Film Theory: The Avenger That RUINED Dark Phoenix!

Film Theory: The Avenger That RUINED Dark Phoenix!


What? Where am I? Phoenix, Arizona, at night. Did you seriously just kidnap me and drive me to the middle of the desert for a “Dark Phoenix” pun? Oh, I did much more than that Matpat. So much more, haha! MOUSE! Hello internet! Welcome to Film Theory! The show that’s awash in the blood of metahumans. Seriously, at this point, dead superheroes are to Film Theory what dead kids are to Game Theory. But today, I thought we’d look at a little less literal of a killing and more of a metaphorical one. Let’s talk X-Men’s “Dark Phoenix”, a film that came out to the worst reviews in the franchise’s history, and has grossly underperformed at the box office, which honestly is really sad to me. Without the original X-Men film, superhero movies just wouldn’t be where they are today. The one-two combo of X-Men and then Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, proved that a comic book hero’s most powerful ability was the power to sell tickets. The new movies have been really solid. “First Class” and “Days of Future Past” were amazing- (ignores “X-Men: Apocalypse”) Like I said, *those two* were amazing, and with “Dark Phoenix” being the last in the series now that Disney’s in charge, it’s a bummer to see such a pivotal franchise go out not with the bang, but with a whimper. So today I wanted to look at what went wrong with this new movie. I mean, its opening weekend earned half of even the worst movies of the “X-Men” franchise. That is serious. When you’re doing worse than “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, you know you done goofed. And admittedly there’s a lot of blame to go around, Sophie Turner struggling to maintain an American accent while saying the word “father”, Michael Fassbender being just as confused as to why Magneto’s in this movie as the audience is, the marketing team deciding not to put the words “X-Men” at the front of the movie’s title in giant bold letters. Guys, an “X” with a circle is just not gonna cut it when it comes to brand awareness. I saw that and thought it was telling me that this was a movie about railroad crossings. But those are all just the minor points. Well, not that last one, I actually think that last one is a really big misstep. You don’t know this is an “X-Men” movie unless you know what Dark Phoenix is referencing. Still, the biggest blame of all goes to one villain in particular. Forget Mr Sinister, Apocalypse and Juggernaut, the entity that’s now proven itself to be the greatest enemy to the X-Men is Captain Marvel. But to really understand why, and why to a level that no one else is covering, let me first quickly recap both movies to you, and then, things will start to make a little bit more sense Captain Marvel: Set in the early 90’s, a strong independent female named Carol Danvers, is in a space related accident with an experimental aircraft that results in her absorbing cosmic powers. The accident also gives her sudden onset amnesia. Her mentor actively lies to her about her past, but she learns the truth, which in turn unleashes her true potential, and she turns on the man who was once her teacher, setting out on a massive mission of revenge. Oh, and there happens to be a race of shape-shifting aliens called the Skrulls that are caught in the crossfire. “Dark Phoenix” Set in the early 90’s, a strong independent female named Jean Grey is in a space related accident with an experimental aircraft that results in her absorbing cosmic powers. Though she doesn’t experience any memory loss, it’s eventually revealed that her mentor has been actively lying to her about her past since she was a little girl. She learns the truth, which unleashes her true potential. She turns on the man who was once her teacher, setting out on a massive mission of self-discovery, oh and, uh, there’s a race of shape-shifting aliens called the D’Bari caught in a crossfire. “Captain Marvel” released into theaters March 8th 2019, “Dark Phoenix” was supposed to release November 2nd of 2018, then again on February 14th of this year, months and then mere weeks earlier than “Captain Marvel”. Are you starting to notice a problem here? Okay, so admittedly I may have oversimplified the plots of these two movies just a wee little bit, But there is very clearly a bit of overlap between the two films. Female superheroes with space powers and counter shape-shifting aliens, and deal with their lying mentor, and here I thought releasing biopics of famous musical artists, named after their most iconic songs, within a six-month span was a bad idea But in all seriousness, the overlap was