Dark Phoenix is the monumental swan song for Fox’s now obsolete X-Men Universe, which lasted nearly two decades. This is the second attempt, by Fox, to adapt the iconic Dark Phoenix Saga storyline which was first adapted in X-Men: The Last Stand.
While X-Men: The Last Stand has been fatally critiqued as the worst X-Men film to date. Dark Phoenix exceeds that and takes that crown from its predecessor.
Directed and written by longtime X-Men producer Simon Kinberg, which also marks his directorial debut. X-Men: Dark Phoenix or simply Dark Phoenix is a lackluster film that holds no high stakes and no real threat to the X-Men or Mutantkind. The film just like X-Men: The Last Stand, heavily deviates from the comic book source material. While it keeps some minor beats from the comic, it’s still not done right.
The script itself is subpar at best. The dialogue between the cast seems forced and out of character and at times, almost comedic when that wasn’t its intention. I don’t want to place all the blame on the actors and how some lines were delivered or maybe even over-acted; but most of the blame can and should be placed on Simon Kinberg.
The one positive in this entire film for me was Sophie Turner and her performance as Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix. To me personally she gave it her all, and made the best of what she was given with. That just speaks volumes and compliments Sophie Turner as an actor who has grown and honed in on her craft.
Let’s talk character motives and how it’s all centered around Raven aka Mystique. Who was used as a huge plot device in this entire film. Her death is what forces Hank to turn on Jean and the rest of the X-Men. But also causes Magneto, who initially tried helping Jean, turn on her as well because she killed Mystique. The quick changes of heart by both Hank and Erik because Vuk (Jessica Chastain) is on the prowl for the remainder of the Phoenix Force, negates these very same sentiments that were established 20 minutes prior.
This film also ignores everything that X-Men: First Class, Days of Future’s Past and Apocalypse presented and developed for these characters. Reminder, Jean Grey used the Phoenix Force to kill Apocalypse and save the world but when we see her in Dark Phoenix, she comes in contact with the Phoenix Force for the first time ever. Contradicting right? But expected, since Fox’s entire X-Men Universe timeline is wish-washy.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix at its core feels more like an origin story than a closing chapter for these characters. From missing X-Men and mutants from the previous films, to the overly FORCED, X-Women line. Simon Kinberg and Fox clearly did not learn from their previous mistakes. They promised that they would get it right this second time around and to say they fell short is an understatement.
Want a more in-depth and detailed review? Make sure to check out our latest podcast episode, where we discuss everything and anything from Dark Phoenix.
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Dark Phoenix is now playing in theaters everywhere.