• Follow us

Entertainment

Why a ‘Dark Phoenix’ movie could never do the beloved ‘X-Men’ story line justice

“Hear me, X-Men! No longer am I the woman you knew! I am fire! And life incarnate! Now and forever I am Phoenix!”

These are the words Jean Grey says when she first bursts onto the page as Phoenix in “X-Men” No. 101 (1976) after sacrificing herself to pilot a spaceship through cosmic radiation to get her friends safely back to Earth.

She makes the same declaration on the last page of “X-Men” No. 134 (1980) when she rises as Dark Phoenix shortly before destroying the aircraft she and her friends were aboard.

A story that spans that many comic book issues is nearly impossible to tell in a single movie, but that hasn’t stopped Hollywood from trying … twice. The latest effort is “Dark Phoenix,” which hit theaters Friday and promptly scored the lowest opening weekend gross in “X-Men” franchise history.

Advertisement

While this adaptation features more elements from the comics than 2006’s “X-Men: The Last Stand,” neither did the original story justice.

RELATED: With ‘Dark Phoenix,’ ‘X-Men’ architect Simon Kinberg knew he was making a grand finale »

The arc that has come to be known as “The Dark Phoenix Saga,” by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, spans “X-Men” Nos. 129-138. The first half of the story pits the X-Men against the Inner Circle — leaders of a group called the Hellfire Club — who seek to manipulate the powerful Phoenix for their own agenda.

Through a disgusting violation of Jean’s mind and body, Jason Wyngarde, a.k.a. Mastermind, taps into Phoenix’s dark side to gradually transform her into the Black Queen of the Inner Circle and pits her against the X-Men. Unfortunately for Mastermind, he underestimates Phoenix’s power and she unleashes her full force to destroy his mind.

Advertisement

Marvel Comic Book by Chris Claremont and John Byrne. X-Men, The Dark Phoenix Saga. Courtesy of Marv

"X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga" by Chris Claremont and John Byrne.

(Marvel Entertainment)

Addicted to the thrill of using this power, Dark Phoenix is born and the story turns to the cosmos.

That said, Dark Phoenix’s destructive reign lasts just two issues before Professor X uses his mental powers to build a network of “psionic circuit breakers” to bind the Force inside Jean’s mind. But this was only after Dark Phoenix already terrorized Jean’s friends and family, casually committed cosmic genocide when devouring a star and destroyed an alien fleet that tried to challenge her.

“The Dark Phoenix Saga” ends with Jean realizing that as long as Phoenix is within her, becoming Dark Phoenix is inevitable. So she uses Phoenix’s power to save the universe from herself.

“All beings carry a capacity for good and evil … Our reason … gives us the responsibility of choosing between them,” says the Watcher, at the end of “X-Men” No. 137. “Jean Grey could have lived to become a god. But it was more important to her that she die… a human.”

But the tragedy of “The Dark Phoenix Saga” — the weight of Jean’s sacrifice — relies on all of Jean’s story that comes between the first time she declares herself Phoenix and her demise.

After dying to rescue her friends by piloting a shuttle through cosmic radiation, Jean is immediately reborn with new cosmic powers.

Phoenix’s powers turn Jean from one of the weakest (and fairly minor) members of the X-Men into the most powerful being. During Claremont, Dave Cockrum and Byrne’s “Phoenix Saga” (“X-Men” Nos. 101-08), Jean as Phoenix wields her powers to save the universe from an armageddon initiated by the ruler of a huge space empire.

Advertisement

The “Phoenix Saga” and “The Dark Phoenix Saga” are two parts of the same story. The nuance of showing Jean become Earth’s greatest hero, have some struggles and then fully embrace being a villain as Dark Phoenix is what made the original comic book story line so remarkable.

“Dark Phoenix” — a direct follow-up to the re-introduction of Jean Grey in “X-Men: Apocalypse,” in which she’s played by “Game of Thrones” actress Sophie Turner — is unable to truly capture that evolution.

