With Bryan Singer finally facing the most minor of repercussions for years of rumored and accused sexual misbehavior, Dark Phoenix marks the director’s second and, presumably, final exit from the superhero franchise he’s so insistently wrapped in black leather.
This time, the director’s chair is filled by Simon Kinberg. He’s basically to 20th Century Fox what David Goyer has long been to Warner Bros.: the “geeky” friend who they let hang out since he sort of knows what their comic books are worth. Beginning with the dire X-Men: The Last Stand, Kinsberg has been a producer and writer on the likes of Days of Future Past, Apocalypse, and, most woefully, Fant4stic.
Dark Phoenix sees him directing his own screenplay for the first time—and getting a re-do on The Last Stand to boot. Since his Days of Future Past script was essentially a mulligan of a movie, now Kinsberg is returning to the iconic Dark Phoenix comics saga for inspiration. Because what a great political climate for a story about a couple older white guys constantly telling a woman to calm down before she gets hysterical.
Anyway, despite the change in leadership, you’d never know it in the trailer for this latest X-Men chapter. All the endlessly cyclical melodrama of the last few entries remains, as does the tendency to fill the frame with pensively lifeless images livened only by CG flares and the ever-dwindling budget for cyan paint. The cliché of calling the actors “action figures” is perhaps yet again too generous in the case of this franchise.
Dark Phoenix will hit theaters, and seemingly kill off Mystique before Jennifer Lawrence can even go beyond her blue base coat, June 7.