THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2 Likely To Top DARK PHOENIX At The North American Box Office This Weekend

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2 Likely To Top DARK PHOENIX At The North American Box Office This Weekend

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2 Likely To Top DARK PHOENIX At The North American Box Office This Weekend

Proving that not all superhero movies are able to rise to the top of the box office, the latest projections for Dark Phoenix's opening weekend point to it being taken down by The Secret Life of Pets 2...

Dark Phoenix is already a critical disappointment, but now it looks set to be a commercial one as well. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the movie is currently eyeing a $50 million debut at the North American box office this weekend, a record-low for the X-Men franchise. The last movie to hold that dubious honour was The Wolverine with $53.1 million. 

Dark Phoenix is also the worst-reviewed X-Men movie, and if Disney hadn't purchased Fox's assets (which means Marvel Studios will reboot the franchise), the studio would have had to take things in a drastic new direction with a different creative team, as it's clear what they've been doing hasn't worked. 

In terms of competition this weekend, Dark Phoenix will be going head to head with The Secret Life of Pets 2. The animated sequel will debut to around $60 million, so should easily take the #1 spot. 

In China, the movie is also underperforming, as it had a $12.7 million opening day which is well behind Apocalypse ($18.15 million) and Logan ($15.8 million). On the country's own version of Rotten Tomatoes, it isn't at all well-received and is not likely to end up adding a lot to its overall haul in the Middle Kingdom.

What will you guys be watching this weekend?

Hit the "View List" button for a recap of Dark Phoenix's
most frustrating unanswered questions!

Is Quicksilver Magneto's Son?

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This is something the X-Men franchise has been teasing since Days of Future Past, but if you were hoping that Dark Phoenix would provide a definitive answer, guess again. Quicksilver is taken out by Jean during the final act and is presumably left comatose for the rest of the movie as he doesn't return until the final montage in a blink and you'll miss it moment. 

The possibility of Quicksilver being Magneto's son is never addressed, and the fact that Jean so badly injured him isn't something Beast even brings up to Erik when they meet (as he presumably wouldn't care). There's also no sign of Quicksilver's younger sister, who might well have been Scarlet Witch. 
 

And Is Nightcrawler Related To Mystique?!

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Another mystery that fans have been vocal about since Nightcrawler was reintroduced is whether or not he's the son of Mystique and Azazel (who appeared in First Class before being killed off screen).

As you might expect, Kinberg also neglects to touch on that particular plot thread which is a shame, as it would have been interesting to see Kurt's reaction to his mother's death. To be honest, he's a total non-factor here as his religion and swashbuckling personality aren't included in any way. 
 

What's The Deal With The Phoenix?

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At the end of X-Men: Apocalypse, Jean Grey unleashed the full force of her powers and took out Apocalypse by becoming the Phoenix. Well, in this movie, Kinberg decided to just forget about that and start over by making this cosmic force a cloud of dust that essentially just makes Jean more powerful.

It's never referred to as the Phoenix Force, and "Phoenix" is just a name given to Jean by the kids in school after her apparent resurrection. So, what was that at the end of Apocalypse? Your guess is as good as ours, as there's no way of explaining this continuity error and it's just plain lazy writing.
 

Why Does Everyone Age So Badly?

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I know the current X-Men movies no longer have to link up to the originals thanks to the events of Days of Future Past, but it's hard to imagine this new timeline means they'll age any differently. 

Bearing in mind everyone looks the same as they did in X-Men: First Class despite it being a good thirty years later, how the hell do Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy age into Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in the space of eight years?! Perhaps Storm electrocutes them Palpatine-style?

Nah, she's too busy making ice cubes. 
 

What Happened To Jean? 

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At the end of the movie, Charles and Erik enjoy one final game of chess in Paris and as the camera pans overhead, we see the Phoenix flying through the sky. This is presumably supposed to be an indication that she survived the fiery explosion in space, but should it be taken as a sign that she's now fulfilling her purpose of bringing planets to life in the cosmos or something else?

Well, we'll never know, but this was obviously meant to leave the door open for Sophie Turner to reprise the role down the line. That certainly would have been interesting given her power set, but it's not like anyone involved with this franchise would have done the character any sort of justice based on Dark Phoenix!
 

