X-MEN DARK PHOENIX (2019) review, Wait Until It Comes To TV


X-Men Dark Phoenix has been touted as the last X-Men film of the franchise, pre-Disney. I'm sure the Mouse House will reboot the franchise as some point soon but for now, this was yet one more shot at telling Jean Grey's Phoenix story.

It was directed by Simon Kinberg, whose resume (as a producer) includes The Martian, Logan, Fantastic Four, X-Men Days of Future Past, while this seems to be his directorial tent-pole debut. Oops.


The film starts out with the sobering origin of Jean Grey as a child and the tragic accident she caused, showing what seems to be her powers accidentally killing her parents and Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) adopting her or at least taking her under is wing to help her deal with her powers.

Life goes on and at one point during a rescue mission Jean (Sophie Turner) gets hit by a strange energy cloud in space that energizes her and makes her the most powerful mutant on the planet, and possibly the universe itself.

But as the power revs up within her, it breaks down the mental walls that Xavier had put in place to protect her from the pain of the accident she caused that kills her parents.

Discovering that Charles tampered with her memories makes her question her allegiance with the X-Men and with humanity as humans start to turn on her too, while she throws fits. Keep in mind, when the most powerful mutant on the planet throws a fit, it's pretty devastating.

And it goes on from there.


The movie was not horrible. I didn't mind dropping matinee money on the film, though I might have been disappointed had I dropped full-price ticket money or above. There's plenty of X-Men action, but what stood out to me as the big let down was that most every scene or moment that comes at us seems to skip the build up and goes straight to the punch line. It was like watching a car accelerate to 100 mph, but skipping the speeds from 0 to 70. This made the connective glue between scenes very weak, distracting you from the potentially great story that lies underneath the film.

Watching Michael Fassbender play Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto is always a pleasure. He's got the most amazing power and in Dark Phoenix, he's honed his use of his powers wonderfully.

But what lost me a bit was the anger or violence that Jean exhibits because it made no sense.

Jean has spent her entire life being a hero and a good person with the X-Men and yet when she starts learning the truth about her past, she starts acting out. Was this from the effect of the energy cloud that hit her? Or was she really just a brat underneath it all to begin with? If they established her angst somewhere in the film, I missed it.

There were also just too many standard movie tropes tossed out at viewers, like "remember your training," or "Do it for Raven," Or "This is what Raven would have wanted." It was almost so predictable to be distracting.

The humor was more subdued than most Marvel films, while Evan Peters' Quicksilver provided some of the funnier moments, sparsely used as he was.

One character that stuck out to me was when Nightcrawler (Kodi Smith-McPhee) snaps and takes it out on the alien enemies. Now that felt like a promising teaser nugget of exactly where Nightcrawler could go in future films.


IMDb users have given the film a 6.1/10 and I don't disagree. It's better than some stuff out there but it's not a huge draw. If there was more connective story glue at the beginning of every scene, this could have been an amazing film. It almost felt as if the film was rushed to be put out in time or that they were just hitting production goals and moving on while not really breaking new ground with any plot points. It's like they forgot to have fun making a good story.

If you can get a cheap set of tickets to see the film, it's still not a bad escape from the day, but otherwise, hang out, be patient and it will probably show up on FX sooner or later. There, it should shine, as many mediocre movies do when they hit the tube.

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