“The Last Stand” at least had two prior films featuring Famke Janssen’s Jean Grey as a more central part of the X-team. But the Phoenix arc was still shortchanged by becoming one of several story lines in a single film. And neither attempt bothered to dig into Jean’s transformation into Phoenix before she goes all dark.

la-1560103902-ugxvkqy5hf-snap-image

"X-Men: The Animated Series" told the Dark Phoenix story line better than any single feature film can.

(Fox Kids Network)

It’s why the best adaptation of “The Dark Phoenix Saga” is still the one done by “X-Men: The Animated Series.” The ’90s cartoon spent five episodes to tell the “Phoenix Saga” before tackling the “Dark Phoenix Saga” in a four-part arc a few episodes later.

In the animated “X-Men,” Jean was understood to be powerful but she didn’t always stand out against Rogue’s displays of raw power and Storm’s regal elemental might. The events of Jean acquiring her new powers, her struggles and her turn to the dark side were shown in episodes that were fairly faithful to the comics with one big change — the animated “Dark Phoenix Saga” had a more kid-friendly ending.

But copying the plot points isn’t what’s important for telling a convincing “Dark Phoenix” story.

Taking the time to establish Jean/Phoenix as an unstoppable hero to root for, then turning her into an unstoppable villain to channel the complexities of the original story is what any “Dark Phoenix” adaptation needs to be successful.

Advertisement

Perhaps, with the X-Men now under the control of Marvel Studios following the recent Disney-Fox merger, Kevin Feige will figure out a way to do the story justice. Maybe as its own Disney+ limited series, or a multi-film arc in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Until then, any effort is likely to go down in flames.

tracy.brown@latimes.com

Twitter: @tracycbrown

Read More



Leave A Comment

More News

Just Jared

Riverdale's Vanessa Morgan is Engaged to Michael Kopech! 2019-07-03 19:47:53Congratulations are in order for Vanessa Morgan and Michael Kopech! The 27-year-old Riverdale actress and the 23-year-old baseball pitcher for the Chi

Did Nike Purposely Manufacture the Colin Kaepernick Betsy 2019-07-03 19:33:58This Shark Tank star believes Nike knew exactly what they were doing when they pulled the controversial Betsy Ross flag shoe, which Colin Kaepernick c

Celebs Applaud Halle Bailey's Casting as Ariel in 2019-07-03 19:17:04Celebs are reacting to Halle Bailey (not Halle BERRY) snagging the role of Ariel in Disney’s upcoming live-action The Little Mermaid. The 19-yea

Jenelle Evans Is Getting Custody of Her Children 2019-07-03 19:14:48Jenelle Evans will regain custody of her children. The 27-year-old Teen Mom star, who lost custody of her children back in May because of an incident

Liam Payne Drops His Capsule Collection With 'Hugo' 2019-07-03 19:01:46Liam Payne has teamed up with Hugo for his debut fashion campaign! The collection was unveiled at an event during Berlin Fashion Week tonight (July 3)

Rick & Kathy Hilton Sued for Allegedly Owing 2019-07-03 18:50:05Rick and Kathy Hilton, Paris and Nicky Hilton‘s parents, are being sued for allegedly owing their housekeeper thousands of dollars in unpaid wag

Zendaya Says Her Face 'Freezes' Before On-Camera Interviews 2019-07-03 18:34:07Zendaya has the perfect backdrop for these gorgeous photos during her trip to Paris, France on Tuesday night (July 2). The 22-year-old Spider-Man: Far

Sky Ferreira Sides With Taylor Swift in Scooter 2019-07-03 18:14:33Sky Ferreira is on Taylor Swift‘s side after she expressed how upset she is that Scooter Braun now owns her master recordings. The 26-year-old s

Halle Bailey, Not Halle Berry, Is Playing Ariel 2019-07-03 18:10:24Guys, it’s Halle BAILEY, not Halle BERRY, who is playing Ariel in Disney’s upcoming live-action The Little Mermaid. Fans have been confusi

Justin Bieber Joins Wife Hailey For Lunch Date 2019-07-03 18:03:19Justin and wife Hailey Bieber arrive with big smiles on their faces for a lunch date on Wednesday afternoon (July 3) in Beverly Hills, Calif. The twos

