It’s hard to create an ‘epic’ superhero movie right after the release of what’s arguably THE most epic superhero movie of all time just a little over a month ago. Nevertheless, if you can’t beat your competitors, join them–as many would say.
After Disney obtained the acquisition rights for Fox, the former announced that Dark Phoenix would be the last movie in the X-Men franchise under Fox (yay!). Therefore, there was nothing much to look forward to. Not to mention, the abysmal Apocalypse made pretty evident that Fox themselves didn’t know where they were going with the X-Men franchise.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix is an adaption of Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s comic storyline The Dark Phoenix Saga, and it follows the journey of Jean Grey (played by Sophie Turner) as she battles the Phoenix Force, a cosmic entity from outer space that has possessed her… which is really weird because what was that at the end of Apocalypse then?
One of the many problems of the movie is the point of the movie itself! In the previous rebooted X-Men movies, Jean Grey was barely in the movies and now, all of a sudden, she’s the main character who’s supposed to bring an epic close to this franchise? It’s confusing and, well, undeserving. Either way, as much as she is the main character, we hardly get to see her struggles and inner conflict with the Phoenix Force.
Supposed emotional moments also land flat due to limited development of the relationships between different characters in the movie. Who knew Mystique and Jean Grey were best buds? The movie blatantly tells you that certain characters have strong relationships with each other but you don’t really buy into that idea because both the movie and the franchise had never explored these relationships previously.
The cast is one of the salvaging factors of the film, but even they look like they’re done with these pointless sequels.
Michael Fassbender who plays Magneto goes through the same arc as he does in every movie since Days of Future Past: good guy to bad guy to okay-ish good guy. Jessica Chastain is a huge waste as she was paid to have just a single expression throughout the entire film (by no fault of hers).
The rest of the supporting cast are just there to shoot lightning bolts or to teleport themselves… hopefully out of this movie.
The action scenes and villains of the film are uninteresting, the villains being your standard one dimensional alien race (D’Bari) who pretty much just serve as a plot device for the X-Men to unite.
All in all, X-Men: Dark Phoenix leaves us with close to no knowledge about the Dark Phoenix. It feels like a movie that the producers and everybody else were just happy to have gotten over and done with, made with visible hopes of attaining grandeur but lacking any of the ambition or desire needed to get there.
Nonetheless, the movie’s bare saving grace is that it still possesses the foundations of a basic plot structure, which prevents things from plummeting to ‘unbearable’ levels.