DARK PHOENIX Spoilers - Breaking Down The Final X-MEN Movie's Biggest Moments And Surprises

DARK PHOENIX Spoilers - Breaking Down The Final X-MEN Movie's Biggest Moments And Surprises

Dark Phoenix arrives in theaters later tonight, but if you're at all curious about what to expect from Fox's final X-Men movie, then you need to check out this detailed breakdown of what happens...

Feature Opinion
By JoshWilding - Jun 06, 2019 02:06 AM EST
Filed Under: Dark Phoenix
Dark Phoenix is almost here, and we've watched it so, well, you don't have to! 

As you're no doubt well aware, the final X-Men movie from Fox is taking something of a drubbing from critics and there's a very good reason for that. It's not all bad, though, and while it fails as both an adaptation of "The Dark Phoenix Saga" and a finale to this franchise, there's still lots to discuss. 

In this spoiler-filled breakdown of Dark Phoenix's plot, we take a look at all the biggest moments and surprises with a detailed account of how things play out and the way the story wraps up.

We have a feeling that you'll be surprised by some of this, so  whether you're curious about what to expect or simply want to find out what happens without having to watch it, click on the "View List" button to check out this recap in full. 

Jean Grey's Origin Story


The movie kicks off with a flashback to Jean Grey's childhood and, well, the lesson here is that you should always let your child listen to what they want on the radio! Sick of her parents' taste in music, Jean inadvertently uses her newly emerged powers to change the station and is suddenly overwhelmed to the point where she knocks her mother out and causes the car to crash. 

Jean is unharmed, and then meets Charles Xavier who promptly recruits her to join his school.

Later on in the movie, the "big" twist comes when we learn that while her mother died, Jean's father is still alive. However, he told Professor X to take her away as he couldn't deal with what she'd done and this revelation (which really doesn't seem like that big of a deal) is what pushes her over the edge.



Before that happens, though, we get to see the X-Men travel into outer space. Despite the fact that Hank told Charles that the X-Jet isn't suited for that journey, it somehow still has oxygen in it for them to breathe while they attempt to rescue a number of astronauts. 

Jean holds their ship together while Nightcrawler rescues the Captain and uses her powers to redirect a huge cloud of energy (Galactus style, baby) into herself to save her teammates. She manages to survive this and is taken back to Earth where it's revealed that her power levels are off the charts. 

Despite us seeing Jean become Phoenix in X-Men: Apocalypse, this cloud is identified as a cosmic force and seemingly the actual Phoenix, which obviously makes absolutely no sense. 

The D'Bari


It's not made entirely clear whether Jessica Chastain's shapeshifting alien is part of this race, but the aliens she works with throughout the course of Dark Phoenix are identified as the D'Bari. In the comics, their planet was destroyed by the Phoenix Force during "The Dark Phoenix Saga" and they now want to make Earth their new home by unleashing that power themselves. 

As for why Chastain's unnamed character looks the way she does, it's because she lands on Earth and stumbles across a woman hosting a party whose identity she then decides to randomly adopt.

Mystique's Death


Mystique expresses her frustrations with Charles for embracing the fame that's come with leading the X-Men (they're now celebrated by the public and he has a direct line with the President) and wants to leave the team alongside Beast after discovering the way he lied to Jean. 

However, with Jean losing control and setting off to find the father she thought was dead, the X-Men confront her at her family home. As Raven tries to talk her down, Charles uses his powers to stop Beast from hitting Jean with a tranquilliser and when she once again loses control, the shape-shifting mutant winds up being impaled on a fence. What a way to go! 

Anyway, she then dies in Beast's arms, and he's understandably furious with the Professor.



Magneto's new home is never referred to by name but it's clearly meant to be Genosha, as it's an island given to the mutants by the government. However, it ends up just being a field with a couple of huts and is hardly the impressive utopia from the comic books.

Jean visits Erik, causes a stir with the military, and is then told to leave. 

Later, Beast arrives and tells Magneto that Jean is responsible for killing Raven, something that leads to an unexpected team-up between them as they agree to take her down once and for all. 

The Alien's Plan


Alien (what else are we going to call her?) tracks down Jean and manages to explain what she hopes to use the mutant's newfound powers for. The villain was pursuing the Phoenix Force - which is never referred to as such - throughout the cosmos in the hope of using it to reignite the planet it destroyed, and she explains to Jean that she can now do that...she just has to kill all of her friends. 

That really doesn't make much sense, but nothing about this character does to be perfectly honest!

Battle In New York


The X-Men learn that Magneto's Brotherhood (well, him, Beast, and two random mutants with a handful of lines between them) is heading to New York to kill Jean and what follows is a surprisingly cool battle between the characters. Sadly, none of them are in costume and that's bound to disappoint fans. 

