Riding The Adaptation Rollercoaster: Why I’m Excited For X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX
We’re in the entertainment industry, we deal with adaptations regularly. From West Side Story, to Masters of the Universe, to DC, to Marvel, we’ve seen them all. They’re all around us, and some adaptations are appreciated, and others not so much. Opinions definitely differ on some, and I’ve definitely had some differing opinions on some adaptations (Daredevil TV Show versus Movie). Adaptations are a tricky things, and success can vary from director to director, or author to director. An adaptation can be a straight “repeat” from the source material, like Pride and Prejudice (1995), or it can just pull the characters and setting like Riverdale. What’s awesome is the fact that we can all find something we love in the vast universe of adaptation.
I will admit I’m guilty of going overboard on hating some adaptations and I could do better at keeping an open mind. But really, we all could do a little better at that. Unfortunately, negative opinions are often heard the loudest, so even with glowing reviews, negativity can follow a TV show or a movie. Focusing on the positives in anything I talk about is something I plan to do moving forward in the future, and I hope others can come to the same conclusion.
Which brings me to the latest in adaptations, X-Men: Dark Phoenix; well not the latest, but the latest controversial one. The second adaptation of the Dark Phoenix saga from the X-Men comics in the past decade and a half, following 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand has suffered greatly over the past year. Originally scheduled for release in November 2018, the film was delayed until February 2019 due to extra reshoots being needed. Dark Phoenix was then pushed back again, to June 2019 in order to hit China better. Its issues behind the scenes of production, and the buyout of Fox by Disney have not helped any matters. Its trailers have been an issue for some, but I have actually enjoyed them.
The second trailer explores both sides of Jean Grey, Phoenix and Jean. We see bits and pieces of the emotional conflict within her, and the fire inside her team to try and keep Jean Grey from killing anyone and everyone around her. It’s a good trailer, but for most people the emotional stakes just aren’t there. We’ve seen Sophie Turner as Jean Grey once before, in X-Men: Apocalypse, and the post X-Men: Days of Future Past Phoenix is definitely different from the one in the original adaptations by Fox in the 2000s. I actually like Turner’s take better than I liked Famke Jannsen’s take. But here’s where the main difference I have compared with ones who disliked the trailer.
I’ve never read a comic book. So I consider myself a comic book movie and TV show fan, but I’ve never seen the original source material. I will fix this eventually, but my first exposure to these characters was very different compared to others. I don’t particularly enjoy withdrawn, emotionless characters and that’s what I found Jean Grey to be in the first X-Men movies. To me, the recent X-Men movies are filled more with emotion and the characters involved, I can bond with much better. I understand their goals and the stakes involved. Could I have used more time with each character, yes. But the positives involved far outweigh my downsides to the trailer and other promotional material involved.
To sway you on X-Men: Dark Phoenix was never my goal. Opinions are like buttholes, everyone has one and they never go away. What I hope you’ll take away is to focus on the good in everything, and that includes storylines that never had to be done *coughSolo: A Star Wars Storycough*. That movie had awesome moments with Chewie and Han, and the Kessel Run scene is still one of my favorite scenes in Star Wars movies. Riverdale doesn’t look anything like its source material, but you know what? It’s a guilty pleasure show that I love binging because it’s just good. Doesn’t mean I have to be happy with its lack of focus on the source material as a whole.
Adaptation means the item has been adjusted to fit the requirements, and the requirements vary based on the audience type. There is no one size fits all in anything and I hope people remember that. The world in general could just use a little more positivity.