The Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy Review: Third Time’s The Charm

The Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy is making a souped-up return to form on consoles everywhere. Now’s the perfect time to get busy in court!

As the name suggests, the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy is a bundle of three games in Capcom’s long-standing franchise about being a lawyer who enthusiastically disagrees with everyone all the time. If you weren’t able to deduce that at first glance, then you might just want to forgo these titles completely.

Much like being a practicing lawyer, the Phoenix Wright games involve little to no guesswork or intuitive leaps that can’t be explained. This trilogy is firmly grounded in detective work, courtroom etiquette, and a hardcore puzzle background. The piece de resistance, however, is the wacky and wild veneer that it wears with aplomb.

Related: It’s Time To Start Trusting Capcom Again

The Ace Attorney trilogy is a collection of the first three mainline games in the expansive series: the original Ace Attorney, the divisive Justice For All, and Trials and Tribulations. The titles have been given a visual overhaul which gives them a very current feel in terms of the quality of the graphics. While there are a number of other Phoenix Wright games out there which may be well more known now after enjoying some popularity on consoles like the 3DS, this bundle is definitely the last word when it comes to content and getting the most well-rounded experience.

The games play out very much like the cross-section of a point and click adventure game and a visual novel. Add one part anime tropes, and shake well to mix. This is potentially most noticeable in Trials and Tribulations, which is as mechanically polished and coherent as any finale should be. The central conceit in basically any Phoenix Wright game is simple: you’re the namesake lawyer, and your job is to MacGyver your way out of some of the world’s most absurd legal situations.

Forget what you know about the law from watching Suits or any other dramatization where court appears to be about two, wildly attractive opponents exchanging clever words in measured voices. Phoenix Wright is chaos, and you have to embrace it if you really want to enjoy it.

Ever wanted to solve a case that went from identity theft to blackmail to multiple homicides all in the space of one day in court? Ever thought to yourself, “Gee, NCIS would be so much more interesting if someone on the force was a spirit medium”? The Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy has answers to both the above and more. It’s hard to top a murder case as your cold open, but if there’s one thing that these Capcom titles are good at doing it’s an admirable job at trying to consistently up the ante.

One should note that making sense of Phoenix Wright’s overarching narrative is difficult when it spans multiple games in the trilogy and most of it is garnered through interacting with these elaborate cases that have dramatic twists. Each title is split up into a number of seemingly unconnected cases that lead up to a shocking climax and a reveal that links them all. Given that the subject matter and the crimes are often vastly disparate, it doesn’t take a scientist to figure out that getting to the end of what a Phoenix Wright game is trying to tell you often involves a major suspension of belief.

Luckily, you’ll likely find yourself too wrapped up in the brightly-colored minutiae of the courtroom experience to actually wonder whether or not solving a case about a masked jester actually advances Phoenix Wright’s personal plotline in any way. After each game’s tutorial, you’re left largely to your own devices as case after bizarre case gets thrown your way. There’s a familiar pattern to the proceedings in each of the episodes making up their own segment of the game: you investigate, proceed to trial, and get thrown a curveball, and repeat till your client’s found Not Guilty.

An investigation is a mix of talking to suspects, key figures, and collecting evidence from a crime scene. Note: none of these are things that you do as a practicing lawyer. You’ll have the chance to tighten the screws on people from Justice For All onwards which introduces an interrogatory system known as Psyche-Locks, allowing you to target the core of what someone may be hiding from you before you head to court. However, once you’re in front of the judge, some of the more recognizable Phoenix Wright clichés come into play.

If you’ve been on the internet in the last decade, you’re probably familiar with Phoenix Wright’s famous pose – one arm extended, finger pointed at someone invisible rival, and “Objection” emblazoned across the screen. You’re going to see this sight a hell of a lot in across these three games, whether it’s coming from the player or from the prosecution, so you better get used to it. The courtroom procedure can be boiled down to two distinct parts: cross-examining, and presenting evidence. No points for guessing which of the two involves a healthy degree of objecting.

As mentioned above, the court system used in Phoenix Wright is a beast of what seems to be America (based on the game’s bastardized fantasy location) and Japan’s various formalities with a hearty helping of irreverence. No matter how inaccurate, the back and forth in the courtroom is frankly electrifying even though it’s punctuated by long swathes of the player pouring over the mountain of evidence at hand and wondering how best to nail the true culprit.

You’ll get the opportunity for said nailing during the cross-examination phase: after the game’s given you a pass at a person’s monologue, allowing you to formulate some initial thoughts about guilt and about what their weak points might be. As they deliver their testimony again, you can either choose to press them for further detail or to object heartily.

Be warned, though. More often than not, you’ll be asked to back up your misgivings with some evidence and failing to do so will dock you points with the judge. Lose enough of these, evidenced by a health bar at the top of the screen, and you’re cooked. Being kicked back an hour or so because of a courtroom fumble can be frustrating, so it’s good that the PS4 version allows you to save pretty much at any point in the game; solving the latest murder puzzle is only a reload away.