Charles ultimately manages to get a face to face with Jean, but only after she comically uses her powers to make him "walk" up the stairs in the building she's staying in. Seconds before she kills him, he manages to remind her of the conversation they had years before and that's when Alien suggests she transfer the Phoenix into her. 

This process will kill Jean, though, and when Charles realises that the villain simply wants to wipe out all life on Earth to make it her own, he manages to get Cyclops to stop her. Unfortunately, all of the team is then captured by the government and put on a train to a mutant internment camp. 

An Epic Final Battle


The aliens attack the train and what follows is an awesome, action-packed battle between them and the X-Men. Highlights include Nightcrawler teleporting one of them in front of the moving train, Magneto using dozens of guns against Alien, and Cyclops finally being something of a badass. 

Ultimately, it comes down to just Alien and Jean and the train then derails for the final confrontation between these two as the X-Woman uses her powers to turn the attacking bad guys to ash. 

Jean Vs. Alien


Alien once again tries to take the Phoenix Force from Jean, but fails horribly and is flown into space by the hero where they both vanish in a fiery explosion. There's no tearful goodbye with Scott but she does nod at Charles before leaving and, well, that's it. 

The shape of the Phoenix is left in the aftermath, but it's the shot we saw in that trailer where it transitioned into the title so it doesn't have a particularly lasting impact as it's already been shown.

The Closing Montage


Dark Phoenix immediately jumps into a closing montage where we see Scott Summers rename the the school after Jean Grey, Quicksilver is hanging around after presumably being left comatose after that early battle with the Phoenix, and Beast is now the headmaster with an almost comical looking promotional photo of Mystique on his desk. 

Charles, meanwhile, has retired and is now living in Paris, France and looking rather miserable. 

It's then that Magneto appears and offers him a new home and a game of chess. Charles seemingly accepts and as the camera pans up to the sky, we see the Phoenix flying overhead. Jean lives!

Continue reading below for a recap of how
every X-Men movie compares on Rotten Tomatoes!

X-Men (2000)


Critics Score: 81%
Audience Score: 83%
Certified Fresh? Yes
Critics Consensus: Faithful to the comics and filled with action, X-Men brings a crowded slate of classic Marvel characters to the screen with a talented ensemble cast and surprisingly sharp narrative focus.

X-2: X-Men United (2003)


Critics Score: 85%
Audience Score: 85%
Certified Fresh? Yes
Critics Consensus: Tightly scripted, solidly acted, and impressively ambitious, X2: X-Men United is bigger and better than its predecessor -- and a benchmark for comic sequels in general.

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)


Critics Score: 58%
Audience Score: 61%
Certified Fresh? No
Critics Consensus: X-Men: The Last Stand provides plenty of mutant action for fans of the franchise, even if it does so at the expense of its predecessors' deeper character moments.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)


Critics Score: 37%
Audience Score: 58%
Certified Fresh? No
Critics Consensus: Though Hugh Jackman gives his all, he can't help X-Men Origins: Wolverine overcome a cliche-ridden script and familiar narrative.

X-Men: First Class (2011)


Critics Score: 86%
Audience Score: 87%
Certified Fresh? Yes
Critics Consensus: With a strong script, stylish direction, and powerful performances from its well-rounded cast, X-Men: First Class is a welcome return to form for the franchise.

The Wolverine (2013)


Critics Score: 71%
Audience Score: 69%
Certified Fresh? No
Critics Consensus: Although its final act succumbs to the usual cartoonish antics, The Wolverine is one superhero movie that manages to stay true to the comics while keeping casual viewers entertained.

X-Men: Days Of Future Past (2014)


Critics Score: 90%
Audience Score: 91%
Certified Fresh? Yes
Critics Consensus: X-Men: Days of Future Past combines the best elements of the series to produce a satisfyingly fast-paced outing that ranks among the franchise's finest installments.

Deadpool (2016)


Critics Score: 84%
Audience Score: 90%
Certified Fresh? Yes
Critics Consensus: Fast, funny, and gleefully profane, the fourth-wall-busting Deadpool subverts superhero film formula with wildly entertaining -- and decidedly non-family-friendly -- results.

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)


Critics Score: 47%
Audience Score: 65%
Certified Fresh? No
Critics Consensus: Overloaded action and a cliched villain take the focus away from otherwise strong performers and resonant themes, making X-Men: Apocalypse a middling chapter of the venerable superhero franchise.

Logan (2017)


Critics Score: 93%
Audience Score: 90%
Certified Fresh? Yes
Critics Consensus: Hugh Jackman makes the most of his final outing as Wolverine with a gritty, nuanced performance in a violent but surprisingly thoughtful superhero action film that defies genre conventions.

