Plot – Jean Grey begins to develop incredible powers that corrupt and turn her into a Dark Phoenix, causing the X-Men to decide if her life is worth more than all of humanity – X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
Director – Simon Kinberg
Released – 2019
I’m not going to pretend to be some massive X-Men fan, however, I’ve followed the franchise since the first film came out back in 2000 and despite the few missteps, I can find redeeming features in almost every film, with the exception of their first attempt at bringing the Dark Phoenix Saga to the big screen, X-Men: The Last Stand which was objectively bad in almost every aspect.
So when I saw they were taking a second swing at this storyline, I was initially apprehensive and the panning from the critics didn’t help matters, however, imagine my surprise at how much I enjoyed the film, this isn’t to say that X-Men: Dark Phoenix doesn’t have problems because it does. I just think it’s nowhere near as bad as what you have been led to believe.
Compared to The Last Stand, Dark Phoenix is handled much better. Not only is the story more streamlined, but the writing direction is a step up in terms of quality. I loved some character choices, taking them in a different direction from the previous films and giving them a sense of growth not seen in the original trilogy. Sure, a couple of characters get pushed to the background, but this is what always happens with big cast productions like The X-Men or Avengers movies.
The thing I love most about X-Men films is how many of the characters are flawed, they make mistakes that have ramifications and later on in the film or franchise these come full circle, here is no different and this makes for a much more interesting to watch than most superhero movies, With Sophie Turner and James McAvoy both excelling with the weighty material places upon their shoulders.
One of my complaints about Dark Phoenix comes in the form of Jessica Chastain’s character Vuk, the leader of an alien race attempting to manipulate Jean (Turner), I’m not sure if it was due to time constraints or just the writing, but given how good an actor Chastain is, the character always felt lacking and never came across as menacing, but rather a minor issue the other X-Men needed to overcome before dealing with the main issue, my thinking is there was more to the character and the alien race as a whole, but this ended up on the cutting room floor and maybe one day we will see a director’s cut with the further material restored, which will rectify this loss of depth and motivation.
X-Men Dark Phoenix is a better film than the negative reviews would have you believe. Excellent acting, entertaining storyline and fun throughout, Superior in every way when compared to The Last Stand, it’s a shame that this is looking likely to be the last film in the franchise with this cast, but at least we got a decent movie to finish it off. Dark Phoenix if we are talking release date and Logan if chronologically.