Did The Government Just Start Trusting Mutants Again?

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Due to Jean attacking a couple of police cars, the President cuts all ties with the X-Men, sends the military after her, and decides to open internment camps for dangerous mutants. It's all a tad extreme and never very well explained, but by the time the movie ends, the X-Men are back in their school and things appear to be carrying on as normal. 

Were they just forgiven? Did the X-Men blame everyone on those weird alien invaders? 

Whatever the case may be, this was probably Kinberg's rather weak attempt to return mutants to being hated and feared after they became beloved superheroes in the past two movies as, you know, it's not like we'd seen that plot thread already played out numerous times. Perhaps he was planning on adapting "The Cure" storyline again?
 

Who Thought The "X-Women" Line Was A Good Idea?

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Captain Marvel did a great job of introducing a powerful, female superhero and while Kinberg attempts to sell Dark Phoenix as another empowering, feminist movie, it's a total sham. 

Mystique's line about the "X-Women" is incredibly forced and borderline insulting (not to sensitive men scared of female characters being given the spotlight, but actual women). Yes, Jean saves the day, but none of the female characters are treated well here. Jean is a glorified MacGuffin, Raven is killed off in short order, and Storm is basically just an extra. 

Kinberg is clearly patting himself on the back in a big way, though. 
 

Where's Wolverine?

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Kinberg says he didn't bring Wolverine back for Dark Phoenix because it would have been weird to have Hugh Jackman romantically pursuing the young Jean, but does he realise that their romance isn't something you have to include in an X-Men movie? Clearly not.

Regardless, no storyline explanation is provided for Logan's absence and that's somewhat frustrating, especially as we'll now never know how he winds up joining the X-Men in the flashforward we got at the end of Days of Future Past, a moment it seems Kinberg has conveniently decided to forget. 
 

What's Next For Professor X And Magneto?

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We mentioned the chess game at the end of the movie, and it's during that Erik offers Charles a new home. He's presumably referring to Genosha now Professor X is no longer leading the X-Men, and it's interesting to think what they might get up to together. This is, of course, a question that will never be answered, and Marvel Studios will probably want to give Magneto a very lengthy break. 

After all, he's been the focus of nearly every single X-Men movie, and while there's still a lot that could be done with the character, there are plenty of other great villains deserving of the spotlight. 
 

Why Did Magneto Only Bring Two Members Of His Brotherhood?

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The X-Men franchise has always had a bad habit of using familiar comic book characters as glorified extras and the same thing happens here. Despite ruling over an entire "country" (well, camp site) of mutants, Magneto brings only two of them with him to America and, well, they're both pretty laughable. They're also not much use against the X-Men, Jean, or the aliens.

On that note, it's also somewhat infuriating how so many mutants in this movie just look like regular humans, something which very much goes against why they're persecuted, and what makes them special. Then again, it would be a bit much to expect Kinberg to do something that isn't totally generic here, as that's the movie's running theme it seems. 
 

Was The Original Ending Any Better?

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We'll never know. 

Everything that happened on the train was a result of very expensive reshoots, and the finale was originally supposed to take place in space with fewer characters. It's been said that it was changed because they wanted to include more mutants, but there's probably more to the story.

The train sequence was overseen by the movie's 2nd Unit Director, so we have him to thank for the solid action scenes, anyway, and it's hard not to wonder whether Fox took Dark Phoenix from Kinberg because he simply wasn't capable of wrapping things up and delivering coherent action scenes. 
 

Where Would Have A Sequel Taken Us?

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Kinberg claims that Dark Phoenix was always viewed as a finale or sorts and if that's true, it's pretty shocking that this is the best he could do. Regardless, I'm sure he had some ideas for a follow-up, but beyond Jean still being alive, there's no real set up for that here.

We do see a student from behind who looks like Quentin Quire but knowing who he is would require Kinberg to actually read some comic books, and that might be asking a little too much. Oh, and no, there isn't an after-credits scene teasing what comes next.

Continue reading below for an in-depth recap of
Dark Phoenix's biggest surprises and spoilers!

Jean Grey's Origin Story

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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.
 

X-Men...In SPAAAACE!

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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

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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

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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.
 

Genosha

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!
 
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