With the purchase of the Fox assets by Disney completed and The New Mutants in limbo, the upcoming Dark Phoenix appears to be the final entry in the Fox-owned adaptation of Marvel's X-Men franchise. Excitement for the film has been somewhat muted, a response that hasn't been helped by a marketing campaign that couldn't wait to spoil some of the film's biggest events.
But the latest trailer suggests that Dark Phoenix might actually be the epic ending to the long-running series fans have been hoping for. If it succeeds in making the story truly cosmic while never losing sight of Jean Grey herself, Dark Phoenix might just surprise us and become the best adaptation of this story yet.
Heroes Being Heroes
Something that none of the Fox X-Men films have focused on is the idea of the X-Men as a superhero team. While the squad of mutants has always been defined by their mission to save mutants and stop those who would endanger them, they've never really been presented as straight-up heroes. They've always been a more reactionary group. The final trailer, however, opens by showcasing the X-Men heading into space to help save a group of astronauts who have been stranded following an accident.
On top of being just more heroic, it also brings the X-Men to the biggest location they've ever encountered. Even huge, past moments like the X-Men traveling through time or preventing World War III pale in comparison to the full scope of the cosmos. Even Nightcrawler and Jean's basic moves to rescue the astronauts look more incredible in the vastness of space.
When Jean is hit by the cosmic wave that will imbue her with the power of the Phoenix, it's not mere random happenstance; it's because she chose to be a hero. Much like the original, tragic "Dark Phoenix Saga," such good intentions can come back around in the worst ways.
The Phoenix Force (now more ethereal and otherworldly than it's ever appeared on screen) is treated with fear and reverence. In trying to save the lives endangered by it, Jean has opened herself up to it. Jean was doing the right thing and now she, her friends and the world as a whole will have to deal with the problems that arise from that.
This plays into the inherent tragedy of the Dark Phoenix story line, while embracing the cosmic scope of such a story. This isn't about humans and mutants anymore, or even just the Earth itself. The Phoenix Force is a powerful thing, more so than anything the X-Men have ever faced. This trailer reinforces just how massive the X-Men universe really is, and all the powers that are present within it.