“X-Men Dark Phoenix” reminds us that our emotions make us stronger

Warning: Minor spoilers ahead!

Photo by 20th Century Fox

Sophie Turner (Jean Grey) and Jessica Chastain (Vuk), 20th Century Fox

Words by Marielle Balmores

Growing up in the 2000s, kids back then (shout-out to fellow 90s kids and those from early 2000s!), myself included, were lucky to grow up with numerous film franchises that widened our imaginations. I’m talking about Harry Potter, the Avengers, Shrek, Men in Black, Toy Story, the X-Men, and many more. Although a majority of them have already ended, especially the well-cherished Avengers franchise, another franchise has recently made a comeback!

Yes, the X-Men universe is finally back after its 2016 release of X-Men Apocalypse. This film has been rescheduled a few times, with its original deadline being last year, but nonetheless! It’s here to push you off the edge with thrill and battles versus new villains and even among the X-Men characters themselves.

Magneto vs. Professor X again? Maybe so.

Captivating actors such as James McAvoy (Professor X/Charles Xavier), Michael Fassbender (Magneto/Erik Lehnsherr), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique/Raven Darkhölme), Nicholas Hoult (Beast/Hank McCoy), Evan Peters (Quicksilver/Peter Maximoff), Tye Sheridan (Cyclops/Scott Summers), and Sophie Turner (Jean Grey/now Dark Phoenix) reprised their famous roles. Also, a new character was revealed! Jessica Chastain makes her first appearance in the X-Men universe as Vuk, the antagonistic leader of the alien race D’Bari, aiming to gain the Phoenix force. 

sophie turner in XMEN DARK PHOENIX

Jean Grey now as the Dark Phoenix, 20th Century Fox

X-Men Dark Phoenix starts off with a glimpse into the heavy-hearted life of the young Jean Grey before she was taken under the wing of Professor X. Confused then with her “gift” (the term the professor used to refer to her mutant skills), she entrusted her life to him and let him guide her into controlling and using it for good rather than bad.
Fast forward to 1992, a decade after X-Men Apocalypse. The X-Men are tasked to rescue delegates from NASA after their aircraft ended up in ruins after taking off and also being near the presence of a big foreign entity known as the Phoenix Force. The team succeeded in saving those in the plane, but for Jean, she was accidentally left behind to absorb all the overwhelming energy from the force that eventually messes with her mutant skills in order to protect everyone. Though she gains strength and even gets Hank to create new technology to match with her “off-the-chart” power levels, it could also lead people to their demise.
Her confusion on the new force in her led her to isolate herself from the team so she would not affect any more people, despite being on everyone’s radar to find and even capture.

Along that path, she meets an alien-like shapeshifter who is after the force within Jean. Telling her that the force chose her, she should use it the way she wants to. Thus, she causes more harm along the way and even gets other characters to fight against each other again. Another battle of ideals of what is right.


L-R: Storm, Red Lotus, Beast, Magneto, Night Crawler and Selene, 20th Century Fox

Most, if not all, characters in this film were very emotionally vulnerable since Jean manifested the force and, rather than letting those emotions get the best of them, they used it to their advantage in order to help take care of each other. It helped them put aside their differences in the meantime to conquer a bigger problem: alien domination.

Alongside the emotional vulnerability, one impactful detail is the sisterly relationship between Jean Grey and Raven. Prior to the life-threatening rescue mission, Jean unintentionally noticed how uneasy Raven was because of the risks involved and comforted her that things will be alright since their teamwork is strong. Also, Raven did her best to reassure Jean that she will always have family in X-Men when the strength of the Phoenix force in her took over for the worst. Since the X-Men franchise has featured mainly the male characters (Magneto vs. Professor X), it is remarkable how we’re seeing all this female empowerment in today’s hero films and no longer pushing it aside.

(RELATED: “Dark Phoenix”: Finally a Female Lead in an X-Men Movie)

Another detail I couldn’t help but point out is the protectiveness of two important men in Jean Grey’s life: Charles Xavier and Scott Summer. For Charles, who serves as her most prominent paternal figure and teacher after her biological father willingly abandoned her, he always encouraged her that her skills are not weird nor awful, but a gift that should be rightfully developed. Though he succeeds in making her stay and appreciate her gift, there were questionable precautions he took after Jean’s abandonment so it would not harm her future. Surely, it was out of pure love but was it for the best that he did what he did? Well, that’s up for you to unravel and ponder on.

As for Scott, he was always looking out for her even when she was at her weakest, like when she fainted during the bonfire scene with her fellow mutants. When he almost lost her forever in the rescue mission, the color of his face drained in fright. Then when everyone was after her, he wasn’t angry even if he had the right to be. He wanted to save her, hoping that she was still the same girl he loved despite the powerful force was still there. But that wasn’t up to him.

sophie turner tye sheridan in X MEN DARK PHOENIX

Jean Grey and Scott Summers, 20th Century Fox

For a comeback, this film is pretty well done. It’s about time we got an X-Men film since the universe went on mini-hiatus, and I’m ready for more adventures ahead. I do think that the character development of Jean Grey transforming into the Dark Phoenix did not really climax as much as I hoped, however, Sophie Turner’s portrayal of her really caught my attention because she knows how to dominate in roles of invincible women (ahem, Sansa Stark). The comical Quicksilver, on the other hand, actually matured much more than we saw previously and helped others rather himself, but still had the playful glint around the younger mutants, which was a nice touch above the drama. 

You can catch “X-Men Dark Phoenix” in cinemas nationwide by June 5 and then share your own thoughts about it with us! Go take a peek on the final trailer here if you haven’t seen it!