Dean McDermott Opens Up About His Gay Son 2019-07-03 18:01:08Dean McDermott is sharing his love for his oldest son, Jack, right in the wake of Pride Month. The 52-year-old actor spoke about his 20-year-old son d

Emma Roberts & Garrett Hedlund Catch a Flight 2019-07-03 17:29:02Emma Roberts and Garrett Hedlund couple up for a flight at LAX Airport! The 28-year-old American Horror Story actress and the 34-year-old Triple Front

Arts & Entertainment -

Why didn’t Disney just explain why it cut 2019-07-03 19:25:00Disney is not a company known for explaining itself, but why on earth it would do a good thing in a way that makes it look shady really is beyond me.

Halle Bailey will play Ariel in the live-action 2019-07-03 18:15:00Halle Bailey is your new Ariel. On Wednesday, Disney announced that the singer and actress has been cast as the lead of its live-action adaptation of

Taylor Swift, entitled millionaire, is the labor activist 2019-07-03 16:55:00Taylor Swift, one of pop music’s most polarizing superstars, is enmeshed in another very public battle, and the world has promptly, predictably,

Review: ‘Stranger Things 3’ finds new horrors at 2019-07-03 16:30:00Demogorgons. Mad scientists. A parallel universe. It’s seemed that Hawkins, Ind., had seen it all over the past two seasons of “Stranger T

Reviews: Sylvester Stallone and Dave Bautista in ‘Escape 2019-07-03 16:20:00'Escape Plan: The Extractors' In 2013, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger co-starred in “Escape Plan,” a two-fisted prison pic

Review: Before RuPaul, the documentary ‘Paris Is Burning’ 2019-07-03 15:40:00Over the past decade, Jennie Livingston’s landmark 1990 documentary “Paris Is Burning” has had a renaissance of sorts, thanks in no

In action-comedy ‘Stuber,’ Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista 2019-07-03 14:55:00Theirs was a gentle friendship forged in the cozy confines of an eco-friendly Nissan Leaf, the electric car that serves as a roving setting for broman

‘Toy Story 2’ casting-couch outtake is not so 2019-07-03 14:30:00The far-reaching #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have hit the Walt Disney Co. yet again, resulting in the reported deletion of a 20-year-old cast

Best live music in L.A.: Nile Rodgers, Chrissie 2019-07-03 14:10:00Celebrate the long weekend in style with a full slate of July 4th festivities and gigs from hometown icons. July 4th Fireworks Spectacular with Nile R

Review: Getty Villa’s ‘Buried by Vesuvius’ is exquisite 2019-07-03 13:55:00When Mt. Vesuvius blew its top in AD 79, the now-fabled volcanic eruption began a winding sequence of events that, exactly 1,900 years later, heralded

ASAP Rocky is behind bars in Sweden after 2019-07-03 13:50:00ASAP Rocky was arrested early Wednesday in Stockholm, Sweden, on suspicion of gross assault after a Sunday altercation that was captured in part on vi

Dance studios are the latest pushed out by 2019-07-03 12:30:00For a room full of teenage tap dancers, the studio at Dance Arts Academy was surprisingly quiet. About 40 dancers were sitting on the wooden floor, ea

Reuters: Entertainment News

Japan sending patent officials to U.S. over Kim 2019-07-02 02:39:26Japan is to send patent officials to the United States to discuss the flap over Kim Kardashian’s Kimono brand underwear, the trade minister said

Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber at odds in 2019-07-01 21:28:25Pop superstar Taylor Swift has attacked Justin Bieber's manager for buying her music catalog, prompting Bieber to come to his defense in a heated onl

Lady Gaga, Letitia Wright among hundreds invited to 2019-07-01 16:55:15The group that hands out the Oscars said on Monday it had invited 842 new members from 59 countries including Lady Gaga, Sterling K. Brown and Letitia

Back to black for Christian Dior at sumptuous 2019-07-01 16:37:09With a series of all-black bustier gowns that would not have looked out of place on Grace Kelly, a vintage mood reigned on the catwalk at Christian Di

