Dark Phoenix: Review by @Kush_Hayes
The fourteenth and final entry into Foxs XMen series has had all kinds of ups and downs. The latest edition, Dark Phoenix, is neither good nor is it bad. And while its better than X-Men The Last Stand, it is boring.
When we witness the death of a key member of the group, there is no weight behind it. And primarily, thats because you know that several of the actors are fed up with their role and participation in the franchise.
Maybe part of the reason Im not going to be harder on this movie is that it is the end of its Fox run and Ive made peace years ago that this film franchise hasnt been 1:1 true to its own comic book origins.
We start this story in 1975 with a prologue giving us a proper introduction to Jean Grey as an 8 y/o girl. Shes with her dad and mom (Amy Adams) going for a drive in the country. As usual. everything is normal and then Jeans powers manifest randomly causing a horrific accident killing mom and severely injuring dad. Cue our meeting with Charles Xavier, who comes in to Jeans life, offering her the promise of understanding her gifts better and being around other kids like herself.
We then go into the movie and we immediately have a surprise space mission. I say its a surprise as the X-Men arent trained for space travel, space navigation or even space combat. When the students in the XMen try to explain that they are met with a "Shut up" by Jennifer Lawrences Mystique/Raven.
Even Hank McCoy tries to tell Charles "we dont have a space ship, the plane in our fortress is just a very fancy plane, its not made for space travel." Charles then replies, "Shut Up."and off they go to Space.
Its never really clear why they go into space. We see the NASA Space Shuttle go into space via news transmission, and has Hank and Charles are discussing whether or not the plane is space ready, the President of the United States calls and requests immediate assistance.
We do discover theres an anomaly being labeled as Solar Flares, that are about to collide with the shuttle. Everyone uses their powers to help save the crew, but Jean isnt quick enough and gets engulfed by the anomaly and survives where anyone else, man or mutant would have perished immediately.
The X-Men are met with celebration and fanfare from the public as well as their peers and although Jeans medical check up results come back as "off the charts" Dr McCoy still gives her a clean bill of health. However, as they do, things immediately go bad, and people at the school get hurt and Jeans on the run.
Turns out the anomaly has triggered the memory of her mothers death that Professor X has been suppressing for years causing her to loom for her father who basically abandoned her. As you can imagine, this is not a happy reunion and things go from bad to worse.
Oh by the way, Aliens are involved with this. Because this is still a Fox property, they're referred to as D'Bari probably because it rhymes with Chi'tari. Regardless, they have such a hollow presence as well as motive. Their planet blew up, so they're going to take over Earth. And for some reason they know about Jean and her Phoenix power. And they intend to use Phoenix as a means to achieve that goal. Things explode, monologues are performed, people fight and grunt and levitate through the air as per the norm.
Sophie Turner who returns to the franchise in her third appearance has come into the character. Maybe shes growing into a better actor, maybe shes was just given more opportunity to shine. When shes in full on Phoenix mode, she can be terrifying and her performance carries more weight in this edition.
The rest of the characters are just there. Ty Sheridan and the Cyclops character are again held back by writing. This character never gets the respect it deserves. Alexandra Shipp who plays Storm is underused and you wish they did more with her this round. Cody Smit-Mcgee who plays Nightcrawler, just like Shipp is underused and you question his character. Yes this is a new adaptation but Nightcrawler as a character goes out of his way to not take life yet in this film he dispatches villains left and right by stabbing them in the chest, neck and face with his tail. And even after all that said, blink and you might not realize who is fighting who. And then we get to the two biggest stars of this prequel series, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence are both on screen just because of obligation and nothing more. While Lawrence has been annoyed with her role since the second movie, while Fassbender usually puts his everything into the role, this time hes holding back and looks like he would rather be anywhere.
This movie is watchable, but I would not state that anyone NEEDS to see it on the big screen. Considering this movie has been dealing with the next steps in human evolution, its a shame that this series has devolved into what it ends with now.
Three Blueberries out of Six