‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ Has One Major Problem: Its Treatment of Women

X-Men: Dark Phoenix was the final installment in the X-Men franchise before Disney would get its Mickey Mouse paws on these characters and stories and while it was received with scathing reviews I happen to enjoy the film. But there is a problem. A problem that I find is a common theme when it comes to these superhero movies.

In Avengers: Endgame Black Widow, a character fans had grown to love over the years, was killed, ceremoniously, but killed nonetheless without given any chance to truly shine. We saw her cry, we saw her sacrifice herself, but she was never able to kick butt in any awesome action scenes and she wasn’t around during the final battle against Thanos, which only felt even more gutwrenching as the women in Marvel assembled for a powerful charge against Thanos’ forces in one of the best scenes in the entire MCU.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix treats its female characters with the same sad lack of awesomeness.

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Mystique, a character that has had a crucial role since X-Men: First Class in 2011, was killed off in the first thirty minutes of the film to add depth to the story. But why did it have to be Mystique to drive the story? Why couldn’t it have been Quicksilver to die…or maybe even Beast?

Professor X surely never expressed the sorrow that he should’ve following her death considering how much she supposedly meant to him in X-Men: Days of Future Past so it wouldn’t have mattered if Hank McCoy/Beast would’ve been the one to perish.

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And then, if you think about it, the only other major X-Men to die in the film (even though Quicksilver basically self-crashed at over a hundred miles an hour and Magneto was pierced with four pieces of the very metal from his super cool looking helmet) was Jean Grey who sacrificed herself to save humanity, blah blah blah.

And Jessica Chastain’s Vuk is a weak villain who feels super cliché even though she could’ve been much more menacing and maybe likable. She was pretty much neither.

So many movies use women as pawns for story building. A cool female character is brought into a film only to die to drive the story forward. I don’t have a problem with Mystique and Jean Grey dying in this movie but there needed to be some deaths from her fellow male X-Men as well. Maybe Cyclops could’ve found the end of the road or perhaps Magneto should’ve died when he attacked Jean Grey, no matter how cool he is. He didn’t attribute that much to the rest of the story so it wouldn’t have mattered.

In all, X-Men: Dark Phoenix is a fun superhero movie but it fails to feature a story about women in a light that feels both empowering and inspiring.

I thank you for reading and I hope you have a great day.

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