The culmination of a superhero saga nearly two decades in the making is upon us when 20th Century Fox’s take on Marvel’s “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” opens in Philippine cinemas on June 5.
The spectacular new blockbuster is part science-fiction thriller, part character-driven drama, posing intriguing questions about identity and destiny. The emotional story of a divided hero, a divided family and a divided world, “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp and Jessica Chastain. The film was written and directed by Simon Kinberg and produced by Simon Kinberg, Hutch Parker, Lauren Shuler Donner and Todd Hallowell.
It’s the question at the heart of one of the most enduring storylines in the decades-long history of the X-Men comic books, the Dark Phoenix saga. Written by industry legend Chris Claremont and illustrated by artist John Byrne in 1980, the story in many ways represents the ultimate X-Men tale: Jean Grey (Turner) is transformed into a force that not even her mutant family can comprehend. She becomes an outsider among outsiders, a being beyond the reach of even those closest to her.
“The Dark Phoenix saga is one of the most beloved of the X-Men series in its long lineage, primarily because it’s not a story where you have heroes and villains, black and white,” says Simon Kinberg.
At its core, this is a tale of a woman struggling with her personal demons, and only the love of her family—the X-Men—can save her soul, and the world. “This movie’s very different from the previous X-Men movies,” Kinberg says. “The source material is different from the other X-Men comics that we’ve drawn upon in the past. It’s more psychologically complex and emotionally volatile. The emotions it gets into are rawer than a lot of the other X-Men comics.”
It’s a fitting conclusion to the X-Men franchise’s remarkable 18-year run. With X-Men: Dark Phoenix serving as the culmination of the saga after an impressive 12 films, producer Hutch Parker, who was there at the inception of 2000’s X-Men, says the experience of bringing the franchise full circle feels bittersweet.
“What we were able to do with the first film was introduce a tone that would have seemed, I think to most eyes, impossible in association with what we knew comic book movies to be at that time,” Parker says. “It was a game-changer in my opinion. Since then, comic-book films have become such an exciting and fertile platform. I feel like we’re only beginning to see the diversity of storytelling that’s possible within these worlds and with these characters. I’m grateful to have been a part of it, but I’m also aware that it will continue on long after all of us have moved on.”
From 20th Century Fox, “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” opens in PH cinemas nationwide on June 5.