speed. Dark Phoenix, on the other hand, has no such excuse. As I said in post, they finished filmed in October of 2017 and announced a year-long post-production schedule beginning in December 2017. For the visuals to look bad now is simply on them for delivering so-so work, that is unless the reshoots truly were more massive than we know.

  2. Scorch the earth! The fans of this take had their fan. time for something new which might satisfy the people who are still waiting for a proper adaptation of the X-men.

  3. I imagine Deadpool, in his next movie, would say something about being the only one in the X-Men universe who survived the Apocalypse, Thanos’ snap, and the wrath of Dark Phoenix. Yeah, and Simon Kinberg.

    I’m thinking this movie’s dead from the get go. Why re-do Dark Phoenix saga? I think we’re all better off thinking this franchise ended with Days of Future Past. Nevermind if that doesn’t make it a trilogy. And of they wanted to make more movies, it would have been better if Apocalypese and Dark Phoenix were spin-offs. I mean, alternate timeline, alternate future or whatnot.

    1. You’re absolutely right. If Dark Phoenix annihilates the X-Men in this movie and the next time we see Deadpool he’s kind of MCU-adjacent, he’ll have to hang a lantern on that, if not in the movie then probably in one of those meta trailers Ryan Reynolds is so good at.

      Also, you’re right. At this point, it’s obvious Days of Future Past should have probably just been the end of things followed by Logan and then Deadpool taking over as the sole representative of the X-Men universe.

    1. If there is, I’d say this trailer deserves at least a 9.

      Funny thing about it is – there actually is a ratings system which grades for Spoilers. It’s just only used by Honest Trailers since most of their videos start with a “This Trailer Has Been Rated S for Spoilers.”

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