Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / Dark Phoenix

Go To

  • Ass Pull: When Vuk first describes the Phoenix Force to Jean Grey, she explains that Jean is the only person in the universe to be able to utilize its power. There's no indication that she was lying, so her sudden ability to siphon the power from Jean, and use it against her in the finale, comes out of nowhere.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: Most people were wary of film's premise given that the last time the Dark Phoenix plotline was adapted on screen was in the largely-disliked X-Men: The Last Stand — a film which also had the same writer.
  • Awesome Music:
    • Hans Zimmer composed a suitably epic, haunting and emotional score for the Grand Finale of the X-Men films.
    • The first trailer makes excellent use of Think Up Anger and The Filthy Souls' cover of "The End" from The Doors, hammering home that this movie represents the End of an Age for the franchise. In a sizzle reel that leaked out beforehand, it was the original song, edited in a way that was even more haunting in its presentation.
  • Complete Monster: Vuk is the leader of the D'Bari Empire and author of an insidious plot to control the Phoenix Force and rule the Earth after using the Phoenix Force to wipe out all life on Earth. Tracking the Phoenix Force to Earth, Vuk murders a woman and takes her appearance before killing the woman's husband by stopping his heart. Vuk subsequently finds and murders Jean Grey's father John after interrogating him about Jean's whereabouts, noting that it's harder to understand someone while they're screaming. After managing to find Jean, Vuk persuades her to try embracing her powers and to not bother with ideas of morality. When the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants confront Jean, Jean is overcome with remorse, and Vuk "volunteers" to take the Phoenix Force away from her, knowing full well that Jean will be killed. After the mutants are captured and she is prevented from completely absorbing the Phoenix Force, Vuk and her forces attack the train transporting them to take the Phoenix Force from Jean, killing dozens of soldiers. Utterly without empathy even towards her own people, Vuk was unlike any threat the X-Men had faced before.
  • Advertisement:
  • Eight Deadly Words: The disastrous box office results and poor reviews tells a lot about what the general audience (and fans) thought of this film. Various Out Of Character Moments didn't help; it's hard to mourn for Raven the way she acted for most of this film.
  • Ending Aversion: Judging by the film's disappointing box office returns, even the fans who were the biggest supporters of Fox's X-Men movies prefered Days of Future Past and/or Logan as the Grand Finale for the film series, both of which were highly acclaimed among fans and critics alike and were considered to have provided satisfactory endings that shouldn't be followed up on and couldn't be topped.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Dazzler's surprise cameo at the party managed to dazzle a number of fans.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • Reshoots and delays for Dark Phoenix occurred shortly after Disney announced its plans to acquire Fox's assets. This led some fans to believe that the reshoots and delays were a result of this impending buyout, possibly to tie the film in with the Marvel Cinematic Universe in some way. This was not helped at all by an April Fools' Day story reported by JoBlo that this would be the case, which went over more than a few heads. In all likelihood, Fox's earlier apprehension toward working with Marvel Studios with regards to the Fantastic Four property would likely indicate that no such plan is in place, and that Fox's iteration of the X-Men franchise already has enough continuity issues to integrate it into the MCU. Not to mention Kevin Feige's refusal to integrate anything Marvel not produced by him (such as Venom) into his movie canon, or perhaps more realistically, the reshoots could have been done to retool the film into a Grand Finale for the series due to the buyout. Some of the people involved also stated the movie had to be made more distinct from Civil War, as its initial version took heavy inspiration from it.
    • Advertisement:
    • With Jessica Chastain's role being kept a secret, many have proposed that she could be Lilandra or a Skrull, among many choices. Recently theories are that she's in fact a far younger Cassandra Nova. Then she turns out to just be a member of the D'bari, a minor alien race.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • Jean Grey, as played by the gorgeous Sophie Turner, is already beautiful, but once she becomes emotionally unstable, she looks stunning.
    • Jessica Chastain's cold, Emma Frost-esque demeanour and ruthless drive take nothing away from her own attractiveness.
