It’s not the fact that X Men: Dark Phoenix is so poor that’s upsetting – it’s that the franchise had the perfect opportunity to bow out with one of the greatest Marvel films ever – Logan – a truly fitting end for the X Men’s biggest character and strand of the MCU that has had more ups and downs than Deadpool’s backside.
In its 18 year run, which has brought us a dozen movies, there has been arguably less than half a dozen that can stand up alongside it’s Marvel cousins. That’s a very poor strike rate indeed.
Given the pedigree of the stars in Dark Phoenix, it is difficult to work out why the writing is so bad[/caption]
Instead, in the search for a Young Adult shill, we’ve had a ridiculously mixed reboot of X Men, with such a respected heavyweight cast (McAvoy, Lawrence, Fassbender), it’s difficult to surmise why the writing has always been allowed to be so bad.
They have never ‘nailed’ this offshoot series at all, leading to some absolute shambles such as the recent Apocalypse.
Dark Phoenix does nothing to salvage the legacy, with a juddering, shambolic storyline, non-existent characterisation and little excitement.
It’s 1992 and Jean Grey (Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner), gets blasted by a force of mysterious rays whilst on a mission to save some astronauts – this makes her the most powerful mutant alive (Dark Phoenix) – beyond the reaches of even Charles Xavier (James McAvoy).
What she chooses to do with those powers is the heartbeat of the film – they could be controlled and put to good use, or she could succumb to her anger (it also dislodges some forgotten family memories) and wreck havoc. Spoiler: she doesn’t have a cup of tea and a chat about her feelings.
This drawn-out temper tantrum (during which no-one attempts to calm by explaining what actually happened in her past, which would instantly diffuse the situation) is muddied by the arrival of an albino looking Jessica Chastain as… hell I don’t even know – I don’t think the bad bad guys were even introduced or explained – basically they look like Groot and arrived on earth to do something bad or something.
This splits the other X Men into two camps – Magneto and a few pals want to kill Jean (she has done something quite sad to cause this) whilst the others want to persuade her to not blow things up, whilst throughout the President of the United States gets cross and blocks the X Men on his phone.
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Rewrites, reshoots, editing hell and not enough meat on the bones in the first place has turned what could have been a good, female focused reboot for Young Adults into a weak mess with neither a character or plot line to pin any hope onto.
Not one of the mediocre storylines compliment the other – and not even the heavyweight stars can hide the look of apathy.
Talk about limping to the finish line.
X Men: Dark Phoenix (12A)