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Film / Dark Phoenix

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"She’s all desire. All rage, all pain. And it’s all coming out at once."
"The mind of a psychic is a fragile thing. It takes only the slightest tap to take it in the wrong direction."

Dark Phoenix is the 2019 sequel to X-Men: Apocalypse, and the twelfth installment of 20th Century Fox's X-Men film series. Simon Kinberg (frequent writer and producer of the franchise) made his directorial debut with the film. It was released on June 7, 2019.

As suggested by its title, Dark Phoenix is an adaptation of the iconic Marvel Comics X-Men storyline by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, The Dark Phoenix Saga, which was previously integrated into 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand, stated to be more faithful than the latter film was. It is set in 1992, following the successive decade trend set by previous films First Class, Days of Future Past and Apocalypse.


The X-Men are now famous for their defeat of Apocalypse, and Charles Xavier pushes his students to reach heights and put themselves in more danger to improve the global image of Mutants. When sent on a rescue mission into space, the team is hit by a solar flare, which awakens the entity known as the Phoenix within Jean Grey — and nothing will ever be the same for the team.

Sophie Turner returns as Jean Grey from Apocalypse while James McAvoy (Professor X), Tye Sheridan (Cyclops), Michael Fassbender (Magneto), Nicholas Hoult (Beast), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), Alexandra Shipp (Storm), Evan Peters (Quicksilver), and Kodi Smit-McPhee (Nightcrawler) reprise their roles as well, while Jessica Chastain joins the cast as Vuk, an alien antagonist with the ability to shapeshift.

The film also has the distinction of being the last "main-series" X-Men film to be made before Disney's acquisition of Fox, with 2020's The New Mutants being the last spin-off. Prior to its release, creative control over the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool film franchises transferred to Disney (or rather, Marvel Studios) going forward. Director Simon Kinberg has referred to this as the Grand Finale of the series, it being the "natural culmination" of all X-Men films up to this point, and in April 2019 was confirmed to be the official "send-off" of Fox's X-Men series, with Disney assuming theatrical distribution rights. The movie was also the last one in Fox's series to bear the 20th Century Fox logo, while The New Mutants was subsequently released under the rebranded 20th Century Studios name.


Previews: Teaser, Trailer 1, International Trailer 2, Trailer 3.

Dark Phoenix contains examples of:

  • The '70s: The film opens in 1975, with a young Jean' Sensory Overload and Power Incontinence causing a tragic car accident and her going to Xavier's school in its aftermath.
  • The '90s: The time period of the film is 1992, continuing each installment of the tetralogy's tradition of being a decade-centric Period Piece. Unlike the other prequels, the setting does not play an integral part in the context of the story itself, and Quicksilver doesn't have an elaborate scene in slow motion that's set on music of the era.
  • Aborted Arc:
  • Accidental Murder: When Mystique is trying to calm Jean down, Jean loses control and causes Mystique to be impaled against a pole, killing her. Jean is naturally horrified by the result.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • The D'Bari homeworld had been destroyed years before the Phoenix Force encounters Jean, making her not responsible for the destruction at all. And, aside from some dog-kicking on her part, Jean never becomes a full villain and instead manages to take control of the cosmic power within her to save the day.
    • Selene in the comics is the Black Queen of The Hellfire Club, who were Adapted Out. Here, while she's on Magneto's team who go to kill Jean after Raven's death she, along with Ariki, stand with Erik and Hank in defending Jean from The D'Bari in the climax. However, it's worth noting the version seen in the film is an example of a comics character being given the In Name Only treatment, as she lacks her vampiric aspects, cruelty, and long life from the comics. It seems that they just wanted to use the name at some point, akin to how they used "Kid Omega" in The Last Stand despite said character having nothing in common with Quentin Quire.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The D'Bari and Vuk are very minor players in Marvel Comics (neither were even named in their first appearance), and the D'Bari are widely portrayed as a peaceful people. Vuk is the only D'Bari who's ever done anything particularly evil, and while he's smug and anti-"primitive beings", he's also Trapped in Villainy, with Sub-Mariner threatening his only way home if he doesn't defeat the Avengers. This version of the character is a corrupting influence on the already unstable Jean, and is a total sociopath willing to kill anyone in her way, while the rest of the D'Bari conspire to invade the Earth.
  • Alternate History: Because of the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past, Kinberg confirmed on the commentary that the President isn't who it was in real life. Given that the film takes place in 1992, it would be George H. W. Bush, though on the commentary, Kinberg erroneously stated Bill Clinton, who'd win the 1992 election, but would be inaugurated the following year.
