X-Men: Dark Phoenix

In Cinemas Now

A phoenix will rise. The X-Men will fall.

Longtime X-Men writer and producer Simon Kinberg directs his own screenplay in the final instalment of the current X-Men franchise.

When Jean Grey's personality is corrupted and her powers are amplified after coming into contact with a cosmic entity known as the Phoenix, the rest of the X-Men must decide if the life of the woman they cherish is worth the existence of the entire universe.

Trailers

Directed by

Written by

  • Simon Kinberg
  • (based on the comic book 'The Dark Phoenix Saga' by John Byrne and Chris Claremont)

Action, Adventure, Science Fiction, Blockbuster

113mins

Rating: M Mature themes, action violence and occasional coarse language

USA

The X-franchise has been going for nearly twenty years now, its first two films setting the tone of superheroics for years to come before a series of mostly interchangeable instalments—some good, some bad—bring us to this almost-final gasp (we have the series-adjacent New Mutants still to come).

It speaks to the state of modern movie-making that Dark Phoenix doesn’t just reboot a story we saw told four films ago in the third X-Men entry (admittedly it’s been thirteen years), but brings back the same damn writer to give it another crack. And lets him direct the damn thing. I mean, familiar IP may be the name of the game in Hollywood these days but man, give us something new.

Helmer Simon Kinberg does throw out a few interesting wrinkles to begin with—the X-Men are publicly lauded as heroes, Xavier’s morality comes into question—but those points aside it’s very much business as usual. Oh and the baddies aren’t other mutants this time, they’re invincible aliens, which has no impact on the plot but to give a sleepy looking Jessica Chastain some Terminator 2 moments.

Sophie Turner is clearly ready for her close-up, and McAvoy and Fassbender exude gravitas without breaking a sweat, but there’s a definite ‘going through the motions’ vibe to proceedings. An A-list character dies and it barely registers. The movie itself seems in a rush to get to the credits and have this all done with.

A very expensive movie that feels weirdly small, Dark Phoenix takes the action into space early on before leaving behind any sense of wonder or heroism in favour of a series of small, earth-bound brawls that are entertaining but visually confusing. It’s a bummer, a once-mighty franchise going out not with a bang, but a shrug.

FilmInk (Australia)

press

If this is indeed the final X-Men film, the series has gone out with a whimper...

TimeOut (London)

press

It's not nearly as good as 'Logan' or 'X2', but it's a whole lot better than the eyeball-poking affliction that was 'X-Men: Apocalypse'.

Vanity Fair

press

The movie is so eager to get itself over with that its title anti-heroine even seems an afterthought.

Empire (UK)

press

Better than Last Stand or Apocalypse but never hitting the heights of X2, Dark Phoenix thrives when its heroes are front and centre. If this is the end, it's a solid rather than spectacular goodbye.

Los Angeles Times

press

Not even Turner, with her radiant screen presence and her ability to make strength and vulnerability seem indistinguishable, can ultimately save "Dark Phoenix" from its own failures of imagination.

Total Film (UK)

press

Despite mostly sparky cast-work, the Phoenix never quite rises as hoped in Kinberg's affectionate but often perfunctory X-Men send-off.

The Guardian

press

The point of a phoenix, dark or otherwise, is that it rises from the flames. But these are the flames in which this franchise has finally gone down.

Stuff.co.nz (James Croot)

press

After the heights of Logan, this Phoenix really gives off the feeling of a franchise that has truly crashed and burned.

Still dislike X-Men Apocalypse more

Directed by Simon Kinberg, X-Men: Dark Phoenix is the 4th instalment to X-Men's Prequel series. With a solid start from X-Men: First Class, it is disappointing how could not finish as strong as they started.

This film focuses on Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) as she gets possessed by an unknown cosmic force, allowing her to become more powerful and dangerous as she slowly evolves into the Dark Phoenix.

Jean deals with an uncontrollable and dangerous power as well as her own personal demons brought from early childhood trauma, causing her to become a ticking time bomb throughout the whole film. Which doesn't sound too different from X-Men: The Last Stand (2006).

Throughout the middle of the film, there's a constant repetition of Jean Grey running away, being found and getting out of control. It begins to get a bit boring and slow. We get that she's dangerous but despite her all mighty power, she doesn't actually do as much damage to society than we thought she would.

With familiar characters such as Professor X and Magneto, something about these characters felt off compared to the previous Prequel films. Professor X (James McCavoy) was a selfish arse the whole time, becoming obsessed with wanting to protect humans in order to protect the reputation of mutants. Magneto (Michael Fassbender) had an odd personal motivation on suddenly wanting to seek revenge despite fighting so hard to leave that life behind. All in all, the performances were great, but the character arcs weren't as emotionally investing as I thought it would be. Just like Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), she felt the need to move on and maybe the actors themselves felt it too.

Characters such as Quicksilver, Storm, Nightcrawler, and Cyclops had their moments, but none of them really shone as much as I would have. Definitely wanted more Quicksilver!!

One major part of the film that left me yawning a bit were the aliens who are remaining survivors of the D'Bari Empire, led by Vul (Jessica Chastain) as they seek for the cosmic power of the Phoenix in order to rebuild their world. Kinda boring and for some odd reason didn't feel that threatened since it was predictable that Jean would resist the influence of the aliens and fight them off at the end.

I did, however, enjoy the 3rd act of the film since it picks ups a bit in pace and had some enjoyable action sequences that showcased the different powers of the mutants and their ability to work together as a team. I found out that they had to reshoot the 3rd act as a result as being similar to another superhero film (most likely Captain Marvel), so maybe that's why it got better towards the end.

To be honest, the movie is getting a lot of bad reviews and I'm not surprised. But I had such low expectations after the mess called 'Apocalypse' that I honestly lost interest with this franchise that when I watched it, I found it somewhat enjoyable.

Not the best way to end a franchise of almost 20 years, but I'm not mad and I'm excited about what they are going to do with these characters in the future.