Dark Phoenix Created A Huge Plothole That Completely Ruins X-Men: Apocalypse

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For all the good things it has going for it – Hugh Jackman, Deadpool, Logan, etc. – Fox’s X-Men franchise has never been a stickler for continuity. Thanks to Days of Future Past, we can explain away a lot of it as a result of the altered timeline. However, Dark Phoenix contains a particularly flagrant plothole that conflicts with events in its immediate predecessor, X-Men: Apocalypse

Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey was introduced in the 2016 movie, which depicted the troubled teen as struggling to control her powers. At the end of the film, Professor X encouraged Jean to let go and she did, turning Apocalypse to dust in the process. In an epic, fan-pleasing moment, Jean was silhouetted by a flaming bird, a big hint that she was already possessed by the Phoenix Force.

Fast forward to Dark Phoenix, though, and no mention of this earlier display of the Phoenix is made. In the movie’s opening act, Jean becomes infected with the cosmic force when rescuing some stranded astronauts in space. It’s repeatedly confirmed that the apocalyptic power bonded with her during this event. Prior to appearing above Earth, the Phoenix had destroyed the homeworld of Jessica Chastain’s Vuk and the D’Bari people.

On the one hand, this is much truer to the comics, as the space sequence is heavily inspired by the origins of Jean and the Phoenix in the original Dark Phoenix Saga. However, Apocalypse suggested the movies were following the explanation established in The Last Stand – that the Phoenix was inside Jean as an alternate personality all along. The discrepancy is strange, too, as Simon Kinberg wrote the script for both films, as well as directing DP. 

Presumably, Kinberg simply changed his mind over how the Phoenix Force should be depicted while developing Dark PhoenixIt probably also seemed like a good idea to cut ties with the mediocre Apocalypse. However, in the long run, it turned out to be a bad move, as the reaction to the franchise’s latest effort has proven even worse.

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