WARNING: This post contains massive spoilers for X-Men: Apocalypse and some strong opinions of X-Men: The Last Stand. Read at your own risk.
It has been 10 years since X-Men: The Last Stand was released. The movie set out to tell the story of the Phoenix but failed to fully deliver on the fan favourite storyline. Jean Grey’s narrative has always positioned her as a formidable mutant, and some of the scenes throughout the series have given us hints of that distinction.
A memorable example of this is her first meeting with Professor Xavier and Magneto; on a quiet day in her family home. The flame-haired girl sits skeptically, being convinced she is with equals. "Really?, I doubt that", She says. Demonstrating the impressive reach of her power by levitating half the neighbourhood vehicles without so much as the blink of an eye.
"I like this one" - Magneto. X-Men: The Last Stand
This felt like a promising allusion to what should have been a spectacular climax to the X-Men trilogy, and yet things started crumbling as quickly as Xavier’s body was shattered to smithereens.
Jean Grey's Last Stand
From what should have been a glorious resurrection to the final battle, The Last Stand showed Phoenix wreaking havoc on Alcatraz and meeting her end at the hands of Wolverine - never to be heard from again. If anyone was born to play the Dark Phoenix; it was Famke Janssen who consistently delivered a wonderful performance as an adult Jean Grey. In fact, I replayed the scene with Wolverine and her in the lab multiple times just to see her decimate the door and exit in a fierce display of telekinetic fury.
But that's really where the buck stops. It seemed that the chances of truly displaying the X-Woman’s full potential were slim from this point forward. That was until Sophie turner assumed the role of a young Jean Grey in the latest X-Men: Apocalypse.
Sophie Turner Subtle Yet Powerful
From beginning to end, she justified her right to portray the girl who could go from 0 to 100 in a heartbeat. She compellingly conveyed the innate fear of a power that is so all-consuming it could potentially destroy her or make her the most powerful telepath the X-Universe has ever seen. Like the Jean Grey narrative, we all know and love. This is the kind of mutant whose power is second to none; bar Professor Xavier himself and even he at times has been no match for the fully evolved power of Jean Grey and indeed at her most ultimate form the Phoenix.
This is showcased in what is to date; the never before actualised ability of Professor X to combat a colossal foe such as Apocalypse on the Astral Plane. But Apocalypse; proved even here he is every bit the indomitable being he is supposed to be.
Which is why Bryan Singer knew the only way to remedy the anti-climax of the Jean Grey story arc was to face off the omega weapon that is Apocalypse with the searing fires of the Phoenix Force.
The sheer power of Jean Grey in the climax of X-Men: Apocalypse was so unexpected (one started to get the feeling she was becoming utterly useless or had a massive Ace up her sleeve) that it rendered no other response other than #Speechless.
Critics say it was unearned, others feel it was a premature revelation of power. But I say it was one last ditch effort to make up for the sins of the past and give this character the justice she deserved.
I for one waited six movies to see Jean do that! I spent the last ten years mourning a mutant I prayed would come back to me the way I had always envisioned.
Which is why when I heard the actress behind the resilient Sansa Stark was to portray the subtle yet powerful Jean Grey I knew I wasn't going to be disappointed.
X-Men: Days of Future Past left us in a world with a lot to be excited about, and the follow-up; X-Men: Apocalypse makes good on that promise. Bringing us a cast of dedicated actors who realise some of the most beloved mutants in the Marvel universe and delivering a story that worked very hard to fulfil the imagination of fans the world over.
Packed with inspiring action scenes and punctuated with some truly poignant moments, this movie does everything it was supposed to do and even throws in some breathtaking surprises along the way.
Thank You to the cast and creators of X-Men: Apocalypse for giving this fan a cinematic experience he won’t soon forget. I think it just about makes up for the atrocities perpetrated against my favourite southern belle, Rogue - but that’s another story.