  • Anachronistic Soundtrack: The beginning of the film is set in 1975. However, Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London" plays on the radio, a song that was released in 1978.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: The ending scene of the movie implied that Jean Grey became a cosmic entity.
  • Awful Truth: Jean Grey inadvertently killed both of her parents in the past before Charles Xavier adopted her. Except not quite; Xavier erased the knowledge that her father survived from her memory. She discovers the truth, and when she seeks him out, she learns that he hates her for what she did and that he wanted nothing to do with her. Xavier tried to hide this knowledge from Jean in the hopes that it would spare her the pain, but it ultimately causes her downfall into becoming the Dark Phoenix. Hank calls him out on this after Raven's death.
    Hank: Fair? No, don't talk about fair. You messed with the mind of an eight-year-old girl. You pushed out all that pain and anger, where do you think it's gonna go?
  • Badass Longcoat: Jean has two throughout the film - a cream one for the early part of the film, then a dark red leather one as she dips fully into her dark side. Magneto and Vuk also sport black ones during the final battle.
  • Berserk Button: During the final battle against the D'Bari, one of them kills a guard who earlier mentioned his kid looked up to Nightcrawler. Enraged, he goes ballistic on a slew of them, teleporting and impaling them left and right.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: See Berserk Button above. Nightcrawler is very gentle and somewhat scared throughout the whole movie, but when he decide to get dangerous, he shows how teleportation can be a terrifying power, for instance by teleporting someone in front of an incoming train.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Jean/Dark Phoenix and Vuk, the malevolent alien woman who urges her on. Ultimately a Subverted Trope, with Vuk taking over as the sole Big Bad by the climax.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The cafe that Erik and Xavier are sitting at during the movie's end is called "Café Les deux copains", lit. "Cafe the two friends". Fans of Amélie will notice the parallel with the "Café les Deux Moulins" from that movie. The cafe is also located at the corner of "Rue de la Paix", i.e. "Peace Street".
  • Bittersweet Ending: Mystique is dead, and Jean Grey's actions have significantly set Human-Mutant relations back after nearly two decades of progress. However, an alien invasion has been thwarted, the X-Men continue to exist alongside a non-extremist Brotherhood in Genosha, and Jean lives on as a cosmic being.
  • Bookends: As a Call-Forward to the original movie's ending, a scene of Xavier and Erik playing chess is what ends the film.
  • Brutal Honesty: After Raven dies, Hank tells Charles point-blank that her death is his fault. He also calls him out for refusing to admit that he was wrong for messing with Jean's mind when she was a girl and says that the whole time they were protecting the kids from the world, they should have been protecting them from Charles.
  • The Bus Came Back: An object example; the original telepathy-blocking helmet used by Sebastian Shaw and later Magneto in X-Men: First Class makes a reappearance, with Erik wearing it to protect him from Jean. It doesn't help, and Jean destroys it.
  • Call-Back:
    • Xavier recalls the time he first met Raven in X-Men: First Class.
    • Storm talks to Scott about believing someone is something they're actually not. By the time you realise the truth, it's too late. This is an obvious reference to her experiences with Apocalypse in the previous film.
    • In their final scene, Erik mentions Charles saving his life once, which happened in X-Men: First Class.
    • The film opens with a voiceover of Jean begging the question of whether we're destined to a fate we can’t control or if we can evolve into something more. This is the question asked in the opening voiceover of X-Men: Days Of Future Past. According to Simon Kinberg, this movie is connected to Days of Future Past and its ending, which showed that Jean’s fate changed from the original timeline.
  • Canon Foreigner: Red Lotus was initially reported to be in the film, but the character was instead replaced with an original antagonist named Ariki, who has a completely different set of powers.
  • Character Development: Jean Grey gets a extended character arc, which started in X-Men: Apocalypse. She started out as a hopeless girl that believes that she will never control her powers, will hurt people, and destroy the world. In this film, Jean’s nightmare seemly becomes a reality as she becomes one with a world-destroying force and loses control of her powers. She ends up hurting Scott, finding out that she accidentally caused her mother’s death when her power first manifested as a child, and then accidentally kills Mystique. It seems hopeless and she nearly gives in to her destiny. However, after seeing how Charles always had hope in her, she gains the will to fight back and utilizes her pain to empower herself to take control of her powers and her destiny.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: The Phoenix Force is never identified by name. Jean's "Phoenix" moniker comes from her fellow classmates who were impressed when she seemingly came Back from the Dead, rather than from the source of her powers.
