It’s Not The Worst X-Men Movie, We Swear: A Review of 'X-Men: Dark Phoenix'
Let’s not mince words. X-Men: Dark Phoenix is not very good. But if you’re a fan of the Fox-produced franchise, you know deep inside that you have to watch it up to the bitter end.
By the way, spoiler alert! You've been warned!
Before we go any further, let it be known that despite the negative reviews, Dark Phoenix is NOT the worst movie in the franchise. That (dis)honor belongs to X-Men Origins: Wolverine. So, at the very least, you can take that with you when you see the movie.
The movie is set a couple of decades after X-Men: Apocalypse. Charles Xavier’s school for gifted mutants is bustling. The X-Men and the mutant community in general are well-accepted by the masses to the point of Xavier having a direct line to the US president himself. When in a pinch, the president calls the X-Men to help him. One such moment is when a space shuttle mission encounters a problem with an intense solar flare. The X-Men is composed of Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), Hank (Nicholas Hoult), Ororo (Alexandra Shipp), Kurt (Kodi Smit-McPhee), Peter (Evan Peters), Scott (Tye Sheridan), and Jean (Sophie Turner). Everyone seems cool with it except for Raven who thinks that they might be losing sight of their original goals.
Jean successfully rescues all the astronauts but the thing they thought was a solar flare somehow gravitates towards her. Jean’s body absorbs the mysterious energy and the X-Men, for a quick second, think that she might be in danger. But upon their return, Jean feels better than ever. That is until she suffers an outburst of energy and accidentally erases the memory blocks that Xavier put in decades ago. Her bad memories and emotions start flooding in and thus, the Dark Phoenix is released and the X-Men must face facts. Do they need to kill Jean Grey?
In a different timeline, X-Men: Dark Phoenix might have been better. Good even. But on the heels of Avengers: Endgame, it was bound to be subject to much scrutiny. The rumored rush rewrites and reshoots definitely affected the story. Director Simon Kinberg valiantly attempts to add a bit of horror to the movie but is unsuccessful in making it more coherent.
Like X-Men: The Last Stand (which also used the Dark Phoenix saga as source material), Dark Phoenix is plagued with having two conflicting storylines aside from Jean Grey’s story. The latter was a cure for mutants, the former an alien body-snatchers invasion type of deal. In fairness to them, translating the original story is pretty hard. It involved the genocide of an alien species and the seduction of Jean Grey. So yeah, pretty weird stuff.
But, beyond this, what made the Dark Phoenix saga compelling in comics is the way the characters were personified and were made really human. X-Men: Dark Phoenix didn’t give us enough time to care for Jean Grey and her pals. Personally, I’ve always hated that they didn’t have costumes that matched their comic book origins. If they looked more like their comic counterparts, I might have cared a bit more.
Alas, this is the movie we have. And frankly, the impending rumored reboot courtesy of Disney, more or less killed any chance of making this film into something special. But, again, any X-Men fan, casual or die-hard, should go and see this movie. It’s basically the funeral pyre for an almost 20-year-old movie franchise. Let us pay our respects to the franchise that kick-started the superhero movie industry. The X-Men are dead. Long live the X-Men!
Watch X:Men: Dark Phoenix at the Director’s Club by SM Cinema as it takes watching movies up a notch with its La-Z-Boy chairs, in-your-seat butler service and state-of-the-art projection system. Snack Time also offers a wide array of food including Bacon-wrapped German Frank Sandwich, Aloha Hotdog Sandwich, Cheeseburger, Beef Nachos and Flavored Fries that make the moviegoing experience extra fun.
The movie is now showing at SM Cinema’s 64 branches, or at IMAX and Director’s Club Cinemas nationwide. Book your tickets through the website, www.smcinema.com or download the SM Cinema mobile app. You can also follow SM Cinema on Facebook and @SM_Cinema on Instagram for updates. Satisfy your cravings at Snack Time, the official food concessionaire of SM Cinema, which offers a wide array of snacks like popcorn, hotdogs and burgers to complement your movie watching experience. Follow Snack Time on Facebook for more information.
Photos from 20th Century Fox