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X-Men: Dark Phoenix hopes to correct the mistakes of X-Men: Apocalypse

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

Compared to its predecessor, it's easy to paint X-MEN: APOCALYPSE as a disappointment. The sequel wound up making $200 million less than X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST and the reviews were some of the worst the series had received, so when it came time to craft the next installment, X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX, the filmmakers made sure to acknowledge the mistakes of APOCALYPSE in order to refocus the franchise.

While speaking with Entertainment Weekly, X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX writer/director Simon Kinberg admitted that "we took our eye off what has always been the bedrock of the franchise which is these characters," in X-MEN: APOCALYPSE. "It became about global destruction and visual effects over emotion and character," Kinberg continued. "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." Looking back on it, producer Hutch Parker added that X-MEN: APOCALYPSE just couldn't keep up the the evolving state of the superhero genre.

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.

With the successes of DEADPOOL and LOGAN, Twentieth Century Fox are likely more willing to let Simon Kinberg experiment with the formula, and despite some of the more fantastical plot-points, such as trips to outer-space, X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX has dialed things back towards a more grounded universe. Sophie Turner, who plays Jean Grey, said that the upcoming sequel 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."

X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX will hit theaters on November 2, 2018.

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