  • Composite Character:
    • The D'Bari are based on the alien species of the same name from the comics, but their ability to shape shift in this movie makes them more reminiscent of the Skrulls — a completely different race of green-skinned aliens from the comics.
    • The film's version of Vuk is given aspects of Emma Frost (in that that she is depicted as a blonde-haired, emotionally detached, woman who manipulates Jean Grey and temporarily gains access to the Phoenix Force) and Jason Wyngarde/Mastermind (in that she spends most of the film disguised in something other than her true appearance and displays an illusion casting ability in the scene where she shows Jean Grey the destruction of the D'Bari homeworld).
  • Continuity Cameo:
    • Dazzler makes a short appearance when she plays music at a party.
    • During the ending montage, Kid Omega appears as one of the students at the school, sporting his signature pink punk haircut.
  • Continuity Snarl: Oh dear. There are some major disconnects between this movie and X-Men: Apocalypse, to the point it is both a sequel and incompatible with the "A plot" of the prior film.
    • Jean's god-like powers are significantly retconned to a different origin of the Phoenix. She expressly had the Phoenix in Apocalypse because this was how the titular villain was defeated. Apocalypse says as much, showing genuine awe for the first time in his life at the powerful and blazing bird. Here, Jean acquires the Phoenix Force for the first time when it fuses itself into her. Possibly justified, because it seems that she had the Phoenix inside her all along, and she became even more powerful when she absorbs the cosmic Force.
    • Magneto being on any peaceful terms with the US government other than shoot-on-sight is preconditioned on the climax of Apocalypse where he is credited with defeating Apocalypse. So the fight had to have happened. Otherwise the last anyone had seen of Magneto, he was on the lam for having killed a former president, escaping prison and then attacking both the Paris peace talks and the White House.
    • While the X-Men are famous, the world itself shows practically no scars from what happened in Apocalypse. The US government has little patience for mutants and quickly turns on them after what would be considered a trivial incident compared to Apocalypse's planet-wide attack. In the latter, every human on Earth had their mind invaded, the USA and USSR had their main nuclear weapons literally thrown into space, cities were razed, many millions killed in Cairo alone and Earth had two god-like mutants destroying someone who claimed to be capital-G God. Did everyone just forget?
  • The Corruptor: The D'Bari leader Vuk, who tries to get Jean to embrace the darkness and raw power that comes with the Phoenix Force. Turns out to be part of her plan - to get Jean so emotionally off-balance she'll willingly give up the Phoenix Force to Vuk.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: During the train battle, Magneto tosses the remaining D'Bari, including Vuk's Dragon Jones, into the next carriage - then uses his powers to crush it flat with them inside.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The Phoenix force renders Jean so powerful that every attempt to stop her tends to go this way - be it her facing the X-Men, Magneto trying to kill her or saving her friends from a horde of D'Bari in the climax.
    • The X-Men and Magneto's group vs. the D'Bari on the train is very much this, with the team's disparate abilities and teamwork demolishing the aliens. Then the Phoenix empowered Vuk shows up and curb stomps them right back.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: During Jean's Mook Horror Show in the climax, one of the D'Bari manages to impale her. It only stops her for a few seconds before she heals and turns him to dust.
  • Darker and Edgier: The film is a lot more somber compared to the previous films, with few moments of levity and very serious subject matter - such as Jean's gradual mental breakdown from her new powers and killing her own teammate.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Is sending soldiers in normal military gear to talk to Magneto really a good idea? He and one of the soldiers even lampshade it, but that doesn't stop the latter from pulling a normal gun on the former when the helicopter mysteriously turns itself on.
  • Disney Death: Jean Grey dies during the space mission, but is revived by the Phoenix Force, which earns her the "Phoenix" nickname. Later happens late into the film, in which she makes an apparent Heroic Sacrifice to kill Vuk. While the X-Men and others believe Jean died, it becomes clear she became one with the Phoenix force and evolved into a cosmic being. This is hinted in the final scene of the film, where the Phoenix bird is seen flying in the sky over Paris. Her survival is further confirmed by the epilogue of X-Men: Days of Future Past.
  • The Dragon: "Jones" is the most prominent of the D’Bari under Vuk.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Quicksilver is badly injured during the initial fight at Jean's childhood home, taking his potential Story-Breaker Power out of the equation.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: After accidentally killing Mystique and attacking the military in Genosha, Jean flees to a bar to do this using a telepathic disguise. Charles also does this after Raven dies, taking a dram of whisky from a bottle during his disastrous talk with Hank - the morning after, he's crashed out on the couch when Scott finds him, with not much of the bottle left.
