• Brian Flinchbaugh

Five Reasons Dark Phoenix Was Doomed From the Start

The most recent and final installment of Fox’s X-Men franchise, Dark Phoenix, has been a major bust at the box office. In the age of superhero movies, how does this kind of film fail so tragically? Here are the five key reasons why Dark Phoenix was doomed for failure from the start.





1. Lame Duck

Everyone knows Dark Phoenix is the last of a lame duck franchise. With Marvel Studios controlling the X-Men from now on, there’s nowhere go after this. The team will be rebooted several years from now in the MCU with no connection to the current franchise. In the current era of superhero movies, there’s always another to look forward to. Not this time.


2. The Cast

As talented are James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence are, fans have never taken to this cast as they did with the originals. Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen defined the franchise for a decade. Other than Wolverine who is no longer a part of the series, the characters were rebooted too quickly. The originals are always the best.


3. Same Old Story

As bad as The Last Stand may have been, we’ve all seen this story before. Yes, hardcore fans want to see the Phoenix saga done right, but the casual moviegoer doesn’t want to see the same story told all over again. Especially when they hated it the first time. There are dozens of amazing X-Men storylines from the comics and you come back with the same one?


4. Apocalyptic Predecessor

When one movie in a franchise is a massive disappointment, the following film tends to feel the consequences. Personally, I enjoyed X-Men: Apocalypse. But I’m one of only a few as it was otherwise a disaster for the franchise. Dark Phoenix needed some coattails, especially when coming out in the same year as Captain Marvel, Shazam, Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home. Apocalypse did it no favors.


5. Bad Tomatoes

I don’t put a lot of stock in reviews of these movies, but tons of people do. The reviews for Dark Phoenix are the worst in the franchise, and we’re talking about a franchise that includes The Last Stand and Origins. At this point it just feels like we’re piling on. But the fact is, if you try to redo a movie that was a major failure, and fail again, that’s bad news. I’m not sure even outstanding reviews could have saved this one, but that 23% Rotten Tomatoes score feels like the final nail in the coffin.


The X-Men franchise has had a great run. Pre-dating the MCU, X-Men premiered in 2000. Nineteen years and twelve movies later, we've reached the end. We got two decades of the X-Men. Now, we will wait a few years before we see them again. Hopefully, they'll come back better than ever.


- Brian Flinchbaugh

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