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception: Many causal movie viewers are under the mistaken belief that Jean had the Phoenix Force in X-Men: Apocalypse and claim that this film ignores it. However, this is completely overlooking the fact that Jean had the same fiery aura since X2: X-Men United, which was explained in X-Men: The Last Stand to be telekinetic energy from her mutation. Zak Penn, who co-wrote both movies, said that the Phoenix was not a cosmic force when discussing his scripts in a 2008 interview.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • With the MCU. It's gone so far that after the buyout of Fox by Disney, fans of the MCU wanted to see Marvel Studios shelve it permanently... Even though it wouldn't have been financially feasible in any way for Disney to do so (as, even in the event of a flop, Fox and Disney by extension would get some money back). After the movie bombed, a conspiracy theory came from Fox fans, hypothesizing that the movie was sabotaged by Disney to serve Captain Marvel, even though every account from Hollywood trades dispute this claim, the director said that the ending was changed at the request of test audiences, and Disney did not have authority over Fox at the time that the movie was wrapping up post-production. note 
    • With the MonsterVerse, due to being released one week after Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) and being perceived by Godzilla fans as an incoming threat to their movie's already disappointing box office performance. The fact that Dark Phoenix got even worse reviews and made even less during its opening weekend than King of the Monsters is cited as a "victory" for the MonsterVerse, although no one really won (at the very least, Godzilla was viewed much more favorably by its fans, while Dark Phoenix wasn't that well received even by most X-Men fans).
  • Fanfic Fuel: Word of God confirmed that the movie's ending would still lead up to the good future seen at the end of Days of Future Past, but given that there's 31 years between this movie's ending and that scene, fans are completely free to speculate on what happened between those two points in time.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: For some fans, Logan is the true finale of the original X-Men series rather than this movie. Alternately, Logan is a Bad Future story and X-Men: Days of Future Past is the proper finale.
  • The Firefly Effect: A case that doesn't involve Executive Meddling so much as bad timing on Fox's end. While the film was originally planned to be the start of a potential trilogy, the news that Disney would move to buy Fox in 2017 put those plans into doubt — and Fox eventually confirmed that the movie would be the end of the road for the series in April 2019. As a result, Dark Phoenix becoming an unintentional conclusion was a factor that dampened interest in the movie with the knowledge that a reboot in the Marvel Cinematic Universe would be coming eventually, and the knowledge that these iterations of the characters would not be used going forward contributed to a sense of apathy toward the project.
  • Foe Yay: With a side order of Les Yay. Vuk spends a large portion of the movie seeking Jean for the Phoenix Force, and when she finds her this kicks in fully. She tells Jean in glowing terms how special and powerful she is, and the scene where she takes the Phoenix Force involves her cupping Jean's face in her hands and embracing her in a way a lot like a lover.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • All the way back in the first X-Men film, Wolverine questioned the X-Men wearing black leather, with Cyclops responding that it was either that or "yellow spandex". Now, the final Fox-produced X-Men movie in the main series has the X-Men wear yellow spandex uniforms!
    • The Phoenix Force, a powerful cosmic force, resembles a sentient cloud. Where have we seen that before in Fox's Marvel films? The Galactus comparisons get funnier when you consider that Galactus quite infamously destroyed the Skrull homeworld in the past of the Marvel Universe, and that the D'Bari in this movie are Skrull stand-ins.
    • Daniel Cudmore was suppose to reprise his role as Colossus but was cut in the final film. With the appearance of the Mutant Containment Unit (MCU), it appears that with Cudmore being cast in Helstrom means that Colossus got captured by the MCU after all.
  • Informed Wrongness: Charles Xavier is portrayed as being in the wrong for hiding an Awful Truth from Jean Grey, yet it's clearly shown that her father didn't want anything to do with her after she accidentally got her mother killed, and he just wanted to protect her from being hurt even more. The movie also calls him out for trying to use the X-Men as a means to generate good PR for the entire Mutant species, but considering that they were being vivisected by the government merely 19 years prior, trying to make heroes out of his students is a logical course of action in a world where many of them are still hated and feared.
  • It Was His Sled: Jean Grey ends up killing Mystique by accident. Not helped by the trailers effectively spelling this out.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Some people went to see the film just to hear Hans Zimmer tackle the score to another superhero movie.
  • Like You Would Really Do It:
    • With the way that Days of Future Past shows Jean Grey at the X-Mansion, few in the audience actually expected Jean Grey to stay dead by the end of the movie. Her survival is confirmed in the final shot, where a flaming Phoenix appears above Paris.
    • A non-death variant also occurs. Some also called that Jean wouldn't actually turn evil since the ending also showed her with the X-Men and the same of the theme of the movie was that you can evolve to change yourself and change your fate.