  • Duct Tape for Everything: In the shuttle mission in the beginning, Quicksilver fashions a makeshift spacesuit for Nightcrawler by duct-taping an astronaut helmet over his head.
  • Emotional Powers: According to Charles, Jean's powers are acting as this along with the Phoenix. He points out that Jean is angry and in pain, and that all those volatile emotions are coming out at once. Jean's last words are that her emotions give her strength, unlike what Vuk believes.
  • Enemy Mine: The X-Men, Magneto's followers, and the Mutant Containment Unit agents on the train join together during the climax to fight Vux and the D'Bari.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: When the D'Bari first arrive in Margaret Smith's garden, her golden retriever Luna smells the aliens' scents and barks, only to be killed by Vuk before her owner arrives.
  • Expy: The D'Bari are treated as ones for the much more well-known Skrulls, being sneaky, manipulative creatures that can shapeshift and have other enhanced abilities.
  • Fighting Your Friend: The X-Men are forced to fight Jean when she becomes influenced by the dark side and power of the Phoenix.
  • Flaming Hair: Jean's hair looks like it's outright on fire in this promotional image. The design does not appear in the final film, however; it was meant to be seen in the original version of the climactic battle before it was changed in reshoots.
  • Gender Flip: Vuk is a man in the comics, but a woman here. However, because the D'Bari are shapeshifters, it's possible that Vuk's true form is male.
  • Grand Finale: Fox shifted the promotion of the film from "the first movie in a new series of X-Men stories" to "what may very well be the last movie in this series" once Disney's acquisition of the company picked up steam. Case in point, the trailer itself is set to "The End", with an air of finality to the story. Simon Kinberg eventually referred to this as the culmination of the series before the inevitable reboot into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Gratuitous Special Effects: Professor X is slightly de-aged digitally in the movie's flashback sequences, to resemble the character's appearance in Days of Future Past. This in spite of the character being Younger Than They Look for nearly forty years in-universe and James McAvoy not having aged much in the five out-of-universe years between the release of that movie and Dark Phoenix.
  • Healing Factor:
    • The D'Bari have one that allows them to swiftly recover after being shot at (though it doesn't seem to be affecting them much to begin with). It has its limits though, as the larger .50 calibre machine guns on the helicopters and train are capable of killing them in only a few shots.
    • Jean has one. It allows her to easily recover after getting impaled by sharp debris at the hands of an alien.
  • Hero Antagonist: Magneto, Beast, and the Brotherhood in this movie aren't actually evil this time around, but they want to avenge Mystique's death caused by Jean and feel the world will be safer once the threat of the Phoenix force is gone. This is in contrast with the heroes, who still care about their friend and are hoping to stop her without killing her. However, they do have a Unscrupulous Hero stint to them, in that they're not particularly worried about the citizens that could get caught in the crossfire.
  • Hijacking Cthulhu: Jean absorbing the extremely powerful Phoenix Force and surviving counts as this. Vuk's main goal seems to be the same, hoping to steal the Phoenix from Jean herself.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Vuk is destroyed by the Phoenix, the power she sought.
  • Hollywood Law: Magneto's right - the US military can't simply come into Genosha without permission. If it's in the US, they're forbidden to carry out police functions by the Posse Comitatus Act, plus they need a search warrant. Assuming it's not (though the land was "given to them by the US government", which makes it unclear) this would be a violation of their sovereignty that could be taken as an act of war. Jean killing some people would not, as the leader suggests, mean that they're now allowed to barge through Genosha looking for her without so much as a by-your-leave, nor that Jean herself "gave up" any rights. Kind of the whole point of rights is that people always have them. note 
  • Hollywood Old: A strangely widespread version, because of the series' desire to set each new movie in a different decade, everyone is way older than you would expect them to be based on their actors younger appearance. The 28-year-old Nicholas Hoult and Jennifer Lawrence are playing the role of characters who are, chronologically, in their late 40s or early 50s. The 41-year-old Michael Fassbender is now playing a Magneto that's in his 60s. It's been pointed out that with the Ian McKellen version of Magneto canonically being a future version of this Magneto (as per X-Men: Days of Future Past), the movie implies that Michael Fassbender turns into Ian McKellen in 8 years, as X-Men takes place in 2000.
  • Hotline: Charles Xavier has a phone line allowing him to directly speak to the US President. Sadly, it gets cut off as soon as Jean's rampage begins, not even giving him the time to explain anything.
  • I Have No Son!: Jean's father disowned her after the accident that killed his wife. While he's not hostile toward her when he meets her again, it's clear that he's uncomfortable with her presence.
