Fox's adaptation of the popular Marvel characters first debuted almost two decades ago. In many ways, the first two films kickstarted the comic book movie trend that dominates the big screen today. Along the way, the franchise has experienced its share of highs and lows. For every Deadpool and Logan, there was also X-Men: Apocalypse and X-Men: The Last Stand. Regardless, with Disney acquiring Fox and reclaiming the rights to the characters on Marvel's behalf, many remained hopeful that the saga would not only end on a high note, but erase the bad taste each of those latter film's left in fans' mouths. Unfortunately, despite the potential to be brilliant, the end result proved to be anything but. The film not only bombed at the box office, but it was also the worst reviewed of the saga.
The only hope that remained was that attending audiences would at least derive more enjoyment from the film than critics. According to CinemaScore, however, the film only fared marginally better with them than they did with critics. The overall score for Dark Phoenix ended up with a B- rating. On the surface, it may not seem particularly terrible, but it is also far from great, especially when compared to the heights of previous X-Men outings. Even the much-maligned X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which featured the oft-mocked version of Deadpool that had his mouth sewn shut, scored a B+. The rest of the mainline films all rest comfortably with As.
The production of Dark Phoenix was plagued with issues almost from the outset. Not only was the installment constantly being rewritten on set, it also underwent extensive reshoots. These were largely focused on its third act. For a time it was believed that the changes were a result of sharing too similar an ending to Captain Marvel, Simon Kinberg, who wrote and directed Dark Phoenix, stated that the original ending was more aligned with Captain America: Civil War. Kinberg has another film, Killer's Game, on the way, and he was announced to be writing a new version of Logan's Run.
The future of the X-Men remains in the air. The scheduled New Mutants film is still expected to be released, but it was recently pushed back to April. As well as that, reshoots have still yet to take place. Beyond that, it's expected that Marvel Studios will wait a good few years before rebooting the characters, and it may not be until Phase 5 or beyond that they finally return to the screen. As such, it's too early to know which characters Kevin Feige will put front and center and which stories they will adapt. Following the two failed attempts, however, fans will no doubt be torn between hope that the MCU can one day do the iconic comic book arc justice and those that think Dark Phoenix should just remain on the page.
- New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020