Back in 2011, using X-Men: First Class as a prequel to explore the origins of the X-Men in the 1960s was a smart move. Then, in 2014’s Days of Future Past, it seemed like it could be quite fun to keep jumping ahead a decade each movie to give it a different flavor. However, by 2016’s Apocalypse, we realized one teeny issue with this practice: how the heck do the cast look so young? Now we’re at Dark Phoenix and the problem well and truly makes zero sense.
Dark Phoenix is set nine years after Apocalypse in 1992 – the same year the classic X-Men: The Animated Series started, trivia fans. This means that it takes place a whole 30 years after the events of First Class. Thanks to it being only less than a decade since that movie was made, however, the mutants all appear to be immortal.
For instance, FC established that Charles Xavier was born in 1930, so he’s 62 in Dark Phoenix. Apart from his lack of hair – a side-effect of Apocalypse’s attempt to take over his body in the last film – Professor X is still looking pretty good. A lot like a 40-year-old James McAvoy, in fact. The same goes for Michael Fassbender’s Magneto, who’s just two years younger than his old friend, as he was born in 1932.
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At least there’s some explanation you can apply to the discrepancy between Mystique’s appearance and age. Raven was born in 1934, meaning she’s 59 years old – a long way from Jennifer Lawrence’s 28 years of age. She is a shapeshifter, though, so it’s plausible that she would appear younger. The same goes for Nicholas Hoult’s Beast, who uses a serum to control his blue form.
To be fair, you could argue that the X-Men franchise is being incredibly comic-accurate here, as Marvel comics characters haven’t aged much since they were created in the 1960s, either. It’s just that, on the big screen, this problem becomes a lot more noticeable and also a bit frustrating.
In any case, Dark Phoenix is in cinemas now, though judging by the numbers it posted this past weekend, it looks like the franchise will be going out with a whimper rather than a bang.