I didn’t have high expectations going into this one. The advertising presence hasn’t been strong for the film, which usually indicates that it’s not as great as the studios hoped for. That being said, even going in with low expectations, I was incredibly underwhelmed by this movie.
Dark Phoenix is the last X-Men film we’ll see done by 20th Century Fox, which is a good thing. Disney and Marvel need full control over this franchise as this film makes it abundantly clear that Fox has no idea what they’re doing with it.
Dark Phoenix tells the story of one of X-Men’s most beloved characters, Jean Grey, as she evolves into the iconic Dark Phoenix. After a life-threatening space rescue mission, Jean consumes a cosmic force that transfers her into one of the most powerful mutants of all. Between this unstable power and her own personal demons, Jean rather quickly spirals out of control and as she does – she tears the X-Men family apart. It’s a storyline that props itself up on 20 years of X-Men films, yet fails from the very beginning.
Dark Phoenix Review: What I Did and Didn’t Like
The cast here is fantastic – James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Evan Peters, and Jessica Chastain. But nothing is saving this film. There’s just nothing to work with material wise – everything feels massively underwhelming. The whole movie is over the top and laughable.
The effects are meh, the script is bloated, and the whole film finds itself stumbling over every scene. There’s an interesting story somewhere at the core of what’s here – however, audiences never see it. You do see a rather cool train sequence, but aside from that, the film feels stale. It’s hard to care about what’s going on.
Another interesting note is that this film focuses a good deal on Charles Xavier’s perspective. It almost seems like we see this story through his eyes instead of Jean’s. There’s not enough material here for Sophie Turner to work with. This was director Simon Kinberg’s directorial debut (he also wrote the film – as well as X-Men: The Last Stand, X-men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse, and a number of other films and TV projects). So it’s safe that the blame lies fully on him for what may be the worst X-Men film ever made.
Dark Phoenix Review: Overall Thoughts
Overall, I struggle to find something positive to say about Dark Phoenix. It was painful to watch from beginning to end. If you’re going to the movies this week, go see Rocketman, this one isn’t worth your time – maybe Disney will get it right with the next franchise reboot. Fingers crossed.