originally gonna be greater. Much greater! You see, “Dark Phoenix” currently ends with the battle on a train, but was originally meant to end with a battle in space. Just like the ending of another movie- “Captain Marvel”. According to leaked reports off of test screenings for the film, the third act of “Dark Phoenix” culminated in a full-scale alien invasion at the U.N., where Jean Grey has to launch herself into space to defeat the alien armada. Hmmm, where have I seen that before? In the end, Jean sacrifices herself to destroy the fleet. It’s something that appears to be confirmed by Simon Kinberg, the writer, director and producer of “Dark Phoenix”. “My original ending didn’t have the entire X-family together the way they are in the film now.” “Usually, these big, huge action movies have the climactic moment in the third act.” “I loved the way that “Civil War” had its big action set piece,” “where everyone’s facing off more towards the end of the second act, rather than in the third,” “so that after that huge battle, you’re left with Winter Soldier, Captain America and Iron Man.” “It’s this telescoped down view of their raw emotions, and I loved how intimate that was.” “That’s what I was going for with “Dark Phoenix” ending, even though it then might have looked like Captain Marvel for about two minutes.” So basically, Jean sacrifices herself and the team winds up divided. That’s how I read into that quote, but in the process, as he admits, it looks like a Captain Marvel space battle for two minutes. So what’s the big deal here? It’s only like two minutes of similarities between the two movies, right? Well, if you calculate the time that Captain Marvel is actually in space, doing battle against an armada of invading alien ships, it winds up being you guessed it- almost exactly two minutes. Okay, we have two movies, with strong females, getting accidental cosmic superpowers, while also being lied to by their mentors, leading them to ultimately encounter shape-shifting aliens, and have a climactic space battle against an armada of ships for exactly two minutes, But come on! Those sorts of coincidences happen everyday in Hollywood! It’s not like the X-Men and Captain Marvel are dealing with the same aliens invading Earth, right? Ha, one are the D’Bari and one are the Skrulls and Kree, They’re not the same, right? Right? They’re the same freaking aliens, aren’t they? Yep! The D’Bari, who end up as the alien race in “Dark Phoenix”, and who go unnamed for practically the entire movie, (which should already tip you off that this was changed during reshoots) were originally meant to be the Skrulls. In fact, in the comics, the D’Bari basically get one panel in the Dark Phoenix saga, in which they’re being wiped out by Jean Grey. And that’s it. That’s all the characterization they ever get. Not much to build an entire villain civilization around for your new movie, FOX. for further proof that these shape shifters were originally meant to be the Skrulls, we turn to an interview with the actor of Cyclops, Tye Sheridan. “There’s this huge battle between the guards at the U.N. and Jean Grey,” “and all the guards turn out to be Skrulls,” “and then Jean and Scott are – Scott is fighting Skrulls in the fountain.” And for further proof, we turn to the head Skrull- I mean, sorry, head D’Bari herself, Jessica Chastain, who had this to say about her character. “So it was always, like, everyday, kind of trying to figure out, “Who am I?” “You know, the mystery of “Who is this character?” “and then understanding that, also with the reshoots, you kind of go,” “Oh, it’s changing again.” “You know, I mean, it was like a constant evolution.” So, how was “Dark Phoenix” expecting to get away with using the Skrulls when it’s clearly a Marvel property? Well, in truth, the question should actually be asked the other way. Many fans had assumed that the Skrulls couldn’t appear in the MCU because of their connection to the Fantastic Four, a Marvel property whose film rights were sold to FOX, back in the days when Marvel was bankrupt. Ha, Marvel being bankrupt. Man, if at first you don’t succeed, sell sell sell to Disney. But seriously, the Skrulls first appeared in Fantastic Four #2, and then again in Fantastic Four #18, that was their origin. Seems like it should be a slam dunk for “Dark Phoenix” to use the property, except, like all things in life, it’s more complicated than that. According to a tweet from “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn, The Skrulls actually have shared custody between Marvel and FOX. “Some specific Skrulls are at FOX. The scrolls as a whole are co-owned.” So, apparently Marvel gets custody