It's been nearly 20 years since the X-Men franchise began back in 2000, almost single-handedly kicking off this whole superhero blockbuster craze. Over the course of two decades, there have been a lot of X-movies — some good, some bad, all pretty weird in one way or another. X-Men: Dark Phoenix is, by all appearances, the final installment in this incarnation of the franchise, and it goes out with a sense of finality and closure. Unlike the Phoenix referred to in the film's title, it's pretty much guaranteed that none of these specific characters or storylines will be picked up in a future film. If you're hoping for a sequel to come along and elaborate on any of the dangling plot threads, you're out of luck, friend.
Fortunately, we're going to try and do what the never-coming sequel won't: figure out just what it all meant when the credits rolled. Here's a spoiler filled explanation for the ending of X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
During the final battle between Jean Grey and the evil alien played by Jessica Chastain, the villain says, "Your emotions make you weak." Jean replies, "No, my emotions make me strong." After that, she goes full Super Saiyan, flies into the sky, and blows up the bad guy, along with herself.
The moment is one of the few times Jean seems to have full control over herself, her powers, and her desires. From the moment she first appears, she's unsure of just about everything. When she's in the car with her parents as a child, she can't control her emotions, and she causes the car crash that kills her mother. Later, she asks Mystique if she's sure about the space mission's safety. Then she needs a psychic pep talk from Xavier to have the confidence necessary to keep the shuttle together as it's breaking apart. Throughout the movie, Jean's struggle with controlling or understanding her emotions hold her back and cause her to harm her friends.
And her inability to process her emotions is the driving force behind her conflict with Xavier. He put up mental blocks so she wouldn't feel the grief over being abandoned by her father. When she finally makes peace with both her father's abandonment and the fact that Xavier's mental manipulation was a bad decision made for the right reasons — out of love and protection — she's finally able to take full control of the Phoenix force and end the alien threat.
While Jean Grey seems like she's the main protagonist of the film, she's not the only character to go on a journey and grow as a person. Professor Xavier likewise has an arc that sees him change from when the film starts to when it ends. He begins the story in a place of power and certainty in his correctness — whenever he issues an order, it's the right call, no matter the cost that others have to bear. He's proud and confident, and as the film continues we learn that he's also pretty stubborn in the face of evidence that sometimes he makes the wrong call. Keep watching the video as we keep explaining the end of X Men Dark Phoenix!
The Jean Genie | 0:53 X marks the spot | 2:19 Checkmates | 3:28 Let's talk about that train | 4:50 Solve for X | 5:58
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