Dark Phoenix, the same story is getting a big-budget cinematic universe

Toby Graves
June 6, 2019

Sure, there are some fights - majority internecine, as various X-Men start to doubt the leadership of Charles, a powerful clairvoyant who is revealed to have tinkered with Jean's mind as a child.

"I actually would say that the Dark Phoenix idea was was set up in the end of Days of Future Past". The events of Apocalypse (which fell flatter for me than it did for IGN's reviewer, Daniel Krupa) that seemed to trigger the awakening of her Phoenix powers are simply ignored here in favor of a celestial force that inhabits her during a rescue mission in space. But her abilities are more than a fair match for Jean's crackling rage - which the expressive Turner does her best to embody, though she seems doomed to spend most of the movie either on the run or involuntarily zapping things.

The real fireworks erupt in a confrontation with Jean, with fatal consequences for one X-favourite, a belly full of guilt for Grey and a divided determination to kill/save her from the X-crew. Charles Xavier's (James McAvoy) mission of giving mutants a place in the world has largely succeeded.

However, 2006's The Last Stand was a turkey and something X-Men producer - and now director of Dark Phoenix - Simon Kinberg wanted to get right.

Hardcore fans would surely appreciate the scenes where each of their beloved mutants would showcase their powers, but there are also scenes focused mainly on how each of the X-Men are trying their hardest not to use their powers against each other.

With Jean spiraling out of control, and hurting the ones she loves most, she begins to unravel the very fabric that holds the X-Men together. They suffer not much, of course, but I can't be the only one watching relentless scenes of intended slaughter in "Dark Phoenix" and thinking, well, I may be done rooting for the species with all the guns. Additionally, fans have often complained that Wolverine's appearances have unfairly hogged the spotlight from Scott, the X-Men's true leader. But while that's all fine, I'm preoccupied with the new leather costumes the X-Men are outfitted. However, it would be a little weird to see the 50-year-old Jackman compete with Tye Sheridan's Cyclops for the affections of the now 23-year-old Sophie Turner. The Phoenix force itself is left unexplored and hazily defined, essentially the outer space equivalent of a killer shark on the prowl or a demon looking for a soul to possess. Simon Kinberg has to take a mulligan for squandering her talent. There are a few moments and shots that are nice, but unfortunately, Dark Phoenix just comes across as a hastily made mess.

However, since Dark Phoenix is marking the last of the Fox era's main X-Men movies, you might have wondered if Hugh Jackman will reprise Wolverine for a cameo, similar to his appearances in First Class and Apocalypse. In a sense, Dark Phoenix is the ideal median of the massively uneven X-Men franchise: a middle-of-the-road superhero film that will be remembered for its lost potential. A lot of them are related to continuity issues that have plagued the franchise ever since The First Stand ended. Even in the cruddiest X-Men movies, there's usually at least one or two fun sequences where the mutants show off their powers. But the most indefensible performance comes from Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique. It's this emotional conflict that could very well tear the X-Men apart.

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