  • "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight: Happens twice, with different results. Mystique initially attempts to reach Jean this way even after she's just thrashed the rest of the X-Men, but Jean can barely control her new powers at this point, and accidentally kills her. Later on Charles lets a fully-Phoenix Jean into his mind, and it's her seeing him chastise her father for giving up on her when she was a child that helps her come back to a semblance of herself.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • Jean accidentally does this to Raven when the latter tries calming her down.
    • Also happens to several D'Bari, courtesy of Nightcrawler and Magneto.
  • Impromptu Tracheotomy:
    • During the finale, one of the D’Bari is impaled through the throat by Nightcrawler with his tail.
    • Likewise, Magneto kills a D'Bari with a piece of metal to the throat.
  • Improvised Weapon: As usual for Magneto, if it's metal he will use it. During the Final Battle he uses the train floor, handcuffs, and parts of the walls to fight the D'Bari, even flattening a whole train car to kill The Dragon and several D'Bari.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Charles got future knowledge that helped him figure out he should teach Jean to embrace the Phoenix instead of caging it. And yet, the team ends up having to fight her anyway.
  • It Always Rains at Funerals: When Mystique is killed in action, they have a rainy funeral for her shortly afterward. Notably, Storm is present, but chooses not to use her powers.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While the film makes clear that Charles' pushing the X-Men for the sake of his own ego is certainly not good, he makes a fair point that the adulation he and the X-Men receive as heroes is far preferable to the hatred and persecution they received twenty years before and endured for decades.
  • Jerkass Realization: The movie is a long one for Professor X, where he comes to realize that he's putting his family at risk for his own ego instead of doing what's right for them.
  • Karma Houdini: Beast, who had temporarily betrayed Professor X to try to kill Jean against his orders, endangering ordinary citizens in the process, is rewarded by becoming the Dean of the Jean Grey School of Gifted Youngsters in Xavier's absence. Likewise, there are no repercussions for Magneto putting people in danger, even though he retired from that kind of life before the events of this movie, while Charles also seems to avoid any major repercussions for his part in Jean's downfall. However, since Beast, Magneto and Professor Xavier all helped defend the soldiers from the D’Bari, it’s possible that the President pardoned them all afterwards.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Vuk retains her black dress and high heels throughout the final fight, which sees her curb-stomping the X-Men and Magneto until Phoenix kills her.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • In what is perhaps the most excessively cruel action taken by the Dark Phoenix, she uses her psychic powers to force a paraplegic Professor X to painfully walk up the stairs, and crushes his wheelchair for her own amusement.
    • In Vuk's first appearance, she kills Margaret's dog off-screen.
  • Knife Nut: Magneto's lieutenant Selene carries two knives.
  • Kubrick Stare : Transformed D'Bari (excluding Vuk) have those, especially her right-hand man.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: Both Days of Future Past and Apocalypse had an elaborate and lengthy sequence in which Quicksilver demonstrates his ludicrous speed (in slow motion for the viewer), and the sequence was set to a song that's representative of the eras depicted in the films. Here he has no such sequence, the two most notable scenes in which he uses his speed (the space rescue mission and him trying to reach Jean Grey by running on flying debris when she's on her first major rampage) are much shorter and not set to a 1990s song.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Jean's narration right before the credits roll.
  • Left Hanging: Given that the movie is set entirely in 1992, we don't get any clear answers on how this timeline ends up becoming the one that Wolverine ends up in by the conclusion of X-Men: Days of Future Past. However, the ending indicates that the epilogue presented to the new timeline will still happen, given that the Phoenix appearing above Paris indicates that Jean Grey survives into the future, and the director later confirmed that this timeline is still on track to reach that movie's epilogue.
  • Lucky Charms Title: While the movie forgoes having X-Men in its title, the "X" in Dark Phoenix has a circle around it (Ⓧ) like the logo for Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, which serves as the de facto X-Men logo.
  • Mook Chivalry: After Jean crashes the train, the remaining D’Bari attack her one at a time, enabling her to kill each in quick succession.
  • More Dakka:
    • The two MCU helicopters are armed with Browning M2 machine guns, as is a soldier inside the train.
    • When Vuk gets inside the train, Magneto unleashes the train's entire armory of assault rifles and pistols on her at point-blank range. It does nothing.
  • Movie Superheroes Wear Black: Magneto ditches his comic-accurate outfits from Days of Future Past and Apocalypse for a more modest and casual black coat. Even his helmet, presumably the same one from X-Men: First Class, is now monochromatic.
