It is no secret that fans of the beloved X-Men films hated X-Men: Apocalypse. The film was full of bad decisions and lost the things that made the franchise such a hit. The stumble was a surprise in the wake of two great films, X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past. Apocalypse drew the weakest reviews of the entire franchise. With Simon Kinberg taking the helm, will X-Men: Dark Phoenix put the franchise back on course?
Simon Kinberg took a minute to talk about the direction of X-Men: Dark Phoenix and how the franchise will turn things around. In a recent interview with EW, Kinberg talked about the shortcomings of Apocalypse:
“I think we took our eye off what has always been the bedrock of the franchise which is these characters. It became about global destruction and visual effects over emotion and character… One of the things I went into this film wanting to do is obviously focus on the characters and give them real emotions to play and come up with a theme that would make it feel relevant and necessary in today’s world.”
Producer Hutch Parker commented, saying the script evolved throughout the production, which happened because of films like Deadpool and Logan:
“It’s always dangerous if your script is evolving while you’re shooting. Certainly, in hindsight, we all feel like the genre has been evolving aesthetically and tonally and that the film didn’t. There’s a lot that I think is very good in the film but, as a whole, it was struggling to find ways to coalesce, narratively emotionally and in terms of plot. Aesthetically, it felt sort of dated relative to an evolution you were seeing play out everywhere else. We learned a lot from that.”
Another thing that changed was the way that the film was shot. Parker goes on to say:
“It is so gritty and there are so many fantastical things in this movie and we really wanted it to resonate with every member of the audience who watches it so we had to make to so real as well. You still get that sense of escapism when people start flying but there’s so much reality in it. I think it will really affect people. And the way Simon shot it — the majority of this movie is handheld, like Steadicam.”
A lot was said about the shape-shifting villain of the movie played by Jessica Chastain. Although her name hasn’t revealed, Kinberg spot about her motivations and how she has the ability to use Jean Grey’s powers against the world. Chastain also spoke about the character, saying:
“I was really excited for him to have his directorial debut and also it was the script. I’ve always wanted to do a big comic book franchise-y film but I had some issues with the female characters in the films I was being offered. I was really pleased with this script because I think it’s a departure from the norm.
Simon and I first sat down in Montreal and we were talking about the character and I said ‘I don’t know if this is right but I keep thinking of the vet who tells you need to put your dog down. There’s something very clinical about it.’ He loved it and we kind of expanded the character from there.”