Wednesdays and every other weekend. But in all seriousness, how did these two movies end up like this? The “Dark Phoenix” saga is, at its core, a very different story from “Captain Marvel”. In the X-Men, “Dark Phoenix” is all about a team of mutants being forced to stop one of their own from turning evil. Captain Marvel, meanwhile, is the exact opposite, The story of a solo pilot in a cosmic case of Stockholm Syndrome. So what happened? Well James McAvoy, the actor who plays Professor X, may have summed up the situation best. “We’re trawling through the same source material, it seems.” Obviously, the “Dark Phoenix” saga and “Captain Marvel” aren’t the same comic, but in a lot of ways, they may as well be. Before the X-Men were canceled in 1970- Yeah, that’s another surprise! It was such an unpopular comic when it was first released, that it was cancelled for half a decade in the 70’s! Anyway back then, Jean Grey often went by the moniker “Marvel Girl”, and Captain Marvel is just Marvel Girl after a few promotions, right? No, obviously, I’m just joking, but the two do still share a remarkable heritage. When Jean was brought back for the “Dark Phoenix” saga, it was by comic writer Chris Claremont. Claremont took Jean Grey, who at the time was considered a throwaway character, and made her a star. I mean literally he made her a star, but Claremont’s career as a comic writer, and reviver of throwaway characters was far from over. Fast forward a few years, and Claremont is working on a comic called Ms.Marvel. Maybe tempted to believe that this is an evolution of Marvel Girl with a bit more maturity, But actually Ms. Marvel was an entirely different character. Not Jean Grey, but Carol Danvers. Carol would decades later take on the mantle of her predecessor and become Captain Marvel, but only after Claremont’s lobbying for his female spin-off to take over for the traditionally male role. Both characters revived and molded in huge ways by Claremont. And so in a lot of ways, the source material really was the same. Even all that being considered though, obviously, the impending acquisition of FOX by Disney didn’t help things along. Captain Marvel may not have killed Jean Grey, but The Mouse certainly did. First, we saw what they did with the Skrull in Captain Marvel, much to everyone’s surprise, they’re the good guys in that movie. Would be confusing for audiences to see them acting good in one movie, and then suddenly turning heel in the next that happens only a month later. Or worse for Disney, Dark Phoenix releasing before Captain Marvel, and now the MCU’s big female hero flick gets railroaded, as audiences grapple with the inconsistent Skrull treatment, and “Dark Phoenix” gets there first. The Mouse sacrificed Jean Grey for Carol Danvers. This was honestly crucial, since Disney clearly has plans for the Skrulls moving forward, They know where Marvel’s headed into the post-“Endgame” phase of movie, and the Skrulls are 99% certain to factor into that. Kevin Feige, the mastermind behind the MCU, has been very upfront when speaking about a branching division of Earth-centric films and space-centric films, and with that comes the continuation of the story of the Skrull, as they are heavily involved in some of the most iconic Marvel stories out there, specifically “Secret Invasion”, where fan favorite characters are suddenly replaced by doppelganger Skrulls. That is an impossible plotline to pass up, but two movies using the same characters would have just caused both of those movies, and specifically that race of characters to suffer. And so, just like a divorce with joint custody, the primary caregiver is the one who gets the say. And in this case, we’re all forced to bow to the will of Disney Especially a struggling studio that’s looking to get a 71 billion dollar buyout, FOX. And that’s kind of sad, as we’re going forward into a world where Disney is going to own all but the DC Superheroes, we may want to pause at this moment and think about what this really means. Sure, it means awesome things, like Wolverine and Hulk finally sharing the screen together, But it also means no more FOX taking chances, and doing things differently. No more baffling “Fantastic Four” movies, as they desperately try to hold on to the IP, giving us movies that we can laugh at for decades to come. No more Universal giving comic book movies to Ang Lee. But with two or three movies coming out each year into the foreseeable future, Disney is gonna have to start to learn that some things are just gonna have to overlap, or we may end up with a lot more Dark Phoenixes on our hands. But hey, that’s just a theory! A Film Theory! Aaaaand cut.