Surviving in this courtroom about being attentive, alert, and quick to trust your gut when you smell a rat. Sure, you may have your fair share of misfires early on, but that’s also part of the charm of Phoenix Wright – it examines so many fallible characters through a humorous and humanistic lens and treats your own failings the same way, which stops you from being discouraged.

That being said, it can be exceedingly hard to keep track of what you’ve presented and what the various stories are, especially when characters make repeated appearances across episodes and the complexity of information becomes incredibly daunting in each game’s final case. It can be hard to follow for even veterans, so don’t be ashamed if you find yourself resorting to a guide – there’s no right way to play this game, so long as the culprit is caught.

All in all, it’s really in the way that the sum of all of Phoenix Wright’s parts comes together for a campy, thrilling time. The individual mechanics are serviceable enough on their own, but it’s within the wider tapestry of the zany plot, the off-the-wall characters, and the way that the game turns everything you know about cases you’re just about to close on its head which keep things fresh in a franchise that’s about two decades old. Those who have been Ace Attorney fans won’t regret picking this up again, and if you’re a virgin to the series then this is one of the best introductions you’re ever going to get.

Next: 10 Best Video Game Movies Of All Time

The Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy is out now on PC, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4. Screen Rant was provided with a PlayStation 4 code for the purposes of this review.

2019-04-22 02:04:03

Ginny Woo

How Dark Phoenix’s Marketing Has Changed Since The Disney Deal

The new trailer for X-Men: Dark Phoenix may look on the surface to be just the latest part of the marketing push for the much-belated mutant outing, but it’s, in fact, the first involvement of Disney in the franchise. Dark Phoenix was originally supposed to release in November 2018 before being pushed back to February 2019 and eventually this coming June, a series of delays that mean its marketing campaign has been in full swing for seventeen months.

Much has been made about how this will be the last main-series Fox X-Men movie. Now that Disney has bought Fox 2000 and all its assets, the rights to these characters are under Marvel Studios’ remit, with plans to eventually reboot the mutants in the MCU. But before that happens, the Mouse House needs to release the movies that are in the can: both Dark Phoenix and New Mutants will technically be Disney releases.

Read More: Every Fox Movie Disney Is Still Going To Release

Dark Phoenix‘s new trailer would appear to be the first under the eye of Walt Disney Studios. The movie was already part of Disney’s presentation at CinemaCon earlier this month, but now it’s going wide. Indeed, President of Marketing Asad Ayaz has been hyping up the drop since yesterday on his Twitter:

As first pointed out by Trailer Track‘s Anton Volkov, the new synopsis includes the phrase “It is the culmination of 20 years of X-Men movies“, a turn of phrase Marvel fans will be all too familiar with from the marketing for both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. This ending angle was never pushed by Fox (of course, they couldn’t acknowledge the imminent changeover) but now brings the X-Men and MCU, if only by marketing spiel, in line.

The resulting trailer is also interesting. The most striking and evocative tease for Dark Phoenix yet, its careful presentation of story beats alongside core character conflict is different to the vaguer and moodier drive of previous trailers – and much more in-keeping with Disney’s house style (except on the more heavily-secretive Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame). It’s unknown who edited the trailer and whether it was commissioned before or after the Disney purchase of Fox was finalized, but it definitely has hints of a shift towards more standard Marvel marketing.

What the new Dark Phoenix trailer really shows, though, is how forward the release will be. It had been speculated since the Fox deal was first mooted that the remaining X-Men films would be released on streaming services – likely Hulu – but the eventual truth is the exact opposite, with the push behind at least the prime X-Men film comparable to any other summer release. The question now falls to whether New Mutants will get similar attention.

Next: Everything Dark Phoenix Has Copied From X-Men: The Last Stand

2019-04-17 10:04:20

Alex Leadbeater

Dark Phoenix Final Trailer Reveals How Jean Gets The Phoenix Name

A brand new trailer for Dark Phoenix teases the conclusion of 20th Century Fox’s X-Men franchise and Jean Grey’s (Sophie Turner) newfound power. After a decade of X-Men movies that produced various results, Fox decided to bring back the franchise with a soft reboot in X-Men: First Class that re-introduced younger versions of heroes audiences had already met. New versions of Professor X (James McAvoy), Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Beast (Nicholas Hoult), and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) became the center of the story, but then X-Men: Apocalypse introduced another batch of young and familiar X-Men.

Apocalypse featured the debut of Turner as Jean Grey, as well as Tye Sheridan as Cyclops, Alexandra Shipp as Storm, and Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler. They were positioned as the future of the X-Men franchise, with Dark Phoenix set to be the beginning of their story. However, once the Disney-Fox deal became a possibility, the narrative around Dark Phoenix turned from a new trilogy starter to the conclusion of the entire Fox era of the X-Men. With two trailers already released that teased the Jean-centric story, a new trailer has arrived to further flesh out her journey.

