‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ Review

X-Men: Dark Phoenix stinks! There’s no other way to frame 20th Century Fox’s attempt at redeeming themselves after the mess that was X-Men: Apocalypse. The writing in the film was stilted. This very talented ensemble had very little to work with, so their performances suffered. At times the film felt muddled. There were times in the movie where it dragged so much; I wondered if I was ever going to experience the sweet relief of the film concluding. I felt jealousy towards a particular lead who ends up dying in the first 30 minutes of the film (here’s a hint she’s an Oscar winner) because at least she didn’t have to endure what was left of this challenging experience. Simon Kinberg’s vision for these characters apparently involved shackling them with inner conflict and nowhere near achieves the balance most successful superhero releases need.  It’s okay for these characters to be conflicted or haunted by a past, but we also want to see some action as well. There’s very little redeeming about X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Hans Zimmer’s excellent score came close, but not even that is enough to quell the sense rage which comes from sitting through two hours of this movie.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

L-R: Tye Sheridan, James McAvoy, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Alexandra Shipp in Twentieth Century Fox’s DARK PHOENIX. Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.

So what’s the narrative of this latest X-Men Movie? Well, NASA ends up calling in the X-Men because of a shuttle disaster which appears to be imminent. Charles pledges their help and dispatches a team led by Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) and including Jean Grey (Sophie Turner). While up in space, an explosion occurs (which you’ve likely seen in the trailer) but instead of Jean perishing, she seems to absorb that energy from the blast. From that moment forward, everything changed.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

Jennifer Lawrence stars as Raven/Mystique in Twentieth Century Fox’s DARK PHOENIX. Photo Credit: Doane Gregory.

The narrative in X-Men: Dark Phoenix is scattered at best. Jessica Chastain plays this creature named Vux who seems to be after this energy which Jean absorbed, but we don’t see her clear intentions until about the third act of the film. There’s this whole subplot between Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) and Charles (James McAvoy) about why he’s so driven to help out these humans who could turn on them at any time which overtakes the film’s first act. Kinberg keeps adding layer after layer to a film that quite frankly should have been straight forward to begin with (I mean they did have a whole series about Jean becoming the Dark Phoenix in the X-Men comic). 

Overall, (in case it wasn’t clear) X-Men: Dark Phoenix is awful. It’s a horrible experience for moviegoers, fans of the franchise, or anyone who likes to do enjoyable things. There’s a reason why this movie was delayed. 20th Century Fox wanted to postpone the inevitable.

'X-Men: Dark Phoenix'
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