  • Mundane Utility: Dazzler uses her powers to perform a light show at a party. During the same scene, Storm uses her powers to put ice cubes in drinks.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Hank approaches Magneto in the aftermath of Mystique's death, knowing full well Erik will try to kill her. In fairness, he's utterly distraught at the time, and has had it with Charles' self-serving justifications and insistence that Jean can still be saved.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Understandably, given that they borrow from the same source material, there are a number of moments that are reminiscent of scenes from X-Men: The Last Stand:
      • There is a scene where Charles, flanked by the X-Men, confronts Jean on the street, similar to how in the earlier film, Charles, flanked by Ororo and Logan, confronts Jean at her childhood home.
      • As in The Last Stand, Magneto plays a role in Jean's transformation into the Phoenix - only this time round, she is the one who seeks him out, instead of the other way round.
      • Charles and Erik once again confront Jean in a house as she begins to embrace her dark side.
    • In the background of one scene, a power-supplying company has Bishop's name on it.
    • This is not the first time Xavier blocked someone's memory of a person who was supposed to be dead but is actually alive. In Deadly Genesis, Xavier wipes out Scott's memory that he has a younger brother Gabriel (aka Vulcan), who was apparently killed with his team in Krakoa before the two waves of X-Men in the first Giant Size. And then Vulcan resurfaces...
    • Raven (and later Hank) chewing out Xavier's "questionable" methods is lifted straight from the comics which led to Cyclops' gradual disillusionment from Xavier's dream. Xavier also ends up leaving the school, just like in the movie.
    • The X-Mansion is renamed Jean Grey's School for Gifted Youngsters, much like how Wolverine's faction reopened the school as the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning after the fallout of his schism with Cyclops.
    • A lot of character motives and actions between this film and X-Men: The Last Stand are similar, if flip-flopped. For example, both Logan and Hank call out Xavier for tampering with Jean's mind but while Logan ultimately kills Jean despite being very reluctant to do so, Hank all but wants her head on a platter after she kills Raven. He ultimately doesn't kill her, however.
    • Magneto has established a community for mutants on an island called Genosha, as he did for a period in the comics.
  • Neck Snap:
  • Never Trust a Title: Despite being called Dark Phoenix Jean never actually becomes an actual villain and the worst she does is unintentionally kill Mystique. According to Word of God, the movie was about an empowered woman taking control of her destiny.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailers keeps the role of Vuk and the D'Bari very vague, making it look as if the film will be primarily about the X-Men trying to stop Phoenix. Notably, the first trailer makes it looks as if it's Jean attacking the train the protagonists are on, when in the film it's actually the D'Bari with Jean later using her powers to save them all. Moreover, in both trailers, Charles is seen saying "she'll kill us all", presumably directed at Jean. In the film, the line is "You'll kill us all", and is directed at Vuk, not Jean.
    • The missing trailer line, "You came here looking for permission" changes the motives that Jean has for seeking out Erik.
    • The marketing campaign in general was rather off. Selling it as a event movie and grand finale of the series with Jean as the antagonist when it was never designed to be that but more of a character-driven psychological thriller with Jean as the protagonist. As this video thoroughly explains.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Charles, repeatedly.
    • While the film makes clear later he was doing it with the best of intentions, blocking the knowledge of her father's survival from Jean's mind leads her to seek him out once the Phoenix force erodes said block, learning the truth about his blaming her for her mother's death, leading her to be far more emotional and less willing to listen to Xavier once the X-Men show up - in turn leading to Mystique's death when she loses control of her powers.
    • He stops Beast from tasering Jean, hoping that Raven will talk her down. (However, admittedly, he likely would have failed given the powerful extent of Jean's powers and how she managed to deflect Storm's lightening strikes against her.)
    • It also gets several policemen killed, which sets human-mutant relations back significantly, severely tarnishes the X-Men's reputation and ruins the special relationship he just fostered with the President.
    • All that's bad enough, but later his total refusal to accept any responsibility for the loss of Raven or admit he had done anything wrong (despite all of the above), end up driving away a despondent Hank and leading him to ally with Erik to kill Jean.
  • No-Sell:
    • Played with. The D'Bari are capable of withstanding fire from multiple assault rifles at very close range thanks to their Healing Factor. The larger .50-calibre machine guns the military have, on the other hand, can take them out in a few shots.
    • Once she has a bit of the Phoenix Force powering her, Vuk does this to everything the X-Men hit her with. Storm's lightning, Nightcrawler repeatedly stabbing her, a storm of machine gun fire from Magneto - none of it has any effect for more than a moment.
