Who are we? Are we simply what others want us to be? Are we destined to a fate beyond our control? Or can we evolve, become something…. more? From writer-director Simon Kinberg comes the most radical X-Men film ever made: X-Men: Dark Phoenix, out in cinemas nationwide June 5th.
The movie tells the iconic story of Jean Grey’s (Sophie Turner) transformation from gifted mutant into the most powerful force in the universe. The culmination of a superhero saga nearly two decades in the making, the spectacular new blockbuster is part science-fiction thriller, part character-driven drama, posing intriguing questions about identity and destiny.
During a life-threatening mission to outer space, Jean is nearly killed when she absorbs a cosmic entity that leaves her with powers far beyond anything she or any other mutant has ever possessed. Once she returns home to Earth, she struggles with these near-godlike abilities, but the force inside her is too overwhelming to contain. Spiraling out of control, Jean hurts the ones she loves most. Her actions tear the X-Men apart, and the heroes find themselves deeply compromised at a time when they must face their most dangerous enemy yet—one of their own.
Here’s the trailer:
The emotional story of a divided hero, a divided family and a divided world, X-Men: Dark Phoenix also stars James McAvoy as Charles Xavier/Professor X, Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto, Jennifer Lawrence as Raven/Mystique, Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy/Beast, Tye Sheridan as Scott Summers/Cyclops and Alexandra Shipp as Ororo Munroe/Storm.
The film is based on one of the most enduring storylines in the decades-long history of the X-Men comic books. “The Dark Phoenix saga is one of the most beloved of the X-Men series in its long lineage, primarily because it’s not a story where you have heroes and villains, black and white,” says writer-director Simon Kinberg, a lifelong comic book fan. 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand included aspects of the Dark Phoenix story, but more than 10 years on, he feels the time is right for a darker, grittier, much more faithful adaptation that will serve as a capstone to nearly two decades of superhero filmmaking.
At its core, this is a tale of a woman struggling with her personal demons, and only the love of her family—the X-Men—can save her soul, and the world. “This movie’s very different from the previous X-Men movies,” Kinberg says. “The source material is different from the other X-Men comics that we’ve drawn upon in the past. It’s more psychologically complex and emotionally volatile. The emotions it gets into are rawer than a lot of the other X-Men comics.”
“X-Men: Dark Phoenix was an opportunity to do something unique and more specific in ways that previous movies haven’t really had the opportunity to be,” says producer Hutch Parker. “This film is a much more thorough investigation and much truer to Jean as a character. This feels very different, with a different tone and a different sense of cinematic style that is appropriately suited to the story we’re telling.”
“What happens with Jean when she comes back from space is that she has a power she can’t control inside of her, and it’s escalating and intensifying everything inside Jean, which can unleash or liberate aspects of her personality,” Kinberg adds. “That’s power, emotion and rage, and that’s passion.”
“What was most intriguing to me and why this story has spoken to so many people is that on a very human level, it’s about someone you love starting to unravel psychologically,” Kinberg says. “What happens when people lose themselves in real life is that their loved ones hold on and want to help or save them. Sometimes you get dragged down with them and there are others who, at a certain point, give up on them. This movie is about that question of, when do you let go and give up on someone you love.”
“Right now, we’re living in a world that is a little upside-down politically and socially,” he continues. “There’s not a lot of unity. Everybody feels like they’re splitting apart. A story about a character who is herself splitting apart, and as a result of that, is splitting apart the family of the X-Men, it felt very relevant.”
“The thing about the Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix story is that she’s not a villain, but she’s not a superhero who’s going to save the world and everything’s fine,” Turner adds. “She’s one of the few characters that’s very tormented and broken. There’s a realism to her, it’s painful and her experiences remind you of mental illness. It’s not too fantastical for people to comprehend. There’s no black or white with her, it’s a very gray area. It’s a struggle that’s very true to a lot of people and that’s why people love her.”
“My favourite movies pose provocative questions, emotional questions, to an audience,” Kinberg continues. “X-Men: Dark Phoenix asks profound, primal questions—if you love someone, at what point do you let them go? Or do you hold onto them forever, at all costs, even at your own peril? I don’t know that I have the answer to that, but maybe if I were to posit an answer to it, I would say to never give up on the people that you love.”
X-Men: Dark Phoenix will be in cinemas nationwide June 5th.