DARK PHOENIX – A Review by John Strange
After watching this film, I gave the following quote, “darkly wonderful.” Since that night, I have thought long and hard about this film. The film’s virtues are few and the problems myriad.
Dark Phoenix finds the X-Men in a good relationship with mankind as they diligently work for the common good as superheroes. But that relationship is very fragile. Only their successes keep them safe.
On a mission to save the crew of a U.S. space shuttle (Endeavour, to be specific), the X-Men work together to save all of the astronauts but Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) is injured when the cosmic force which damaged the shuttle overtakes her in the shuttle before she can return to the Blackbird (also known as the X-Jet).
Rather than dying as everyone expected, Jean absorbed the alien energy but doing so left her floating in space unconscious following the shuttle’s complete disintegrated. Kurt Wagner / Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), using the same teleporting ability he used to save the astronauts, jumps to Jean’s side and brings her back aboard the X-Jet.
The nation is thrilled that the X-Men saved the day. But unknown to the team and the world, aliens were pursuing the force. Their agenda is swiftly shown to be inimical to mankind.
The actions of these aliens are originally mistaken for the actions of the mutants, turning the world against the X-Men and all mutants. Soon the X-Men are fighting two sides in this triangular war.
The battle lines drawn, even Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and his people are forced into the fight, aligning their interests for the first time with Charles Xavier / Professor X (James McAvoy) and the X-Men. But are their combined powers enough to stop the aliens and protect Jean? Does Jean even need defending?
I loved seeing the various characters that I grew up with. I think that Jessica Chastain’s turn as an alien (queen?) is brilliant in its simplicity. Scott Summers / Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) is wimpy in this script but Hank McCoy / Beast (Nicholas Hoult) has better lines (and more lines) than I remember seeing him have in all 13 films.
Is Dark Phoenix a great film? Sadly, for a film touted as the end of a series, it really isn’t. It has good action sequences and some powerful individual scenes but the overall film works hard just to reach our B- rating. Rabid fans the X-Men are not going to be real happy with this film though at least this time Jean transforms due to a power overload rather than drowning in a flooding lakebed.
Directed by: Simon Kinberg
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Evan Peters, Jessica Chastain
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action including some gunplay, disturbing images, and brief strong language)
Selig Rating: B-
Runtime: 113 Min.
Movie Site: www.foxmovies.com/movies/dark-phoenix
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.