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  1. You know Mattpatt, Disney won’t actually remove R-18 movies like Logan because that would just mean Disney is too focused on kids movies

  2. I saw captain marvel. I wasnt impressed. All it did was kill a couple hours. When it comes to the Phoenix saga, at this point I just stick to the comics. Not a single studio has ever done Phoenix a justice and if disney ever tried they would just fuck it up like they've done to countless stories. Star wars as a prime example.

  3. Hulk 2004 was MCU v0.5. Hulk established the character, with him fleeing to Brazil at the end. The Incredible Hulk lightly glossed over the events of Hulk. He was already in Brazil and left cuz his blood messed things up in the factory he worked in. At the end, Tony Stark comes in talking about assembling the Avengers. (lol see what I did there?) Plus it happened between Iron Man movies, with 3 different people playing the Jolly Green Giant.

  4. the funniest part of this…. "Wednesday and every other weekend" is actually my custody till I get a judge involved :p

  5. Serious stretching there to make the two movies sound more alike than they were. Also ignored the fact that the stories were already established. long ago in the comics.

  6. One (main) bit about captain marvel that annoyed me apart from her smug attitude.(if you had amnesia and bits of your memory were missing would you be that smug)SPOILER:

    She s tied up and held prisoner helpless,surrounded by her enemies,she starts manifesting her powers,and they all wait around for her to free herself and blast them.and oh god the montage near the end of her falling over and getting up was hilarious.

  7. What if Captain marvel was the reason Jean got space gassed. I mean the thing that infects Jean kinda looks like Captain Marvel’s powers.

  8. And this is why I'm mad at Disney. They only care about money and are willing and to hurt other studios's chances. At least Sony had the guts to stand up to them.

  9. Didn’t the Dark Phoenix saga have that alien race that wanted to destroy the Phoenix? The leader of said race was a love interest for Prof. X, but that might have just been in the original animated series

  10. NUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
    my favourite X-men

  11. The problem I had with Dark Phoenix is that everyone acts as if Professor X is wrong for not telling a little girl that her father gave up on her because she killed her mother. And after every mutant tells her they'll welcome her home she complains about not having a home and that everyone rejects. Also they make Professor X look bad for making mutants saviors instead of monsters?

  12. Technically can’t Black Widow come back because a soul for a soul and cpt America returned the soul stone so a soul for a soul so Black Widow can come back

  13. Can you make a theory on why none of the X-Men look anywhere close to what they looked like in the first X-Men movie, despite Dark Phoenix only being 10 years away from it?

  14. Wtf is this BS MattPatt?! Dark Pheonix was absolute crap, thats why it done crap… And also X-men First Class, and X-men Days Of Future Past… Were the most crap X-men films ever… And really, you're saying Dark Pheonix ripped off Captian Marvel… Or that Captain Marvel ripped off Dark Pheonix? Seriously just stick to your game theories!

  15. I'm making this comment without reading other comments so forgive me if this is a repeat. There are two other Captain Marvel/X-men connections. One being Rogue getting her powers of flight and invulnerability from absorbing Carol Danvers. The other being the Carol/Wolverine friendship. They may revive that in the second Captain Marvel film as a way to introduce the X-family to the MCU proper.

  16. Me not watching nor caring about last 4 or 5 Disney movies, Mat Pat I got a theory me being ok let me see what is this about

  17. I would have swapped the two fights anytime. My problem with Captain Marvel is that she way WAAAAAAAAAAAYY too OP at the end of the movie. They could have nerfed her at the end of the movie, or made another ending.

  18. tbh i also thought dark phoenix did bad because sophie turner is most well known for playing sansa in got … i'm indifferent to sansa but she's one of the most disliked characters in the show, especially after season 8 bombed her character arc … i think sophie was super defensive of the show's ending too … which … yeah .. i can see the boycott ..

  19. This breaks my heart bc as much as I love Marvel, X-Men has always been my favorite. but to be frank, I liked the original Jean Greys plot line where professor x suppressed her powers that she was born with and didnt know about. I liked the Captian Marvel movie, but honestly I'm not a big fan of "I'm the best and no one is stronger than me" big headed character Captian Marvel ended up being. Jean Grey always seemed more down to Earth and human.

    Like I like powerful woman dont get me wrong. But I want a all powerful HUMBLE woman, not a "oh look at how badass I am" woman. Narcissism doesnt bode well with me. And even as a woman myself I was cheering for Ironman in Endgame when Captian Marvel failed and he took the thrown, so to speak.

  20. And honestly I'm starting to kind of hate Disney with they cancellation of Tom's Spidey and overpowering Jean Grey. Especially since Captian Marvel kind of sucks after Endgame.