Related: What Is The Phoenix Force? The X-Men Villain Explained

Twentieth Century Fox debuted the third and final trailer for Dark Phoenix this morning, which continues to keep the focus on Jean Grey. A portion of the trailer is dedicated to showing exactly how Jean gets the power of the Phoenix Force and how she is changing thanks to it, while also mixing in plenty of action. Check out the full trailer below:

Previous trailers and marketing materials had confirmed that Jean encounters the Phoenix Force during an early space mission, but now we actually get to see most of it in action. Nightcrawler is using his powers to teleport back and forth between the X-Jet and the damaged space shuttle, but he doesn’t appear to get Jean before the Phoenix Force engulfs her. But, as Jessica Chastain’s mysterious character points out later in this trailer, Jean is the only thing or person to ever survive an encounter with it. From there, the trailer highlights how Jean struggles with these powers before appearing to embrace the darkness within her.

As a whole, this new Dark Phoenix trailer does a solid job of establishing Jean as the focal point in the film and giving viewers a decent understanding of the plot. This trailer does mostly showcase the elements of Dark Phoenix that are different than the Dark Phoenix Saga adaptation Fox previously attempted with X-Men: The Last Stand, but one major concern here is still the lack of investment with the young cast. Audiences have not been given the chance to properly connect to or grow with Jean and her fellow young X-Men, so it will be up to Dark Phoenix to make audiences care about their conflict. Then again, maybe that’s why Mystique and the other older characters are still involved. We’ll have to just wait and see how it plays out this summer.

MORE: Everything Dark Phoenix Has Copied From X-Men: The Last Stand

Source: 20th Century Fox

2019-04-17 07:04:32

Cooper Hood

Joker Theory: Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker Creates Batman

Joaquin Phoenix’s version of the Clown Prince of Crime in Joker could be responsible for turning Bruce Wayne into Batman in his universe. While Warner Bros. is still working on growing a cinematic universe of DC characters, they are also not going to be completely beholden to making all of their movies connect. This is especially true when a potentially great standalone film comes along. It’s still early in the process, but many have faith that Joker could be just that.

After initial skepticism about a Joker origin movie passed, the trailer for the Todd Phillips directed film showed just how this could work. There’s no connections to a larger universe or superheroes, as Joker looks to be a character driven piece about a man loosing his sanity. That all said, the movie will not be completely devoid of any connections to DC comics. Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen) is set to play a major role, and a young Bruce Wayne appeared to be shown in the footage too.

Related: Why Joaquin Phoenix Is The Creepiest Joker

In the latest Screen Rant video, we lay out our theory that Joaquin Phoenix’s version of Joker may be the one who’s responsible for Batman’s origin. The theory would see Joker take several cues from Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman and Jack Nicholson’s version of Joker, but this film could make the connection between them even deeper. Check out the video featured at the top of this post for all the details.

Since previous versions of Joker have been responsible for the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne, it would be surprising if Joker didn’t try to change up the mythology in some way. It has this ability thanks to being an Elseworlds-style film – standalone and not tied to any other films – and there have been theories for the last several months that a deeper connection between Joker and Batman will be made. Our theory leans into this, which would see Arthur Fleck (Joker’s real name for the movie) be the half-brother of Bruce Wayne thanks to Thomas having an affair with Mrs. Fleck.

But if this isn’t the case, then Joker could still subvert expectations with the setup that could be done for the future of this Elseworlds universe. Even though we may never actually see a sequel to Joker or another film set in the same continuity, it’s possible that Phoenix’s “Joker” will not even be the version of the villain that this universe’s version of Batman would fight. He amasses some form of a following based on all the clown masks featured in the film, so another version of Joker could be created in the future and take inspiration from Fleck. This latter option is far less likely to happen since a sequel or flash forward would be needed, but clearly Joker has several avenues to surprise fans with a new take on the Joker-Batman relationship.

MORE: Dark Theories About Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker

2019-04-16 09:04:13

Cooper Hood

Why Joaquin Phoenix Is The Creepiest Joker

Fans are already loving Joaquin Phoenix’s version of the Clown Prince of Crime in Joker, and he may just be the creepiest iteration ever. DC’s iconic villain has had many interpretations in media over the last several decades. Through movies and TV – both live-action and animation – there’s already been some great takes on the character. But, none of them have ever received the starring role that Phoenix will.

The three time Oscar-nominee is set to star in Joker, a solo origin story set outside of Warner Bros. and DC Films’ shared universe. Todd Phillips is directing the movie and the studios just recently unveiled the first look at the movie through a teaser trailer. The tone and character study approach made it clear that Joker is not most comic book movies, with Phoenix’s performance already impressing many.

Related: Joker Trailer Breakdown – Every Reveal

After just a single trailer and not even three minutes of footage, there are some who get the feeling that Phoenix’s version of Joker could be the best one yet – but is he the creepiest too? Screen Rant tackles this topic in our latest video, which compares what we’ve seen about Phoenix’s take to Jokers of the past. With his creepy clown makeup, laugh, smile, lingering, and possible backstory, he may just be the creepiest version to date. Check out the full comparison in the video at the top of this post.