  • Mis-blamed: Disney was hit with accusations of forcing director Simon Kinberg to change the ending film when word got out that the original climax of the movie (which had Jean Grey going into space and fighting off an invading fleet of D'Bari ships) had similarities to Captain Marvel. In actuality, the decision to change things up was a call made by Kinberg and Fox after initial test screenings for Dark Phoenix, which happened before Captain Marvel was even finished filming. (The climax was reportedly criticized by test audiences for lacking the majority of the characters, and changes had to be made after the massive set for the original scene was demolished and was deemed too expensive to rebuild by the studio.) Furthermore, Disney was not in control of Fox until March 2019, after the release of Captain Marvel and after the reshoots for Dark Phoenix had been completed.
  • Narm: Here.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Dazzler is in the movie for about five seconds, but longtime fans of the comics really, really liked her cameo.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The original storyline was absolutely a gamechanger when it came out in the early 80s. An almost god-like female character carrying a story of her own about her own power she can't control was unheard of back then, but has since become quite common. A few reviewers have pointed out that the story didn't translate well because general audiences who don't know much about comics history would assume that Dark Phoenix is the derivative one. It's especially similar to another female-led superhero film that came out only three months earlier, Captain Marvel. This piece from Vox points out there were also two other popular pieces of media in the first half of 2019 that followed the same beats as the original Phoenix Saga story, Vanya Hargreeves's arc from The Umbrella Academy and Daenerys's arc from the final season of Game of Thrones.
  • Sequelitis: This movie received the lowest critical score out of all the main X-Men movies, with critics saying that it's a very disappointing send-off to a franchise that restarted the comic book movie genre. Most notably, it received worse review aggregate scores on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic than even X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: Apocalypse, which are considered among the worst in the series, with some critics and fans actually preferring The Last Stand over this movie.
    Rotten Tomatoes critics' consensus: Dark Phoenix ends an era of the X-Men franchise by taking a second stab at adapting a classic comics arc — with deeply disappointing results.
  • Signature Scene: The train battle, which is almost unanimously seen as the highlight of the film.
  • Snark Bait:
    • The film's release getting pushed back several months just one day after the release of the first trailer announcing the original date, on top of similar issues with The New Mutants, didn't exactly help Fox's optics with fans. While the delay was clearly meant to account for Alita: Battle Angel taking its February release window, the issue could have been sidestepped entirely had Fox just announced the Release Date Change before the trailer dropped.
    • The fact that the film was directed, written, and produced by Simon Kinberg, one of the co-writers of X-Men: The Last Stand, and recycled some of the same story beats from that movie with few changes, has made it the butt of more than a few jokes. The fact that Kinberg was previously heavily involved in another superhero film with an infamous Troubled Production regarding haphazard reshoots has not helped matters. When the movie came out, this was taken further when some argued that Kinberg's new take on the material was actually worse than The Last Stand.
    • The scene where Storm uses her powers to make ice cubes for Scott's drink at the party is often mocked as the perfect encapsulation of her complete lack of importance or development of this specific version of the character.
  • Special Effects Failure: Storm's lightning effects in the final battle have been rather poorly received for looking like bland and unconvincing white streaks rather than actual bolts of electricity.
  • Tainted by the Preview: The first trailer provoked highly mixed reactions, with a lot of fans turned off by how similar the movie looks to The Last Stand.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: While the death of Mystique is played in a tragic light, detractors of this specific version of the character saw the scene as a relief.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Many of the supporting Mutants — namely, Quicksilver, Storm, and Nightcrawler — aren't given much to do from a character development perspective, even if they're all involved in action sequences. Quicksilver gets the worst of it, considering that Apocalypse teased that he would eventually have to reveal to Magneto that he's his father, but the two never even share any scenes.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • There were complaints that the costumes seen in X-Men: Apocalypse, which were all personalized for the team, went unused in favor of the more uniform New X-Men-influenced outfits.
    • It was initially heavily suggested that the film's central conflict would've been the other X-Men's What the Hell, Hero? towards Xavier allowing Jean to unleash the Phoenix. However, the film proper has them mad at him for mentally screwing with Jean and locking away certain sensitive memories to prevent her from going nuts with her powers leading to Mystique's death. It would've been a nice Deconstruction of Godzilla Threshold as well as preventing the above mentioned Ass Pull.