  21. I feel like people co-related the failure of Game of Thrones ending to the actress so they said fuck that movie and didn't go watch it because of it… My thoughts anyways

  22. Of course Disney knows that properties need to overlap!! Why do you think they created the deal with Sony which is now causing us all heartache?! They also know that it has been done properly, and putting the Skrulls in CM and DP would have been a disaster, as you pointed out so well. of course Disney chose Captain Marvel over Dark Phoenix – why would you introduce a property that you wanted to do well into a film that was part of a dead universe that wasn't linked at all to the other? This way, the Skrulls can (and will) be part of X-Men films, but MCU X-Men films, where it (hopefully) makes sense.

  23. Yeah, it’s insane that the unreleased F4 is the best.

    But as for the end, I think phase 4 is the chance for Disney to show that it can come up with wacky and unique ideas similar to what FOX was doing desperately towards the end. I have to hope that Disney can make a Logan to match their Thor Ragnarok or Guardians of the Galaxy. The standout to me will definitely be the next Dr. Strange and the Eternals.

  24. Woah! A 13min video will only one Ad!? And the Reddit youtubers thought it couldn't be done. (I'm looking at you, Giofilms and Emkay!)

  25. They sacrificed jean grey for Captain marvel? So they sacrificed a beloved character for a universally hated one,

  26. While talking about similarities between those two movies you forgot to mention two of the biggest similarities and reasons both movies got hurt. Their story didn't make much sense, changed way too much and both movies and both main lead actresses were politically charged and pushed people away.

  27. Even the movie covers are similar. Anyway, the problem is all because the studios were different back then. So yeah, in the movies, X-Man are separate beings from anything Marvel. Overlaps are about to happen. Let's see if the magic of Disney can fix everything and bring a more concise and complete history arc with all the properties now

  28. Want to know why both movies died? They're about a fucking female protagonist. You ever see the house packed for women's sports? Or better yet, women spending $100 a month on their comic book orders? As the man says, they're overlapping source material, and it's source material that doesn't have an audience. You're a woman and you like and go to Marvel movies? Great, you're in the minority and you don't fund a fraction of what males do to see a live action interpretation of the shit they grew up with and paid constant big bucks to see their entire lives. You want a blockbuster success for equality's sake, and capitalism says "fuck you". It's a good thing to keep in mind. The only reason you have what you have is billions of dollars of revenue that you did not supply reinvested into another movie that has a large following. If you divert those funds into movies that aren't geared towards that same audience, you deserve no monetary compensation. It's basically like you took the money from people who go to see the same movie 4 or 5 times, chopped a huge portion out of it, and gave them a movie they would NEVER even want to see. Why would you expect success from stupidity?

  29. It seems that captain marvel was supposed to introduce the skrull and begin down the comic book timeline of them being the victims to their hard shift to villains.

    Dark Phoenix suffered because X-Men has been the underperformer between them and the MCU so it's natural which gets the axe when the time comes

  30. It ripped off a allready bad film and made their bootleg worse combined with crappy marketing and anti fan sentiment it killed its self at the box office not really much more to add the. That.

  31. The Gospel! Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Revelation 21:8 “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Romans 5:8-9 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” 2 Corinthians 7:10 “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

  32. Hey you used the wrong collar device, that is the collar device for a Lieutenant not a captain. A captain’s collar device is a silver spread eagle. Just throwing that out there.

  33. Fun Fact: Sophie Turner is blond, it's just that in X Men and Game of Thrones, the shows where she actually got widespread viewing, she is red haired

  34. Nothing personal to Captain Marvel/Brie Larson fans but now that Disney has X-Men I'm kinda hoping they do what they comics did and say "You know what… Captain Marvel is kinda Superman Grade boring to watch on film… let's have Rogue kill her and get some of her powers!"

  35. So, overall, Disney worked with fox to take the skrull completely out of dark Phoenix, make the movie tank, all so they could introduce them in the MCU as a subplot in Captain Marvel and eventually lead up to the secret invasion story line after the events of the infinity saga?

    Thats actually pretty cool! Spoiler alert: they were kinda hinting at that at the end of Spider-Man homecoming, when Maria hill and Nick Fury were replaced by skrull. The one weird thing is that the skrull weren’t actually doing anything wrong. In fact, they actually contacted Nick fury for help while he seemed to be on some kind of space vacation.

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