The movie Dark Phoenix opens this weekend, but the onslaught of less-than-favorable reviews (including our own) indicates that it’s hardly the blockbuster ending that the X-Men franchise had hoped for. In fact, it currently hovers at the very bottom of the RT rankings of the X-Men movies at 22%. At the top of that same list: 2017’s Logan, with 93%.
A new video on the Browntable YouTube channel argues that the cinematic X-Men story should have ended once and for all with Logan. There’s a reason for all those positive reviews: The movie is less a superhero film than a Western, as Logan, one of the sole surviving X-Men along with Charles Xavier, heads out on one last quest to get a young mutant to safety. This older, bitter, dying Logan is a shadow of his former Wolverine self, yet somehow rediscovers the hero he once was, managing to end his life in bravery and honor. Browntable praises the film’s approach on a “small, personal level,” exploring Logan’s journey after so many years and movies “toward becoming a true hero once again.”
Unfortunately, Dark Phoenix has no such history, Browntable points out; we only first encountered this version of Jean Grey, briefly, in 2016’s Apocalypse. Instead of an artistic tour de force, Dark Phoenix was “rushed and reshot,” as all the participants appear to be “trying for a decent movie,” but can’t quite get there. Browntable blames the filmmakers and studio for “story over profit,” only interested in “milking a profitable franchise,” which means that the X-Men run won’t get its own Avengers: Endgame, The Dark Knight Rises, or How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World to end the series on a high note.
In fact, there are still X-Men movies in development, in various stages of stalling and reshoots; Gambit may never make it to the big screen, while The New Mutants has been pushed to 2020. Although the apparent attempt to make that film a teen horror movie may be a positive sign—at least, judging by Logan’s own shift out of the superhero genre.