Movie review: X-men Dark Phoenix

Release date: 5th of June 2019 (UK)

Director: Simon Kinberg

Cast:

Dark Phoenix is the latest and last of the new ‘First Class’ X-men films to hit the big screen earlier this month. It concludes the ‘Dark phoenix Saga’ as it is only called by the writers, and attempts to recreate the original timeline from the disastrously received X-men 3: The Last Stand. If you’re confused about this I’ll take the time to briefly update you. So far there have been 12 movies under the umbrella or featuring the X-men. In order there are:

  • X-men (2000)
  • X-2 (2003)
  • X-men: The Last Stand (2006)
  • X-men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
  • X-men: First Class (2011)
  • The Wolverine (2013)
  • X-men: Days of Future Past (2014)
  • Deadpool (2016)
  • X-men: Apocalypse (2016)
  • Logan (2017)
  • Deadpool 2 (2018)
  • X-men: Dark Phoenix (2019)

The original group of films was a trilogy, ending with X-men: The Last Stand. This movie has gone down in infamy for ruining the franchise for Fox and as such it’s not surprising it took five years before they felt ready to try again. This time, they decided to look at a young Professor Xavier and Magento as they meet and attempt to set up a school for gifted children. Everything is going well so far. However, they threw that continuity out of the window almost immediately by releasing Days of Future Past – therefore making both the original and the new time line cannon for the film franchise.

If that’s confusing here’s why: in DoFP mutants have been all but hunted down and killed in a terrible future that follows on from the original trilogy ending. As such, they ask Wolverine to go back in time and try and prevent the series of events which led to this eventual destruction: the dead of a scientist whom created the creates that hunt the mutants now. His death sparked a revolution and we have our eventual timeline. Let’s ignore the fact it doesn’t quite make sense. Wolverine goes back in time to the 60s and ends up helping Xavier and Magneto prevent Mystique from murdering the dude in question. Awesome. Then he goes back to the future and the future is changed? No…that’s not how multiverse theory works. He actually would be returning to the original timeline he was in but creating another alternate timeline where everything is hunky dory. Apocalypse follows on from this and we finally get to meet Nightcrawler and Storm in their younger versions.

So by the time we get to X-men: Dark phoenix we essentially have the same plotline as X-men 3 but a lot earlier and less ridicilous in some concepts.

Summary: Jean and the other X-men go on a mission into space to rescue some astronauts. The mutants have become generally accepted and their existence in the world is known, they’re even heroes and have action figures. However, something goes wrong on this mission and Jean is hit by a cosmic entity which seems to awaken unknown power within her.

Okay, here’s the review and look out for SPOILERS!

This movie is pretty much a rehash of the original X-3, which is a shame because I freaking loved the First Class series. However, since Fox has been bought by Marvel this is their last movie and I guess they had to squish all the plot points into one movie. The general concept is the same: Xavier suppressed Jean’s memories when she was a child and now she’s super powerful she’s remembering that she accidentally killed (maybe not so accidentally actually) her mother and father. Well, turns out her father didn’t die and gave her to Xavier. There are also aliens who are chasing the cosmic power that Jean has absorbed. They are pretty creepy and kill humans to then take on their identities. The main lady (alien thing) is called Vuk. I don’t have any recollection of her name from the actual movie…just the IMDB page where I checked her name.

They’re trying to use this destructive power to repopulate Earth with their species. So not very ideal for the people of Earth. They’re super creepy and heavily reminded me of a mixture between the aliens from Knowing (2009) and the Bonies from Warm Bodies (2013).

Angels Knowing GIF - Angels Knowing Aliens GIFs
I found this gif here. All right belong to the original creators.
I found this still at John’s Horror Corner from Warm Bodies (2013). All rights belong to the original creators.

So essentially they’re super creepy and it was a really odd addition to the whole plot-line. Jean basically has a bit of a melt down and hurts some people at the academy so of course, what do you do when you’re emotionall unstable and unable to control your powers? Knock out your boyfriend and run away! Correct.

Oh, that’s not the way to do it? Oops. Well, that’s exactly what Jean does. She pretty much spends most of the movie feeling sorry for herself and being an emo teen crying in the rain. Literally. There are quite a few tantrums too and she switches her allegiance and opinions like a roulette which was hard to follow. Jean’s character doesn’t get much of a chance to develop as everything is happening around and to her, rather than her having any real agency of her own. She’d rather just have a sulk and have total disregard for what may be affecting others and how they feel. Especially their safety. Apparently every hero has a dark side, according to the Dark phoenix posters though…so why am I surprised?

It was nice to see a bit more of Nightcrawler and Storm, though their screen-time was extremely limited, especially as a lot of random characters were introduced only to be killed off and I feel the screen-time could have been better spent on existing characters. I did enjoy seeing Xavier have to battle with things going wrong and not knowing what to do, which kind of COULD tie-into the Logan plot-line? I will say that certain plot elements don’t fit with either the original X3 timeline OR the new timeline from DoFP. At the end we see Wolverine in the academy and Jean and Scott etc. are there and everyone is fine. But…that timeline doesn’t fit the timeline we’re given from the end of the movie. So, since there aren’t more movies to come…it kind of sucks. I’m dubbing it to be another 3rd timeline alternative version of X3’s timeline instead. Or something.

‘Days of Future Past’ still, (Daily Express).

There is one death scene in the movie and I did think that was amazingly done and really emotional, especially the aftermath. It was handled better than a lot of other movie deaths, in my opinion. I’ve heard that there were quite a few scenes cut from the movie and I’m looking forward to watching the home release and see if my opinion of the movie changes at all based on that.

Overall rating: 6/10. Either way, this movie isn’t the best X-men movie I’ve seen, but it is far from the worst. Okay, not that far, but definitely better than the Wolverine spin offs (other than Logan) and original X3. Maybe I’d save your money and wait until it’s out on DVD to watch it, as the release is being pulled from cinemas already. So if you do want to catch it, I’d hurry.

  • Characterisation: 7/10
  • Costume: 8/10 generally very accurate to the time period and nice to see they thought about it.
  • Plot: 4/10. Kind of a rehash and rushed but there were some great parts.
  • Action sequences: 6/10 Pretty good and enjoyable, a really cool train fight. Very Uncharted! However, not the best they can do.

What did you think of the movie: do you think it was a good ending to the franchise, or were you disappointed? Are you planning on watching it or just skipping? Let me know your thoughts down below, and don’t forget to hit New Game + to follow the blog!

Dark Phoenix is showing in cinemas worldwide now! Happy viewing.

“A phoenix will rise.”

-Inkspit-

One thought on “Movie review: X-men Dark Phoenix

  1. The story-telling was shabby and so many plot loopholes. especially when this phase is ending! But the cinematography was dope! And I can’t stress enough just how much I loved Michael Fassbender! OMG! And James McAvoy of course.
    😀

    Like

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