The 2019 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics X-Men characters is Dark Phoenix (also promoted and later published on home media as X-Men: Dark Phoenix). The movie was written, co-produced, and directed by Simon Kinberg and stars an ensemble cast including James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, and Jessica Chastain (in his film directorial debut). In Dark Phoenix, after a mission in space goes bad, the X-Men are compelled to confront the full force of the Phoenix.
In 1975, while commuting with her parents, eight-year-old Jean Grey was injured in a car accident. Both are instantly killed, making her an orphan. Professor Charles Xavier brings her to Xavier’s Gifted Youths Academy, where he promises to show Grey how to make full use of her talents.
In 1992, the X-Men replied to a distress signal from the “Endeavour” space shuttle, which was seriously damaged by solar flare-like radiation. Grey is hit by energy while saving the astronauts. She survives the explosion miraculously and absorbs the energy, saving the aircraft of her squad from damage. However, her psychic abilities are significantly enhanced as a result of the force, and her mental state continues to escalate, causing Raven Darkholme to scold Xavier. When she grows more agitated, Grey’s abilities begin to get harder to control. She unleashes her influence unintentionally on mutants celebrating a space triumph at Xavier’s academy.
Xavier informs the rest of the X-Men that as a young girl, he had placed emotional barriers on Grey’s head to discourage her from maintaining her childhood abuse. Darkholme is surprised by Xavier’s discovery and threatens him, saying that she should have shielded them from Xavier instead of shielding the students from the world. Meanwhile, her increased strength removes the mental barriers in Grey’s psyche, and her childhood experience steadily returns, culminating in her becoming full of anger and pain. Since experiencing dreams of her father appearing to her, she returns to her homeland.
She discovers her father alive upon arrival; he had survived the car wreck but later wanted nothing to do with Gray. Gray restores her full recollection of the car accident and discovers that she had mistakenly left her mother unconscious at the wheel with her telepathy, unable to control her abilities at such a young age, unwittingly triggering the collision that killed her. The understanding that she is responsible for the death of her mother leads her to experience post-traumatic stress disorder, and her abilities spin out of control ever more. The X-Men are arriving, and Xavier delays time after a small skirmish to encourage Darkholme to try to convince Gray to come back home. Gray, however, lashes out at Darkholme with her powers and blasts her free. Darkholme falls on the shrapnel that pierces and destroys her body. As Hank McCoy weeps over the body of Darkholme, Gray flees.
A mutant sanctuary owned by Erik Lehnsherr, Grey journeys to the island of Genosha. She asks for his assistance in managing her anger, and he agrees, initially. However, soon afterwards, U.S. military aircraft appeared on the island, seeking Grey’s surrender. Gray joins the armed forces in battle, but they are rescued by Lehnsherr. Then he banishes Grey, refusing to support her, from the island.
Before disintegrating the remaining D’Bari as they attack her, Grey awakens and breaks free of her bonds, shielding the mutants from Vuk’s attack and the ensuing train wreck. Again, Vuk wants to drain the force from Grey, but Grey captures Vuk and goes into outer space. Grey unleashes all her strength and destroys Vuk, but in a blast of energy in the shape of a phoenix, the strain causes her to vanish.
Xavier’s school is renamed the “Jean Grey School for Gifted Youngsters” in the midst of a war, and with Xavier leaving, McCoy becomes their next dean. When settling in Paris, Xavier is shocked at Lehnsherr’s cafe, offering to play a chess game. A burning phoenix emerges in the sky when they begin.