Film review: Dark Phoenix
Orphaned mutant Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) is taken in by Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) and the X-Men, but when a mission goes wrong Jean must go on the run from humans, mutants and aliens seeking to control her power.
As the final instalment of 20th Century Fox’s X-men franchise, Dark Phoenix is expected to rival Avengers: Endgame. In reality it fell very short as both a standalone film and the culmination of 20 years’ worth of X-Men movies.
It isn’t completely clear where the movie slots into the wider series and much of the plot doesn’t make sense when coupled with the Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart films of the early 2000s.
While Marvel films like Infinity War, Endgame and Captain Marvel were wrapped up tightly, Dark Phoenix is plagued by sloppy writing and confusing moments. None of the X-Men thought to flag the fact that Jean Grey survived a deadly dose of cosmic power and her power levels were then ‘off the chart’ – perhaps everyone could have stayed at home if someone had paid attention?
There is some great action and a lot of fight scenes but unfortunately the villain, a shapeshifting leader of a small population of displaced aliens looking to take over earth, isn’t very memorable.
The catalyst for Jean’s power increase is a floating solar cloud whose origins are probably part of a larger story but this isn’t given much airtime. This results in a lot of unknowns and very little depth to the story.
We also can’t be 100 percent sure where in the US Jean Grey hails from as she slips in and out of a southern drawl. Beast (Nicholas Hoult) isn’t given a real character – he is instead thrown from plot point to plot point with no consistency just to suit the story. Sadly, James McAvoy doesn’t sell Professor Xavier like Patrick Stewart in the original X-Men, which is a big missed opportunity for the franchise. Raven, aka Mystique, (Jennifer Lawrence) is a good guy now but unfortunately gets refrigerated early on which doesn’t work with the original films either.
Like James McAvoy’s Xavier, the whole film was a missed opportunity to cap off a franchise that deserves a lot more. Hopefully, the anticipated Marvel revamps can save the hodgepodge mess The X-Men has become.
Final Verdict: 2/5 stars.
James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp and Jessica Chastain.
If you liked the movie, try:
X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men, Deadpool, The Wolverine, Logan and Avengers: Endgame