To call Dark Phoenix a bad film is a straight up insult to bad films. This film is an abomination. Hindered by reshoots, last second plot changes, and a cast that looked like they were chomping at the bit to leave this franchise behind. It’s a sad note to leave the X-Men Franchise on. After all, if it wasn’t for the success of the original X-Men film we wouldn’t have the crop of never ending superhero films we have today.
Simon Kinberg is a first time director taking on the most prolific X-Men…comic book storyline of all time. The Dark Phoenix Saga is scripture. It’s a long, drawn out story of an innocent girl’s transition into a powerful woman and how that affects all those around her, enemy and friend alike. She doesn’t instantly turn evil, it’s a gradual change in the character. Like Jean, The Phoenix force is taken advantage of and twisted into something evil.
So clearly Kinberg was out of his depth. And it showed. The actors in this film just do not seem to want to be there. Jennifer Lawrence, outgrew her character after First Class. But now she has just outgrown this franchise. She was clearly very eager to have an early exit from this film.
For a franchise who’s character was so pivotal to the later half of the series, Mystique is given an unceremonious death very early on. But it doesn’t stop there. Another character, who became a fan favorite, Evan Peters’ Quicksilver, is quickly shelved and we don’t see him again until the end of the film.
As bad as that all sounds, it only gets worse. At the heart of the Dark Phoenix saga is the love story between Scott Summers and Jean Grey. Theirs is one of the epic romances of the Marvel Universe. Sadly it’s never really been developed in any of the X-Films. Instead, we are thrown into this film supposed to be already assuming Jean and Scott have been together for some time. Sophie Turner and Tye Sheridan lack any kind of chemistry and come across less convincing than Zack and Kelly from Saved By The Bell. I like both the actors in other things, its just in the X-Films they are both very underutilized. And what is it with Fox always feeling the need to put Phoenix in a coat and give her weird looking veins on her face? She’s not a witch, she’s a cosmic entity with one of the best costumes ever made:
Speaking of the costumes, they are horrible. Instead of the cool 90s inspired costumes shown at the end of X-Men Apocalypse we get these really goofy looking Frank Quitley inspired costumes that look like the cheap X-Men Halloween costumes you buy if you couldn’t get the real thing.
The biggest disservice has to be what the story does to Charles Xavier. They turn him into a glory-seeking, self-absorbed egomaniac who will put his students in danger just to get the applause and recognition of the media. He is in a lot of ways the main antagonist of the film. He is the reason the X-Men are put into danger to the point of Jean getting possessed by the Phoenix.
Now, as for the actual protagonists, there isn’t much to say. Jessica Chastain and her group of alien invaders want to kill the Phoenix but also want her power? They are never given a name but they are shown they can shapeshift into other people (like the Skrulls from Captain Marvel). And they are bulletproof sometimes. They are kind of just there to fight the X-Men at the end of the film, on a train. That’s pretty much their story.
The entire ending, which originally was supposed to take place in space, takes place on a train due to the massive reshoots that pushed the film back for months. Rumor is, their big final fight scene in space was too similar to the final scene in Captain Marvel. So they had to change it.
By the end of the film, you don’t care about these characters, you are done with their stories and you are happy that they will one day be done much better by Marvel Studios and Disney.
This last film in the X-Men film franchise did the impossible. It made me not hate X-Men The Last Stand. HipsterZOMBIEJoint gives Dark Phoenix a low 2 out of 10.