Phoenix does have some stiff competition to claim the title of the best Joker ever seen on screen, but his creepiness is what currently sets him apart. Caeser Ramero’s version from the ’60s is inherently campy, while Jack Nicholson’s from Batman is a good mix of goofy and madness. Mark Hamill’s voice performance in a variety of animated shows and movies is highly regarded, and Cameron Monaghan has impressed Gotham viewers with his own spin on the character. Jared Leto’s take from Suicide Squad divided audiences, but it is Heath Ledger’s from The Dark Knight that was an award winning turn and still considered the best to date by many.

That all said, it is still a bit premature to definitively call Phoenix’s version of Joker the creepiest one, much less the best. There has been less than three minutes of footage from his performance released so far, and his performance could play completely different during the actual movie. Thankfully, there are only a few months left before Joker hits theaters and we get to see exactly how good and creepy Phoenix’s Joker actually is.

More: Dark Theories About Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker

2019-04-12 06:04:03

Cooper Hood

Jean Threatens Magneto In New Dark Phoenix TV Spot

A new Dark Phoenix TV spot shows Jean Grey threatening Magneto. In the upcoming X-Men franchise film, Game of Thrones actress Sophie Turner stars as the conflicted title character Jean aka Phoenix, while Michael Fassbender reprises his role as Erik Lehnsherr aka Magneto. Dark Phoenix represents the 12th cinematic installment of the X-Men franchise.

Dark Phoenix will be a direct sequel to X-Men: Apocalypse. Earlier this year, it was reported that Fox marketing executives believe Disney’s acquisition of Fox’s movie and film assets is hurting Dark Phoenix. The film marks the directorial debut of Simon Kinberg, who previously produced several of the franchise films. Narratively, Dark Phoenix fulfills a promise that was teased at the end of X-Men: Apocalypse. Turner was officially confirmed for the role in February 2017. 

Related: X-Men Producer: Dark Phoenix Is a Hitchcock-esque Psychological Thriller

On Twitter, X-Men Movies released a new promo for Dark Phoenix. The 30-second clip begins with Fassbender’s Magneto asking Turner’s Jean to “start at the beginning.” From there, Jean explains the overwhelming feeling that is the Phoenix Force, and that she’s scared by the experience. Most importantly for the Dark Phoenix narrative, Jean also notes that “it feels good.” Unsurprisingly, the male characters feel threatened by Jean embracing her power, and Magneto declaratively states that “the girl dies.” In response, Jean questions Magneto about his intentions and ponders if she’s being threatened, with her vocal tone being a threat in itself. The Dark Phoenix promo ends with Jean smiling ominously, and sending Magneto tumbling backwards through a window. X-Men Movies captions the video posting with “On June 7, a Phoenix will rise,” followed by a fire emoji. Watch the Dark Phoenix clip below. 

For the aforementioned Turner, Dark Phoenix’s impending release marks a pivotal moment in her feature film career. For the past decade, she’s starred as Sansa Stark on HBO’s Game of Thrones, and portrays a character who experiences one of the series’ most crucial transformations, evolving from a naive girl into a viable leader. Next Sunday, Game of Thrones season 8 begins, and will ultimately conclude on May 19, just weeks before Dark Phoenix’s June 7 release. Turner will soon appear in Matthew Coppola’s drama thriller Broken Soldier, along with the drama Heavy. Last month, Turner stated that she didn’t have a pleasant experience working with director Bryan Singer on the set of her franchise debut in X-Men: Apocalypse. 

In a matter of weeks, Turner could very well be the most popular actress in both film and television, at least for an indefinite amount of time. In 2016, X-Men: Apocalypse hauled in over $543 million at the box office, and the inclusion of Jessica Chastain’s villain character in Dark Phoenix suggests another fascinating cinematic experience for franchise fans. And if Turner’s Game of Thrones character survives the series’ final episodes, and reaches the Iron Throne, then Dark Phoenix will have a significant amount of cultural hype for its late spring theatrical release. 

More: Dark Phoenix Director Explains the Creation of Jessica Chastain’s Character

Source: X-Men Movies

2019-04-08 09:04:03

Q.V. Hough

What Is The Phoenix Force? The X-Men Villain Explained

The Phoenix Force is about to take center-stage in X-Men: Dark Phoenix – so just what is this cosmic entity? The Phoenix Force is a central part of the X-Men’s mythology in the comics, and tied particularly to the character of Jean Grey. As a result, it’s no surprise that the story of the Phoenix has been adapted into Fox’s X-Men movies. What is rather more surprising, though, is that it’s now about to be adapted for the second time.

The problem with the Phoenix Force is that it’s not easy to pin down exactly what it is. The Phoenix has been the subject of countless retcons over the years, weaving it into the ancient history of the Marvel Comics universe. In the most recent retcon, Jason Aaron’s Avengers run has revealed that a Phoenix host was a member of the original Avengers, all the way back in 1,000,000 BC, and was even briefly Odin’s lover.

Related: Everything Dark Phoenix Has Copied From X-Men: The Last Stand

Given that the Phoenix is about to return to the big screen, this is the perfect time to cast our eyes over the history of this cosmic force. Where does the Phoenix Force come from, what is its role in the universe, and why is it tied so strongly to Jean Grey?