Giambattista Valli skips the runway for floral fashion 2019-07-01 15:21:27Known for his ultra-feminine, silhouette-driven gowns, couturier Giambattista Valli shook up Haute Couture fashion week in Paris on Monday with a bota

British singer Cliff Richard demands change to sex 2019-07-01 08:48:25British singer Cliff Richard joined forces with other high profile figures in the media on Monday to demand that those people accused of sexual offens

Indian actress draws fire for quitting over Islamic 2019-07-01 08:40:41A Muslim actress' decision to quit Bollywood, saying acting was taking her away from her faith, has triggered a backlash in India from fellow actors

Kylie Minogue sparkles on Glastonbury stage 14 years 2019-06-30 15:14:34Kylie Minogue delighted a huge crowd at Glastonbury with hits including "Spinning Around", "Shocked" and "Better the Devil You Know", 14 years a

David Attenborough thanks Glastonbury for plastic bottle ban 2019-06-30 13:41:14The world renowned naturalist David Attenborough appeared on the stage at Glastonbury on Sunday to praise its ban on single-use plastic bottles, delig

Box Office: 'Toy Story 4' bests 'Annabelle Comes 2019-06-30 13:02:40LOS ANGELES, (Variety.com) - Woody, Buzz Lightyear and Forky are still ruling the box office. Despite solid debuts from newcomers "Annabelle Comes Ho

Glastonbury's plastic bottle ban tested by hot weather 2019-06-30 10:14:24Britain's Glastonbury Festival is greener and cleaner after banning the sale of single-use plastic bottles in the hope of inspiring long-term change

Stormzy's stab-vest for landmark Glastonbury gig designed by 2019-06-30 08:33:20A Union Jack emblazoned stab-proof vest worn by British rapper Stormzy for his history-making headline performance at the Glastonbury Music Festival w

TORONTO STAR | ENTERTAINMENT

Vinay Menon: Scooter Braun feud is part of 2019-07-03 13:28:23Even as her incredible talent drives her higher into the stratosphere, Taylor Swift insists others are holding her down, writes Vinay Menon.

Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road becomes longest-running 2019-07-03 12:07:22“Old Town Road” stayed at No.1 for its 13th consecutive week, beating out “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth, &ld

Vancouver symphony’s park shows had delights and a 2019-07-03 12:00:00Becoming the backup band for a drag show is a surprising moment in the life of a classical musician, but summer is the time for such surprises, Willia

Roxodus music festival cancelled due to ill-prepared event 2019-07-03 09:28:21Organizers say the venue at Edenvale Airport “battled tremendous rainy weather” over the past several months, soaking the grounds and maki

BoJack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg shines darkly in 2019-07-03 08:27:20The book proves Bob-Waksberg can conjure many modern miseries beyond those of a talking horse.

Controversial anti-abortion film Unplanned to hit more than 2019-07-03 08:15:19Top film critics on movie review aggregation websites Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes have panned it, with many calling it propaganda. But audience sco

Jason Priestley leaves it on the dance floor 2019-07-03 06:00:00

Waterloo-raised comic Courtney Gilmour, born without hands and 2019-07-03 00:00:00Gilmour was the first female comic to win the Just for Laughs homegrown competition in Montreal in 2017.

Stranger Things is back. Here’s where Season 2 2019-07-02 21:40:14The Netflix series is steeped in nostalgia for the Spielbergian comforts of a suburban past but is really about the perpetual trauma of characters who

This year’s Toronto Fringe Festival has a Filipino 2019-07-02 17:59:11Annual fest includes the Filipinx shows Through the Bamboo, Tita Jokes and Monica vs. the internet, while Kanto by Tita Flips will serve food at the f

Wynonna Earp finally gets green light for fourth 2019-07-02 16:37:10

Does Mischa Barton-Perez Hilton fight The Hills reboot 2019-07-02 16:13:10The enmity between actress Mischa Barton and celebrity blogger Perez Hilton captured in The Hills reboot hearkened to the often relentlessly cruel cel


Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.