Deadpool 2 (2018)


Critics Score: 83%
Audience Score: 85%
Certified Fresh? Yes
Critics Consensus: Though it threatens to buckle under the weight of its meta gags, Deadpool 2 is a gory, gleeful lampoon of the superhero genre buoyed by Ryan Reynolds' undeniable charm.

Once Upon A Deadpool (2018)


Critics Score: 51%
Audience Score: 50%
Certified Fresh? No
Critics Consensus: Once Upon a Deadpool retains enough of the franchise's anarchic spirit to entertain, but doesn't add enough to Deadpool 2 to justify its own existence.

Dark Phoenix (2019)


Critics Score: 17%
Audience Score: TBA
Certified Fresh? N/A
Critics Consensus: Dark Phoenix ends an era of the X-Men franchise by taking a second stab at adapting a classic comics arc -- with deeply disappointing results.

How They Stack Up


13. Dark Phoenix
12. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
11. X-Men: Apocalypse
10. Once Upon A Deadpool
9. X-Men: The Last Stand
8. The Wolverine
7. X-Men
6. Deadpool 2
5. Deadpool
4. X2: X-Men United
3. X-Men: First Class
2. X-Men: Days of Future Past
1. Logan
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Spock0Clock - 6/6/2019, 2:47 AM
"I wanted to make a movie about Jean's journey, so I had her do random things, ask herself "why did I do that", and then spent the next hour of the movie on Professor X and Magneto arguing about how to deal with her. But none of that matters because aliens."

- Simon Kinberg from interview with Definitely a Real Quote Magazine
RageDriver2401 - 6/6/2019, 3:19 AM
I haven't watched the movie yet I'm reading this article. That's how little I care about this franchise now.

Btw, Josh sounds like a person who makes a ton of dad jokes.

SlowHands - 6/6/2019, 3:24 AM
@RageDriver2401 - Lol. Josh has grown on me
SKetCH - 6/6/2019, 3:23 AM


DwightKGroot - 6/6/2019, 3:23 AM
Josh, do critics (you included) get paid to watch movies and review it? I mean from the publisher of the review not the producers.
bkmeijer2 - 6/6/2019, 3:23 AM
Isnt Jessica Chastaliens' name not Smith? Anyway, this movie sounds like it's all over the place. In a not so good manner
Spock0Clock - 6/6/2019, 3:47 AM
@MalseMarcel - IMDb still lists her as "Vuk". The human whose form gets copied is named "Margaret". There's a scene where she's sort of impersonating law enforcement, so it's possible that she was referred to as "Smith" in that context (if not in the movie itself, then maybe material that was cut).

Whatever the details, she's probably the least interesting villain in any comic book movie ever made.
DeadWade213 - 6/6/2019, 3:49 AM
@Spock0Clock - Worse than Enchantress?
Spock0Clock - 6/6/2019, 4:04 AM
@DeadWade213 - Oh, unquestionably way worse than Enchantress. Enchantress had a slick transformation scene, some creepy moments here and there, the weird army of mud dudes. Not all of it was great, but it was at least a little weird and quirky.

The aliens in Dark Phoenix are basically just a handful of random stunt people dressed as accountants and paralegals, with Chastain as an overbearing Women's Studies community college professor (or maybe more accurately, an unflattering stereotype of said professor).
Spock0Clock - 6/6/2019, 4:07 AM
@KingCipher - Yeah, it's available wink wink at your local wink wink "theater" if you know where to look.
Scarilian - 6/6/2019, 6:13 AM
@MalseMarcel -
Originally the movie was meant to feature the X-Men being treated as celebs/'Avengers' with Genosha being an island gifted to Magneto for doing a good job in 'Apocalypse' despite none of this making sense.

Jessica's character was going to be the Skrull leader 'Veranke' - with the idea that she is manipulating Jean into destroying the X-Men while she infiltrates the White House. The final battle would have been split between the White House and the Skrull invasion force in space. Jean would have flown up and exploded herself and the invading forces while Jessica's character would have, in the chaos, succesfully infiltrated a position of power. The army would have arrived forcing the mutants to flee as Jessica's character (disguised as the president) would have ordered that all mutants be exterminated.

The X-Men would have ended the movie on the run with Jessica's character as the president of the US and a secondary invasion force set to arrive - setting up a sequel. An invasion of Genosha was planned for a sequel but other than that nothing else was really thought of.
RageDriver2401 - 6/6/2019, 3:28 AM
When someone asks me if I'll watch Dark Phoenix:
Kurne - 6/6/2019, 3:28 AM
Apparently the aliens just look like ayy lmaos.
Kumkani - 6/6/2019, 4:25 AM
@Kurne - You've got to be kidding me
Spock0Clock - 6/6/2019, 4:29 AM
@Kurne - I was not familiar with that term, but after googling, yes. Very much that.
Kumkani - 6/6/2019, 4:32 AM
@Spock0Clock - Wait, seriously?

youknowmyname - 6/6/2019, 3:44 AM

Saw it yesterday and I have to say...it really wasn't all that bad. Setting aside the seriously underdeveloped villains and the fact that Fox, once again, seemed uninterested in truly embracing the source material (especially after DOFP knocked it out of the park, in my opinion) I thought there was a lot to like.

