Originally Posted by BenReilly
Jean did display the Phoenix flame, at the end of X2:
They were on the right path, but we know what happened next, as far as X-Men 3's production is concerned.
It was basically Alien 3, all over again...
When I wrote that I was thinking mainly of Last Stand, wherein Jean had the full Phoenix powers. The only flaming display in that film were some lame explosions and a Bic-lighter fueled firefight from Pyro at the finish.
The gif you posted comes from one of the best sequences in all of the X-Men films, a scene that had great emotional impact and a striking visual. (One could even overlook the fact that Jean needn't have sacrificed herself in order to save the others, if only to justify the operatic drama of the scene.) After watching that, I had such high hopes that the next film would go to even greater heights, not just in terms of technical achievement but with the epic scope of the Phoenix saga as well. Fox's cheapness and Ratner's hackishness torpedoed that.