The Dark Phoenix trailer wraps up Fox’s X-Men in a confusing knot, and I give up


The X-Men’s time under Fox’s watch is finally coming to a close with Dark Phoenix. While the movie looks good, everything is just a mess at this point.

Watching and understanding the X-Men movies in the last few years is like being Marty McFly in Back to the Future when Doc Brown has to explain time traveling to him. In order to understand the X-Men timeline at this point, you’ll likely need a huge chalkboard in the middle of your home, too, just to start to make sense of what’s going on.

Now, the official trailer for the latest X-Men movie, Dark Phoenix, is out. And that does nothing to ease that confusion. But at the same, I’m questioning, does that even matter at this point? The answer to that… is no.

First off, there’s nothing that necessarily makes Dark Phoenix look like a bad movie. Honestly, if this were a standalone movie where none of the other X-Men movies mattered (okay, that’s kind of the reality of this movie anyway), I’d go and see it without protest. But we still can’t take for granted the movies that came before, making this one messy path to the final X-Men movie by Fox.

While I watched the trailer, I realized the biggest problem with this movie was that I kept asking myself, “When does this movie take place?” I would have loved to pay attention to the action scenes and any part where Jean Grey is moody — but I ended up looking like the confused math lady trying to figure out the timeline instead of enjoying the preview of the movie.

Other questions I’ve asked myself include:

  • Is this the same plot as X-Men: The Last Stand?
  • How close is this old young-Professor X to the age of the CGI young old-Professor X?
  • So this is… post the events Days of Future Past or before?
  • Halle Berry was in Days of Futures Past so this is technically before that, since young Storm is in Dark Phoenix, right?
  • Does this mean Scott already knows about Phoenix in X2 and Last Stand before she dies?
  • Do those movies even matter anymore?
  • Where’s Deadpool?

Suffice to say, there’s a lot going on with this last movie. And even though I’m pretty well in touch with the X-Men movie franchise, I think the whole thing has become a disservice to the average moviegoer. Sure, it’s one thing for a movie like Avengers: Endgame to require the viewer to watch 20 movies to understand what’s going on in that movie. But it’s another thing to change the timeline of events of a movie franchise people have been watching for the last 16 years.

When you’re putting in all that brain work to figure out what’s going on in the movie, it just doesn’t become worth it at that point.

That’s not to say Dark Phoenix can’t be enjoyable, though. It may be possible that in the movie, things are a lot less serious than I’m making it out to be. But given my experience of watching Days of Future Past and its succeeding movies, I’ve always had that problem.

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In the end, Disney is coming in to swoop up the X-Men. And by the time this is all over, the events from Fox’s X-Men movies will be wiped out in the snap of Thanos’ fingers. And because of that, I’m choosing to give up in understanding the timeline. I’ve laughed at Evan Peters’ Quicksilver, I cried for old man Logan, and I think that’s all I can take at this point.

So long, Fox’s X-Men. It’s been a great ride.