Fassbender, McAvoy and Hoult were fantastic and carried the film once again, I've never been a fan of JLaw's Mystique so her death was a huge plus, considering it led to one of the best scenes in the movie between Xavier and Beast. I thought Cyclops finally got some of the due he's deserved for so long on screen ("Touch her and I'll f**king kill you!") even if the relationship between he and Jean becomes more of an afterthought in the third act. The action sequences are excellent and the Mutant Containment Unit (MCU) coming to collar the X-Men and take them away was, if deliberate, a surreal touch that I enjoyed. Turner does the best she can but doesn't really get a lot to do past looking angry, confused and scared which leads me to believe that there was a lot left on the cutting room floor, which is a shame.

It's not perfect, and a huge part of me wishes a filmmaker with more ambition were put in the directors chair but it's certainly not the disaster people are saying it is and whilst nowhere near the quality of past films as DOFP, Logan and some of the others it definitely doesn't (for me) come close to the steaming piles of cinematic excrement that were The Last Stand and Origins.
BeyondtheFuture - 6/6/2019, 3:49 AM
On some level I like all the X-men movies, I think the cast always make them worth watching. I'm sure I'll like this one but I just can't bring myself to go see it.
Chewtoy - 6/6/2019, 4:01 AM
So “Logan” gives Charles the legacy of having inadvertently massacred his own team, falling into dementia, and mutant births ultimately being eradicated by the government. This ends the X-men saga with him giving up his school having apparently made a host of bad decisions, living miserably in exile in France.

Spock0Clock - 6/6/2019, 4:05 AM
@Chewtoy - Basically the only thing I liked about this movie is that it does own up to Charles being a major [frick]-up. But even that they ruin by having him and Erik playing good-chum-tiddlywinks.
Kumkani - 6/6/2019, 4:16 AM
So the aim was to make a mediocre movie it seems, because none of that sounds properly written or compellingly developed (and I bet aside from the same three actors it wasn't well acted too). It had to have been done on purpose, right?

So far what I'm hearing is that the only good things about this movie are some of the action scenes.
Spock0Clock - 6/6/2019, 4:24 AM
@DnA - (I'm going full spoilers here, because the article has the red text and this movie just doesn't have a lot going for it plot-wise.)

Kinberg (and/or the second unit who may have done the entire train scene) is definitely better at action than Bryan Singer ever was, but even then it's pretty hit and miss. This isn't Russos/Civil War stuff. More like Arrow on a good day. And as for characterization in the action... I was pained. "Nightcrawler berserker rage" is not something I ever needed or wanted to see. Yet, here we are.
Kumkani - 6/6/2019, 4:27 AM
@Spock0Clock - A lot of us do forget about characterisation in action, which is just as important as choreography, directing and editing. That doesn't sound good at all.
GhostDog - 6/6/2019, 4:24 AM
"The villain was pursuing the Phoenix Force - which is never referred to as such - throughout the cosmos in the hope of using it to reignite the planet it destroyed, and she explains to Jean that she can now do that...she just has to kill all of her friends."

I mean damn. Even Malekith had clearer motivations.

DoubleD - 6/6/2019, 4:37 AM
Dumb thoughts of the day.

1) Since X-Men movies all take place in the past. There is no way they could fit in with todays current Avenger's.

2) Avengers Engame jumps 5 year into the future does that mean Spiderman and future Marvel movies are all taking place in 2024 ?
KWilly - 6/6/2019, 4:39 AM
@DoubleD - 1) Who cares? XMen is getting a reboot anyway.

2) Yes

DoubleD - 6/6/2019, 4:43 AM
@KWilly - That's why it starts off "Dumb thoughts"
Chewtoy - 6/6/2019, 4:52 AM
@DoubleD - 5 years into the future from the end of Infinity War. I never paid attention to that “official” MCU timeline because it just seems like an unnecessary detail to pin down, but if we’re going by when that film came out than 5 years would be 2023.

Either way, the MCU has diverged enough from the history of reality at this point that a few years difference doesn’t matter. Society was probably set back at least 5 years or more from the massive upheavals they’ve gone through.

As for the X-men stuff, I’m glad it’s not compatible. However, getting Magneto’s history to include the Holocaust is becoming more and more problematic if they want to use him in the present day.
Mclane - 6/6/2019, 4:48 AM
Slightly confused, "Charles has a face to face with Jean" followed by "mo,emnts before killing him Charles reminds Jean"

And then Charles is alive and living in France..

Someones story relaying skills are bollox...
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