    • Quicksilver looks like he's going to have another of his Super Speed successes only for Dark Phoenix to yank his Stepping Stones in the Sky from under his feet. At the speed he hits the ground, he's out of action for the rest of the movie.
  • Offhand Backhand: During the climax when Jean is dealing with the D'Bari one of them rushes her. She takes one look at him, gives a slight smirk as if to say "Really?" Looks away and casually disintegrates him.
  • Older Than They Look: With the film being set in the 1990s, Xavier and Magneto haven't aged much despite being around their 60s. Especially glaring as prior films in the series had shown some of these characters portrayed by actors who, even with de-aging technology applied, appeared noticeably older than their Dark Phoenix counterparts in scenes set earlier than this film (albeit in an Alternate Continuity).
  • Once More, with Clarity!: The opening scene shows Jean accidentally killing her parents in a car crash. When Jean returns to her hometown, the scene is shown again from her father's perspective, revealing that he had survived the crash while his wife did not.
  • One-Woman Wail: The Phoenix's Leitmotif, most prominently heard as Jean absorbs the Phoenix for the first time.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Nicholas Hoult slightly slips out of his American accent into his British one in the scene where he's under the most emotional distress — the scene where Beast calls out Professor X, blaming him for Mystique's death.invoked
  • Outside-Context Problem: This is the first X-Men movie to feature an extraterrestrial threat.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: A number of elements from the original story, such as the Hellfire Club and the Shi'ar Empire, are completely Adapted Out in favor of streamlining the movie into a sub-2-hour format (the movie version of the Hellfire Club was disbanded at the end of X-Men: First Class). Aliens are still present in the story, however, and Vuk ends up filling a similar role to Mastermind.
  • Precision F-Strike: Cyclops gets to drop one while talking to Magneto. Also serves as the Avoid the Dreaded G Rating seen in previous films.
    Cyclops: If you hurt Jean, I'll fucking kill you!
  • Pride: Xavier has had this going for him since the X-Men's newly-gained fame. It results in him pushing the team further and further until the space rescue in the film, where he deliberately overrides Mystique's warnings and puts Jean directly in harm's way, exposing her to the Phoenix Force.
  • Redshirt Army: The Mutant Containment Unit, when the D'Bari attack.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Hank delivers one to Charles for his pride with using the X-Men to serve the government after an earlier one by Raven - who was accidently killed by Jean.
  • The Remnant: When Vuk arrives to meet the rest of the D'Bari, she bemoans that this - a few dozen individuals at best - is all that's left of their empire.
  • Retired Monster: Magneto. He comes out of retirement to kill Jean Grey when he learns that she's killed Mystique.
  • Revenge Before Reason: While Jean Grey killed Mystique by accident, Magneto and Beast go after her with the full intent to kill her.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Hank and Erik go on one, fulling intending to kill Jean in retribution for Mystique's death and not caring who gets hurt. Subverted in practice, as Jean's so powerful at this point she effortlessly takes down Magneto.
  • Rogues Gallery Transplant: In the comics, Vuk made his debut in 1964 and went after the Avengers. In particular, he's a Starter Villain to the newly-reawakened Captain America, giving Cap the chance to demonstrate his skills to the team, leading to him becoming a member. Being at odds with the X-Men is one of many, many changes the movie made to the character.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Jean accidentally caused her parents to have a fatal car accident when her powers were beginning to surface. It turns out that her father survived, leading her to leave the X-Mansion to find answers.
  • Sensory Overload: 8-year old Jean couldn't control her nascent telepathic and telekinetic powers with the non-stopping noises and voiced in her head, holding her head and shouting "QUIET!", and it caused a fatal car crash.
  • A Shared Suffering: After Mystique's death, Hank turned to Erik for support in order to hunt Jean Grey down. Despite both of them having been at odds with each other numerous times in the past, they bond over the shared grief of losing Mystique, the woman both of them loved.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Quicksilver is left comatose for a good chunk of the movie after Jean Grey incapacitates him when she loses control. He doesn't wake up until after the climax.
  • Shooting Superman: Happens when Magneto shoots at Vuk with all of the armory's guns.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Magneto dismisses Professor X accordingly when they confront each other in New York.
    Magneto: You're always sorry, Charles. And there's always a speech, and nobody cares any more.
  • Shown Their Work: The space shuttle Endeavor was a real craft developed by NASA, and it was in active use in the year that the movie is set.
  • Slasher Smile: Nightcrawler gives off a creepy one before teleporting and leaving a D'Bari on a train track as a train comes speeding toward them.
