The X-Men movie series has had its ups and downs since beginning in 2000, and it looks like we’re heading back into the latter territory. While X-Men: Apocalypse wasn’t the worst superhero movie released in 2016, it definitely didn’t measure up to its immediate two predecessors critically. It’s becoming abundantly clear this superhero franchise is starting to show its age, and Fox apparently agrees. It was reported last week that the studio is considering “pressing the reset button,“ though it sounds like their approach would be more of a semi-reboot.
We talked last week about why it’s a good idea for Fox to fully reboot the X-Men, i.e. start from scratch, but before that happens, the main series should conclude with one last hurrah. Fortunately for the studio, they have just the story for the job. It’s been reported several times over the last year that the next main X-Men series will tackle the Dark Phoenix Saga, which was previously adapted for 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand. Here are the main reasons why this comic book storyline should end the current batch of main X-Men movies before a reboot is launched.
It Brings The Series Around Nearly Full Circle
Starting with X-Men: First Class and its 1960s setting, every main X-Men installment has jumped forward approximately a decade. More than half of X-Men: Days of Future Past balanced being set in 1973 with the apocalyptic future 50 years later, and X-Men: Apocalypse hopped to 1983. According to Bryan Singer, the next X-Men movie will continue this trend by taking place in the 1990s, which means the series will be the closest yet to coming nearly full circle with when the first X-Men movie happened, i.e. circa 2000.
Even though X-Men: Apocalypse marked the end of the “First Class” trilogy, this X-Men movie can serve as an epilogue of sorts and end this series close to the same time period it began. There would be something poetic leaving these characters close to how they were when we first met them. Granted, any story could technically work with this approach, but by using the Dark Phoenix saga, the studio receives the added bonus of ending the series with one of the biggest bangs possible…if executed properly, of course.
It Redeems The Storyline After The Last Stand
2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand is notorious for being one of the worst-received X-Menmovies among fans. One of the reasons for this is because of how the Dark Phoenix adaptation was handled. It was bad enough that Jean Grey’s villainous self was forced to share screen time with the mutant cure plot, but on top of that, Jean’s Dark Phoenix powers were attributed to being a subconscious separate personality rather than anything extraterrestrial. Now that the “First Class” trilogy is working with a relatively fresh timeline, as well as X-Men: Apocalypse having reintroduced the Phoenix Force, this is the perfect time to re-tackle the storyline and give it its proper due.
Granted, the new movie can’t be 100% faithful to the original tale. For instance, the Phoenix Force will have to still be attributed to something inside of Jean rather than an entirely different entity. But hey, at least this version of the story can’t be any worse than what The Last Stand gave us, right? At least this time the door is open to connect the Dark Phoenix to her cosmic roots, which brings us to the next section…