  • This Page: The Phoenix Force in the Comics
  • Page 2: The Phoenix Force in the Movies

The Phoenix Force is one of Marvel’s most powerful cosmic entities. It is said to have been “born of the void that exists between states of being,” and is a nexus of all the psychic energy of the entire Multiverse. It essentially serves as the guardian of evolution, burning away the old in order to give life to the new. The Phoenix’s power is so great that it can burn away entire timelines, realities where evolution has slowed to a crawl. Indeed, according to The Phoenix Force Handbook, the Phoenix has been doing this for longer than the universe itself has existed:

In the dying moments of the previous universe, the “Big Crunch,” the M’kraan Crystal – a hypercubical nexus of realities – was shattered, bringing the entire multiverse to an end. However, the Phoenix Force saved all of the dying universe’s inhabitants from eternal damnation.

The Phoenix Force appears to be drawn to select hosts – beings of tremendous psychic power. Curiously enough, human hosts tend to be females with red hair. It also has a preference for Earth, perhaps because it sensed humanity’s unique potential for change and evolution. It is particularly invested in mutants, which it perceives as the future of the human race; when the mutant race was brought to the verge of extinction, Phoenix fire blazed across the planet to reignite the X-gene. Every time the Phoenix exerts itself, though, there is a cost; it draws upon psychic energy from elsewhere in the Multiverse, and the energy it uses prevents entire realities coming into being.

According to the Shi’ar, the Phoenix is destined to be The End of All That Is – the cosmic force that will wind down this universe, destroying it in order to ignite the next Big Bang and begin our successor. Many races fear the Phoenix, understandably afraid that its judgment will befall their world and it will consume them. Still others point to the Phoenix’s increasing activity as an indication that the end of the universe is approaching.

Related: X-Men Theory: Jessica Chastain Is The Real Dark Phoenix Force

The Phoenix was first introduced in Uncanny X-Men #101, when it was tied to Jean Grey. The X-Men had been trapped aboard an orbital space-station, and although they had managed to escape in a shuttle, they were forced to fly through a solar flare. Jean Grey chose to sacrifice herself for her friends, using her telepathic powers to steal the knowledge of how to pilot the shuttle from the mind of an astronaut. With her friends safe in a shielded compartment, she flew straight through the flare, and seemed to be consumed by its energy. The shuttle crash-landed in Jamaica Bay, and the X-Men struggled out of the water. To their amazement, they watched as Jean emerged from the waters, declaring herself to be a whole new entity: fire and life incarnate, the Phoenix.

In truth, writer Chris Claremont wasn’t really clear on what had happened to Jean at this stage. He’d wanted to give the X-Men a power-up so he could take them on space-faring adventures – a Thor analogue that allowed him to toy with chaos on a cosmic scale. Some of the comics implied Phoenix was part of a mutation, and that the true power of Jean Grey that had always been there but had been locked away. Others hinted that a cosmic entity had bonded with Jean in the fire, transforming her and making her its host.

It all ended in tragedy, of course. Jean Grey fell under the influence of a mutant called Mastermind, who used illusions and hallucinations to warp and twist her psyche. He unwittingly transformed Phoenix into Dark Phoenix, a savage and voracious entity who literally consumed an entire star-system. “The Dark Phoenix Saga” came to a head with Jean Grey choosing to commit suicide rather than risk the return of Dark Phoenix.

“The Dark Phoenix Saga” was the product of creative differences behind the scenes. Claremont had originally intended for Jean Grey to be left depowered as penance for her crimes, but editor Jim Shooter wasn’t impressed with that idea. When he learned that Dark Phoenix had destroyed an entire star system, committing genocide when she wiped out an inhabited planet in the resulting supernova, he insisted that depowering wasn’t enough. In the end, Marvel settled on killing Jean as a last resort in order to end the disagreements. Crucially, Shooter insisted that Jean could only return from the dead if a writer found a way to absolve her of Dark Phoenix’s sins.

Related: Here’s How Marvel Just Brought Original Jean Grey Back to Life

Naturally, that edict simply meant future writers saw bringing Jean Grey back as a challenge. It was Kurt Busiek who finally came up with the idea for how to pull it off. He suggested that Jean Grey had never been Phoenix at all; rather, the real Jean had been replaced by the cosmic entity known as the Phoenix Force, which had sought to know what it was to be human. Injured due to her experience in the solar flare, the real Jean had been kept safe in a restorative cocoon at the bottom of Jamaica Bay.

This actually turns the themes and concepts of “The Dark Phoenix Saga” on their head; in the original comic, it is Jean’s humanity that enables her to commit suicide and prevent the return of Dark Phoenix, whereas this retcon establishes the humanity as the flaw introduced into the Phoenix Force that led to its temporary insanity. Marvel went with this approach, and as a result the Phoenix could be treated as a separate entity to Jean Grey. All that cosmic mythology was established in the years that followed, and Marvel writers continue to add new layers to it every year.

Page 2 of 2: The Phoenix Force in the Movies

Comic book fans have tended to argue that superhero films should “stick to the source material,” but writers and directors have always found that quite challenging. For one thing, an idea doesn’t necessarily translate effectively from one medium to another. In the case of the Phoenix Force, though, the situation is even more complicated. Claremont’s original comics were very unclear as to just what the Phoenix was in the first place; was Jean suffering from some sort of Dissociative Identity Disorder? Or was she the host of a cosmic force? The retcons only added further complexity to the issue of adapting “The Dark Phoenix Saga,” given they involved Jean’s actually being replaced by the Phoenix Force.

X-Men: The Last Stand ditched the cosmic side of the Phoenix Force altogether. It treated Jean as a mutant of almost unlimited telepathic and telekinetic potential, who had developed multiple personality disorder. Sensing the risk, Charles Xavier had used his own psychic barriers to lock Jean’s abilities down, and to restrain her alternate persona. But a near-death experience had unlocked both the power and the personality, and Jean became Phoenix. As Simon Kinberg told The New York Times, she became the embodiment of the Electra Complex, the opposite of the Oedipus Complex: a condition where some young women become unnaturally attached to their fathers and yet secretly wish to kill them and destroy everything that stands for them in order to assume their power. Phoenix killed Professor Xavier and sided with Magneto, before finally being killed by Wolverine.

Related: Dark Phoenix’s Jean Grey Looks Worryingly Like X-Men: The Last Stand’s

Kinberg has recently reflected that The Last Stand‘s greatest weakness was its failure to go cosmic. “I think that was a time in superhero movies where that just wasn’t being done,” he noted, “and now we live in a time with Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor: Ragnarok and so many comic book movies are interstellar and cosmic.” He has a point; it has to be remembered that, before the success of the X-Men and Spider-Man franchises, the cheesiness of Batman and Robin had briefly been believed to have killed off the entire superhero genre. That’s the reason the X-Men never wore spandex and didn’t go into space.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix appears to be taking a more nuanced approach, just like the original comics. Many of the basic plot points seem to be similar; Jean is still a powerful young mutant who has suffered trauma, in this case the deaths of her parents when her powers were triggered. Fearing Jean’s power, Xavier used his own abilities to lock them down and – it’s hinted in the trailers – even erase her memory that she was responsible for her parents’ deaths. Those psychic barriers began to break down in the third act of X-Men: Apocalypse, when Jean unleashed her power in order to defeat the titular villain. This time round, though, there is also clearly a Phoenix Force. Just as in the comics, Jean is caught up in a solar flare, and emerges unscathed but transformed and unstable.

Actress Sophie Turner has treated this as a kind of Dissociative Identity Order, spending a lot of time researching mental health. As she explained:

“As soon as Simon [Kinberg] kind of told me what the movie was about we just started straight away sharing ideas, sharing materials. Simon gave me a big, big book on schizophrenia. I actually found this thing online, on YouTube. And it was just kind of repeating, repeating, repeating, what it sounds like being a schizophrenic. So I used to walk around town with all these voices in my head. Kind of feel it out. And see what it felt like. We also explored Multiple Personality Disorder as well. And what that feels like to kind of wake up and not know what you did, What happened and that shear panic and how that affects you. Jean is just… this movie… She’s so, so, layered. She’s so complex in this movie. I really don’t think that I’ve done more research for a role than for this one and I loved every minute of it.”

Related: Dark Phoenix’s Trailer Makes A Big MCU Joke

What’s unclear, at this stage, is whether this other personality has been a part of Jean for a long time, kept in check until after the solar flare, or whether it is actually the Phoenix itself. Given that Kinberg has stressed the cosmic aspect of X-Men: Dark Phoenix, the latter seems likely; that Jean has become a host for a malevolent entity that is influencing her and amplifying her powers. Indeed, it’s been theorized that Jessica Chastain’s unidentified villain could be the Phoenix Force. She could simply be the psychic manifestation of the Phoenix persona, the entity Jean is being tempted and sometimes controlled by. At this stage that’s just a theory, of course, but it fits the trailers well.

One thing is clear, though – X-Men: Dark Phoenix isn’t going to dive headfirst into all the cosmic mythology of the Phoenix Force. Doing so probably wouldn’t fit very well with the grounded tone and style of Fox’s X-Men film franchise. Rather, it looks to have taken the “multiple personality” concept and added a layer of cosmic complexity to it. It remains to be seen how effective that is, and how the fans react to it.

More: Every Marvel Movie & TV Show Coming In 2019

2019-04-07 02:04:45

Thomas Bacon

Dark Phoenix Footage Description: X-Men & Mutant Brotherhood Fight Scene

New footage for 20th Century Fox’s upcoming X-Men movie, Dark Phoenix, was shown off during the movie’s panel at WonderCon 2019 this weekend, and while one clip was previously revealed at New York Comic-Con last year, the second clip was all-new for panel attendees to check out. Screen Rant was in attendance at the panel, and we have a full footage description for X-Men fans and moviegoers alike to read about below.

Just over one week after the Disney-Fox acquisition was finalized, 20th Century Fox (now a division of The Walt Disney Studios) unveiled new, never-before-seen footage of Dark Phoenix, much of which is a continuation of previously seen footage from the Dark Phoenix trailers. Taking place approximately midway through the film, with the X-Men fractured after the death of Mystique, Magneto’s new Brotherhood of Mutants are on their way to kill Jean Grey/Phoenix in New York City.

Related: Everything Dark Phoenix Has Copied From X-Men: The Last Stand

Beginning inside Cerebro at the X-Mansion, Professor X says, “It’s time,” and tells what appears to be the remaining X-Men team members that Magneto has found Jean and means to kill her. So he asks Nightcrawler to teleport him and Cyclops to Jean’s location and then tells him to teleport back. Storm is there and wants to join them on their mission to save Jean, but Professor X won’t allow that, for he’s already lost too many people that he loves. But given what they’re going up against, Cyclops tells Storm that he needs her there. Storm agrees, so she says she’s going – end of discussion. Using his powers, Professor X shows Nightcrawler where to go by showing him a picture in his mind. They all teleport to Jean/Phoenix’s location. Given that she’s in New York City, they presumably teleport into Central Park, next to the X-Jet (aka the Blackbird).

Cut to Magneto and Beast (who’s apparently on Magento’s side at this point in the film, seeing as he wants revenge for Mystique/Raven’s death. Beast actor Nicholas Hoult also mentioned during the Dark Phoenix panel that Beast/Hank McCoy is separated from Professor X in this film.) – along with two new mutants to the X-Men franchise, Selene (Kota Eberhardt) and Red Lotus (Andrew Stehlin) – walking out of the park, at which point Professor X and his group shows up behind them.

Professor X: “Hello, old friend.”

Magneto: “Save the old friend sh*t, Charles. And stay out of my way.”

Professor X: “I’m sorry, for what she did. But I can’t let you go in there.”

Magneto: “You’re always sorry, Charles. And there’s always a speech. But nobody cares anymore.”

Professor X is afraid that if they fight each other, especially out in the open, the humans would see them as monsters, and they would lose any faith they had with the people and the government. (Earlier in Dark Phoenix, the X-Men were considered heroes to the world, and the United States president frequently calls upon them to aide in certain matters.) Magneto scoffs at Professor X’s remarks, at which point Cyclops drops the movie’s only F-bomb (that is, of course, if Dark Phoenix remains a PG-13 movie). Cyclops tells Magneto, “If you touch her, I will f***ing kill you.” After that, Professor X tries to talk sense into Beast, but Beast wants to see Phoenix dead just as much as Magneto. That’s when a fight ensues.

Splintering off, Cyclops goes after Beast and Magneto, but he doesn’t try to actually harm Beast using his blasts. Magneto, on the other hand, Cyclops appears to be okay with killing. Meanwhile, Storm and Red Lotus fight each other using their powers as much as possible, with Professor X trying to prevent Selene from killing Nightcrawler. Given that Selene is also a telepath, she uses her powers to force Nightcrawler to teleport near her so that she can stab him. In order to put an end to all this, Magneto kneels down and pulls a subway car out of the ground.

Magneto then walks inside the building and uses the subway car to block the entrance. (Director Simon Kinberg mentioned afterward that the subway car is a practical effect, and they really did have it stop just a foot or two behind Michael Fassbender on set. That scene is real, surprisingly.) Jean/Phoenix is waiting for Magneto in the building’s lobby, standing alongside Jessica Chastain’s new X-Men supervillain. Looking at Phoenix, Magneto says, “I know whose blood that was.” Phoenix responds, “You cast me out, now you’ve come here to kill me?” “That’s right,” Magneto answers.

Stripping a metal railing, Magneto tries to kill Phoenix, but she’s too strong for him and she stops the railing from penetrating her eye. “And you couldn’t even do that,” Phoenix retorts, adding, “Let me show you how.” She then uses her power to crush Magneto’s helmet, which viewers can see a tiny bit of in the latest Dark Phoenix trailer. The clip ends on that note, trying to imply that Phoenix doesn’t stop killing X-Men characters with Raven; she could keep going, and Magneto might be her next victim. However, judging by previously released trailers and photos, it’s clear that Magneto survives this encounter but is left scarred. He is then taken captive by the “MCU” and perhaps rescued at a later point. Magneto’s story won’t end so unceremoniously in Dark Phoenix.

All in all, Dark Phoenix is shaping up to be an even darker X-Men movie than before, but whether or not it the cast and crew can really pull it off remains to be seen. After all, it could very well be Fox’s final X-Men movie before being rebooted by Marvel Studios.

More: X-Men Theory: Jessica Chastain Is The Real Dark Phoenix Force

2019-03-29 07:03:00

Mansoor Mithaiwala

Mary Magdalene Trailer: Rooney Mara & Joaquin Phoenix Get Biblical

IFC releases a trailer for Mary Magdalene. Directed by Garth Davis, the biblical drama stars Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus Christ and Rooney Mara as the title character. Earlier this month, Mary Magdalene finally received an April release date, this coming after a turbulent distribution journey after the film initially premiered in February 2018.

In the canonical gospels, Mary Magdalene is referenced more than Jesus’ apostles, and the film chronicles her unique relationship with the founder of Christianity, as she allegedly witnessed his crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. Production began in October 2016, and the film was originally scheduled for a November 2017 release, and then pushed to March 2018. After The New York Times and The New Yorker published their Harvey Weinstein exposés in October 2017, Mary Magdalene was shelved once again, and the producers ultimately searched for a new distributor and made a deal with IFC Films.

Related: Joker Movie Director Reveals New Image of Joaquin Phoenix

On YouTube, IFC Films released Mary Magdalene’s new trailer. In the beginning, cloudy landscape shots contrast Mary’s declaration to Jesus that she wants him to understand her. From there, the trailer establishes the natural chemistry between the two historical figures, which complicates Mary’s impending marriage with “a friend.” As Mary’s acquaintances try to sway her from following Jesus, the clip underlines themes of purpose and free will. Unfortunately for Mary, she learns that Jesus’ message of peace isn’t understood by all, and she then prepares for the worst. The final minute of Mary Magdalene’s trailer focuses on the inevitable violence, along with Mary’s absolute devotion to Jesus. The clip ends with the line “The world will only change as we change.” Check out the full Mary Magdalene trailer below.

As a whole, the color palette of Mary Magdalene’s trailer is full of warm interior browns and icy blue exterior images. The film reunites the aforementioned Davis with cinematographer Greig Fraser. For their 2017 collaboration Lion, Fraser received an Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography. In the past, he’s shot films like Killing Them Softly, Snow White and the Huntsman, Zero Dark Thirty, Foxcatcher, and Rogue One. Fraser will also serve as cinematographer for Denis Villeneuve’s 2020 science fiction epic Dune.

Mary Magdalene marks the final film for composer Jóhann Jóhannsson. The Icelandic artist earned Academy Award nominations for The Theory of Everything and Sicario. In 2016, Jóhannsson received a Golden Globe nomination for Arrival, this coming after he’d previously won for The Theory of Everything in 2014. After finishing the score for Mandy, Jóhannsson died from an accidental overdose on Feb. 9, 2018. He was 48 years old. 

Based on the new trailer, Mary Magdalene seems to be more of a cinematic experience than a fluffy historical drama. Given the talent of the aforementioned Greig Fraser and Jóhann Jóhannsson, both of whom are known for brilliantly setting a specific mood, Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix can accomplish more with less. Mary Magdalene’s success will ultimately depend on the lead’s handling of major moments, and their ability to fully transform into their famous characters.

More: Everything We Know (So Far) About Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker Movie

Source: IFC Films

2019-03-28 07:03:42

Q.V. Hough

Joker Movie Director Reveals New Image of Joaquin Phoenix

Director Todd Phillips has revealed a brand new image of Joaquin Phoenix in Joker. One of the more surprising developments to come from Warner Bros. and DC Films over the last year or so was the idea that they’d start doing movies not set within a larger continuity. These have been compared to DC’s Elseworlds comics, and the studios are kicking off the concept with a highly anticipated package as the three time Oscar-nominee Joaquin Phoenix will show the origin of the Clown Prince of Crime.

The movie generated plenty of attention throughout the filming process last year as Phoenix took to the streets of New York, often in creepy clown makeup, to film the movie. It was impossible to keep paparazzi away from the set and provided interested fans with plenty of looks at Phoenix’s portrayal of Batman’s greatest foe. To try and combat some of these leaks, Phillips has also been releasing official looks at Phoenix’s terrifying camera test, him in between takes, and now what looks to be a scene from the actual film.

Related: Every Upcoming & In-Development DC Movie

The director provided a small update on the status of Joker today on his Instagram. He is currently editing the film after production wrapped last December, and now was the appropriate time in his mind to share a new look at Phoenix. He is shown here without any clown makeup on, instead attentively staring at the TV in front of him as he watches VHS tapes.

While this isn’t the most revealing photo from Joker, it is still enough to put the film back at the forefront of the minds of fans after months of no updates. One potentially interesting aspect to the photo is the interior design of the house that Arthur Fleck (Joker’s real name in the movie) is stationed in. For a down on his luck and failing comic, the decorations look a bit nicer than some may expect. This could just be some of his prized possessions, but it could also be a hint that this is not Arthur’s house at all. Maybe this is him breaking into a house of an unsuspecting victim and watching their home videos to learn more about them.

This is just speculation for the time being, but set photos have also shown him stalking Zazie Beetz’s character, and there is always Joker’s crazy side to consider. Hopefully this won’t be the last thing we see from Joker for an extended amount of time again, as a trailer will hopefully be arriving soon. There’s still seven months to go before the film hits theaters, and the smaller budget and known entity means it doesn’t need a major marketing push, but with horror movies like Pet Sematary, fellow DC movie Shazam!, and a summer full of blockbusters right around the corner, the time to see more from Joker is rapidly approaching.

More: Every Update You Need to Know About Joker

Source: Todd Phillips

2019-03-22 03:03:03

Cooper Hood