‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ is the last installment of X-Men for 20th Century Fox before the franchise is taken over by Disney. This effectively ends the ‘X-Men: First Class’ saga. The series that began with Charles (Professor X) and Erik (Magneto) ends with them, as well. This is very fitting for a franchise that had these two characters as cornerstones of the current X-Men movie universe.
The story centers on Jean Grey, who is taken over by the cosmic Phoenix Force (not named in the movie) after a successful rescue mission in space. The entity inhabits Jean, which causes a chain of events that serve as the driving force of ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’. At this point, there are only three existing members of the first class still around: Raven aka Mystique, Hank aka The Best, and Charles himself. The other standing members are quite new: Quicksilver, Storm, Cyclops, Jean and Nightcrawler.
Aside from Jean’s transformation, there is another motivating event that drives the characters to the actions they take in the story. This causes a lot of division among friends and teammates to the point that allegiances are blurred. We’re talking about the fate of the universe here decided on Earth, and it can’t be helped that hard choices have to be made.
Also, there is an unknown faction manipulating events in their favor. Upon revelation, they find out that it’s not that easy to sway the current situation to their advantage. The faction tries, but ultimately fails in the presence of an entity too powerful to be controlled by one person… except for one.
Even if you’re not a comic book fan, the reference to the Phoenix should already give you an idea where the story is headed as long as you review a bit of your Egyptian mythology. If you are a comic book fan, there’s a lot of new mutant lore that is shown in ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’. Some characters and references might be too obscure for all but the most loyal of X-Men followers. Still, this should not affect any audience appreciation of the story, whether you are learned in comic books or not.
In the end, ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ centers on family relationships. This is consistent since ‘X-Men: First Class’, which establishes this band of mutants as a tightly knit family however unrelated by blood they are. This filial theme plays an important role to the resolution of the story. If not for the importance of family and its realization, the ending would have been a lot different. This is one of the film’s strongest points. The ultimate sacrifice is made for the sake of the rest of the brood.
‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ is an appropriate requiem to the current franchise. It might not be what others expected, but it sends off these characters into their swan song. Take one final look at these characters, for they most likely will not be portrayed by these actors and actresses again.