There were supposed to be two X-Men movies this year. They both got pushed back to 2019. The New Mutants—the horror-flavored teen one—and X-Men: Dark Phoenix—the grown up one—both needed reshoots, though reports vary on how extensive they really are. From what I’ve been able to gather, New Mutants is getting a pretty significant overhaul and it’s pushed back the farthest, to August 2019. Dark Phoenix was originally reported as needing three months of reshoots, which is basically just making a new movie, and then it was two weeks, then three weeks—they’ve been shooting all month but I’ve heard they’re not expected to go much longer. So not as bad as three months but not the “don’t panic just two weeks” either. Here’s the thing though: None of it matters.
None of it matters for two reasons, the biggest one being that no matter what they do, the X-Movies are not good. They are a spectacular waste of tremendous talent, and based on its new trailer, Dark Phoenix does not look any different. It’s a lot of good actors running around in cheap-looking Halloween Store costumes, Jennifer Lawrence looking bored and put out to be there, and weirdly small and unattractive cinema. The casting is so brilliant, it’s endlessly frustrating to see this cast wasted on these cut-rate movies.
Dark Phoenix is a popular storyline in the comics that has already been butchered in the movies (the execrable X3), and this new trailer is not making me think that THIS will be the Dark Phoenix we deserve. It’s nothing Sophie Turner—or any other actor—is doing, it’s just the whole shape of it is wrong. I understand that Jennifer Lawrence got really famous after being cast in this franchise, but Mystique is a side character and insisting on making her a central player has damaged these stories and the minute she started talking in the trailer I went, “Oh no, don’t do that,” because Dark Phoenix does not need Mystique. Also, the whole thing just looks so small and dark—like actually underlit—and that has been a problem for the X-Movies for a really long time now. With the exception of Logan, they all look cheap and hastily made, even if that is not at all the case. But for whatever reason, the X-brain trust is incapable of making an attractive movie. Remember how beautiful Black Panther is? How big and grand Infinity War? Now look at this trailer. It looks like a basic cable show circa 2003.
But the other reason none of this matters is because Dark Phoenix is a lame duck movie (ditto for The New Mutants). Disney officially takes over Fox next year. The X-Men will be returned to the Marvel toy box. Marvel is not going to keep any of this continuity. I’ve been told there are no immediate plans for the X-Men in the MCU, and my best guess is they suffer these two movies coming out in 2019, then they let the franchise lie for a while. They have plenty lined up for the immediate future, and do not need the X-Men right away. Let the X-Men go cold, let the public forget these (bad) movies happened, and then start introducing them however they decide to do that. But whatever they do, it’s not going to involve Dark Phoenix. This will end up being a weird one-off that goes nowhere, any potential story threads abandoned in favor of Marvel’s ultimate vision. X-Men: Dark Phoenix is essentially reduced to a time-waster.