Dark Phoenix lacks fire

2019-06-13 15:33

X-Men: Dark Phoenix
Director: Simon Kinberg
Starring: Sophie Turner, James McAvoy

One of the X-Men comic books’ most famous storylines, that of Jean Grey (Sophie Turner from Game of Thrones), is changed after a space mission and begins a downward spiral into anger and dangerous power. While mutants from both sides try to contain her, another unknown threat looms over Earth.

While it may easily be one of the best and darkest stories from the comic books, it’s quite lazy that the X-franchise is being finalised on a story that’s been done before with a character – Turner – that we haven’t had a chance to grow to care about.

Nevertheless, Turner is a damn good actress as Jean and the emotional trauma does hit home.

Unfortunately, the holes in X-Men: Dark Phoenix are big and many. The fact that Fox decided to give the final ode to one of its biggest franchises to a first-time director blows the mind, and his inexperience shows.

Simon Kinberg may be the longstanding producer of all the rebooted X-Men movies, including Logan and Deadpool, but it’s not the same as taking the creative reins to bring a story to life.

Besides Turner, the younger cast’s acting chops come out a little too well done, with the film makers casting aside their most charismatic character, Quicksilver, to only a handful of scenes.

The villain, played by Jessica Chastain, might not be as nondescript as Apocalypse’s En Sabah Nur, but she still doesn’t have much of any personality.

Loose threads lie all over the place, the story constantly tripping over them, and the end is so stupidly simple it does a major disservice to Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr’s complicated relationship and the sacrifices made by the principal characters.

It glosses over the effect the events in the movie had on mutants’ precarious stance in society – one of the cores of the X-Men franchise.

For those of you who grew up with the X-Men, original and rebooted, you should go and watch Dark Phoenix just to say goodbye.

Who knows what plans Marvel has (cough ... Storm’s origin story with Black Panther ... please cough).

We can only hope that they revitalise the needed message of a group of heroes fighting for a world that hates them, yet believes against hope in a better future for all.

  • Edited for length. This review first appeared on Channel24

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January 12 2020