  • Slave to PR: Over the past few years, public opinion of mutants has improved greatly thanks to the actions of the X-Men. While Xavier risks sending his team into more and more dangerous missions to (perhaps) feed his ego, he is not wrong when he explains that all their actions can be undone in one bad day. Sure enough, after Jean loses control of her power, mutants are once again deemed dangerous, with news of Mutant Internment Camps being setup to lock up those whose powers are considered a threat and Xavier is no longer able to contact the President to try and explain or buy time.
  • The Sociopath: Vuk shows no qualms about killing multiple people, manipulates Jean for her own agenda, and does not show any empathy to anyone. She also has a disdain for emotional attachments, believing them to make people weak.
  • Spanner in the Works: Cyclops during the street battle. After dealing with Magneto and Xavier, Jean realises the depths she's sunk to and implores Vuk to take the Phoenix Force from her, which is what the D'Bari leader has wanted all along. She starts siphoning it from a willing Jean and getting more powerful - then Cyclops appears and blows her out the building. If he hadn't done that, she'd have won.
  • Steel Eardrums: There's quite a lot of shooting in small train cars in the climax of the film. One soldier fires a mounted machinegun, and Magneto fires several dozen assault rifles and pistols all at once, but no one reacts to the sound at all.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Happens to Mystique.
  • Suicide Attack: During the climax, one of the D’Bari leaps at the last remaining helicopter and forces it to crash, killing himself and the crewmen.
  • Take That!: In the third act, the Mutant Containment Unit appears to apprehend Mutants after deeming them a threat to the citizens of New York City. In other words, the MCU shows up to take the X-Men away. Given that the train sequence was a reshoot filmed well after Disney's plans to acquire Fox were well underway, it's hard to argue that this wasn't deliberate (though Simon Kinberg insists that the reference was also an Affectionate Parody, noting that the MCU team up with the X-Men when they all fight against the D'Bari).invoked
  • Took a Level in Badass: Cyclops, Up to Eleven.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Raven suggests Charles has become a little too in love with the adulation being leader of the X-Men gets him - his ego's certainly become more prominent since the last film. Really shown when in the aftermath of her death, when he still can't bring himself to admit to Hank he did anything wrong by manipulating Jean's mind. It takes until his realisation the real Jean is still in there before he can bring himself to apologise to Hank and the others.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: The first trailer shows that one of the X-Men will not come out alive. The film confirms that it's Mystique who bites the dust.
  • Touch of Death: The D'Bari's typical means of killing are touching the victim’s chest, stopping their heart.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The second trailer makes it absolutely no secret that Mystique gets killed by Jean Grey, possessed by the Phoenix Force.
  • Traintop Battle: The bulk of the Final Battle happens both inside and outside a train, with the D'Bari attacking the armored train with the prisoner X-Men and Magneto inside.
  • Truer to the Text: Unlike X-Men: The Last Stand, the movie begins with an incident in space that causes Jean Grey to collide with the Phoenix Force, instead of that power being a suppressed Split Personality of Jean Grey. Though the Shi'ar don't come into play as they do in the comics, the D'Bari alien race is introduced, led by Vuk.
  • Villain Ball: Jean attacking the military at the Mutant enclave. While her attacking the police could at least be justified as being self-defense, this assault is purely about demonstrating her power for power's sake, and it has the consequence of costing Mutants much of the goodwill that they spent the last two decades trying to establish - as well as alienating Magneto, who she'd come to seek advice from. However, this could be the result of the Phoenix Force taking control of Jean, as the film shows her hearing voices immediately beforehand.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Professor X is on the receiving end of this throughout the movie. It begins with Mystique scolding him for putting his students into increasingly dangerous scenarios (like the one at the beginning of the film, in which the X-Men save some astronauts and Jean Grey nearly dies) without actually being present to keep them safe. Then she gives him a verbal flogging for both lying to Jean and manipulating her mind while they're on the X-Jet. Finally Hank erupts at him for his inability to admit he's done anything wrong, even after Mystique's death.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: The ruthless and manipulative Big Bad Vuk takes the appearance of a woman with white-blonde hair.
  • The Worf Effect: Previous films have established that Magneto is one of the most powerful mutants in the X-Men film universe, with only a select few like Xavier or Apocalypse being on his level. Here, Jean overpowers him in the space of a single scene, even shattering his iconic helmet to really drive the point home.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: In spite of everything that the X-Men do for humanity — to the point where it appears as if the world is finally going to become fully tolerant of Mutantkind — Jean's actions set Human-Mutant relations back considerably, and some Mutants are facing internment.

Alternative Title(s): X Men Dark Phoenix