    • Even before the film was released, some detractors expressed frustration that, instead of telling a different story with the younger cast introduced in Apocalypse to better flesh them out, Fox opted to do a do-over of one of the least popular movies in the series with less build-up to the pay-off of Jean Grey's Face–Heel Turn. That this comes two main-series X-Men movies after The Last Stand was rendered non-canon is also a sore point. Also a sore point is that this happened so soon after Days of Future Past wiped the slate clean for the franchise to go in any direction, yet the powers that be went with another Phoenix story.
  • Tough Act to Follow:
    • Coming off the very acclaimed Logan, this film was seen as an utter downgrade by critics to the emotional drama of the previous film. Jennifer Lawrence's performance in particular was singled out for being rather boring and phoned-in, making Mystique's death devoid of emotional impact.
    • Many reviews even compared it unfavorably to X-Men: The Last Stand, the film that many lauded as one of the lower-ranked movies of the franchise.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: You take a long hard look at the last shot of the final trailer where the Phoenix Force is shown along with the Earth and tell us it doesn't look beautiful.
  • Unexpected Character:
    • Dazzler makes a surprise cameo during a party sequence, where she's been hired as the evening's entertainment for Xavier's students.
    • After much speculation as to who Jessica Chastain could be playing, from Lilandra to Cassandra Nova to Skrull Queen Veranke, it turns out she's playing... Vuk, a one-off antagonist from Avengers #4 (a 1963 story which had zero to do with the X-Men).
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Charles Xavier. He is blamed for Jean going out of control and it's indicated that the audience is supposed to agree that he was being reckless and selfish, caring more about his ego than the mutants. However, some viewers find it hard to see it this way. As detailed in Informed Wrongness, Xavier has managed to create a bond of trust and respect between mutants and humans, a vast improvement over them being vivisected and/or mutants using their powers to commit atrocities  Despite Mystique's claims, Charles isn't forcing kids into dangerous situations as a publicity stunt; he's sending willing, consenting adults to use their abilities to help people. Also, creating mental blocks in Jean's mind arguably wasn't done to control her, but to protect her and others; Jean's powers are wildly unstable when she's emotionally distressed and what could be more distressing than being a little girl who accidentally killed her own mother and is now hated by her father? Charles clearly cares about Jean and while he could've perhaps approached the situation better, his intentions come off as more benevolent and sympathetic than apparently intended. However, it can also be argued that we are suppose to sympathize with Xavier as Jean forgives him and says that all his action were out of love instead of selfishness.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Mystique is seen as this by many when she calls out Xavier. She mocks Xavier by saying that she can’t remember a moment where Xavier actually "risked something" like the rest of the X-Men did, despite the fact that Xavier had sacrificed just as much (including the use of his legs, something she was there for) in the previous movies. Not only that, she also lectures Xavier for trying to make heroes out of the X-Men. This sentiment comes of as contradictory to her rousing speech she made to them in the previous movie and her observation that they're "just kids" is downright nonsensical due to the team being in their late 20s at the youngest and having been doing this for nearly a decade, making Mystique come off as both overprotective and hypocritical.
    • After Mystique's death, Hank decided to team up with Erik to hunt Jean Grey down, even agreeing to Erik's decision to outright kill Jean off out of vengeance for Jean accidentally killing Mystique. While Hank has a right to be pissed off that Jean killed Mystique, he knows that Jean did not do it on purpose, and that she's scared and confused because she doesn't know what's happening to her. Despite knowing this, he let his emotions cloud his judgment and decided to team up with his worst enemy to kill his former student without hesitation. The fact he blames everything on Charles and makes him out to be a selfish villain really doesn't help his case either.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?:
    • While there are some who are happy to see the X-Men wear yellow outfits based on the New X-Men run, others have mocked this, believing that the Jim Lee-inspired costumes seen at the end of X-Men: Apocalypse were better.
    • Jean's dark red trench coat has been derided for being similar to the red dress that she wore in X-Men: The Last Stand, for bringing back bad memories regarding that film.
    • Mystique's look in the film has a noticeable decrease in terms of makeup quality compared to prior installments. Jennifer Lawrence previously made it clear that she isn't a fan of the makeup process that it takes to bring the character to life, likely leading to lighter applications of it in her appearance in this film and her character's death early on.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: