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Even though many critics thought that Dark Phoenix was an unmitigated disaster, there are some, particularly those much closer to the film's characters, who feel that director Simon Kinberg did a good job working within the guidelines the studio gave him. Writer Chris Claremont, who wrote the Dark Phoenix Saga storyline upon which this movie (and Brett Ratner's X-Men: The Last Stand) was based, praised Kinberg for being able to condense such a loaded story into a 113-minute movie. The frustrating delay, coupled with the film's poor quality, definitely riled up X-Men fans. But maybe Claremont's recent comments will help explain what went on behind the scenes with a bit more clarity.
Speaking with Insider, Claremont explained Kinberg's plans for the project, which was originally intended to consist of more than one film.
Simon wanted to do it as two films. One to make the audience fall in love with Jean and the other to break their hearts. But to do it in an hour and 50 minutes is a challenge. To his credit, despite a lot of outside interference from companies that will remain nameless, he pretty much got away with it.
He continued, saying:
As the co-creator of the source material, and as a colleague, I felt that Simon did the very best work possible within a whole bunch of contexts that were totally out of his control. It was a good film. It was way better than X-Men: The Last Stand.
Simon Kinberg's approach was certainly strange, especially considering the fact that his Dark Phoenix script was inspired by The Dark Knight trilogy. He has written much better films, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Sherlock Holmes, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith being a few. But Claremont's comments may encourage fans to see his latest, most unpopular film in a softer, more understanding light. That must be his goal, especially if he's throwing The Last Stand into the discussion. That film is abysmal and has very few redeeming qualities, so maybe Claremont is trying to mitigate the hate Dark Phoenix still faces.
Claremont is one of the most celebrated writers in the history of Marvel Comics, having co-created popular characters such as Kitty Pryde, Rogue, Phoenix, Sebastian Shaw, Mystique, Sabretooth, and countless others. He wrote Uncanny X-Men from 1975-1991, making him the only writer to have stuck with that series for that long. He's a legend, so his thoughts have to mean something, right? I personally think both Dark Phoenix and The Last Stand are atrocious, but that's easy for me to say because I didn't have to deal with studio interference and all that jazz. All I saw was what they put on the screen.
Regardless of whether or not you think Dark Phoenix is a massive disappointment, what are your thoughts on Chris Claremont's comments?