Dark Phoenix Review

Dark Phoenix Teaser Poster

The “Dark Phoenix” saga is one of the most well-known and beloved X-Men storylines ever. Still, to this day, the best adaptation of that storyline has come from the 90s animated series. Regardless, Brett Ratner attempted to bring the story to life in 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand. Unfortunately, for everyone who saw it, the film was a complete disaster. Many consider that film to be one of the worst films in the entire franchise. Yet the failure of The Last Stand isn’t going to stop Simon Kinberg from telling the story himself. But is Dark Phoenix the film that X-Men fans have been waiting for?

Nope!

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but Hollywood is now 0-2 when it comes to the “Dark Phoenix” saga. There are several outside factors that could be behind the film’s failures, but the fact of the matter is that the film is still a failure.

Dark Phoenix follows Jean Grey, who gets hit by a cosmic force which turns her into one of the most powerful mutants of all. With Jean spiraling out of control, the X-Men must face the hard truth that their greatest enemy is one of their own.

Dark Phoenix - James McAvoy, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tye Sheridan, and Alexandra Shipp

So what went wrong with Dark Phoenix again? Well, for one thing, you have to realize is that this isn’t an X-Men film, this is Jean Grey’s movie. That’s why the word X-Men is missing from the official title. Also, you have to realize that Dark Phoenix is not your typical superhero film either. Dark Phoenix is actually more of a character drama than a straight-up sci-fi action film. So don’t expect to see a film with a ton of exciting and action-packed scenes.

For a character drama though, the film doesn’t evoke enough emotion for us to care about what’s going on. Although you’ve grown with these characters over the years, you don’t care about them as much as you think you do. Jean Grey’s extremely dangerous and you wonder whether or not she’s actually going to kill any of our heroes. But when it comes to the point where you think she’ll kill someone, you honestly don’t care.

In this muddled storyline, Simon Kinberg decided to add more characters by adding Vuk to the film. Unfortunately for Jessica Chastain, Vuk’s storyline is entirely forgettable. In fact, if you take her one-dimensional character out of the film, it wouldn’t make much of a difference. Yes, sadly that means Jessica Chastain is completely wasted here. If that weren’t enough, she barely shows up in the film too. When she does, you don’t really care about her or her cause. She’s just there.

If that wasn’t enough, there are quite a number of laughable moments in the film as well. Which is fine if it was supposed to be funny but in this case, they’re not supposed to be. Several times an actor would say a terrible line and a serious moment would instead become a funny one.

Much of that has to do with the actors themselves. A number of actors seemingly just phoned it in—most notably Jennifer Lawrence. It’s as if a majority of the cast just didn’t care anymore and just gave a bunch of wooden performances. As a result of the bad performances, it put the spotlight on the terrible dialogue.

But there are a few exceptions though. One of them is James McAvoy. He’s seemingly become accustomed to the franchise’s fatherly figure. He’s warm, caring, and actually shows quite a bit of emotion too. Then there’s Sophie Turner who gives the film much of its (limited) emotion. This is an emotional journey and she runs with it.

Despite all of these massive issues, at least the film is pretty. To his credit, Simon Kinberg has a nice visual flair. Some of the very few action scenes in the film are actually exciting to watch too—mostly coming from Magneto and Nightcrawler. Nevertheless, they’re still fun to watch. Not to mention, the camera work by Mauro Fiore is spectacular.

But overall, those small positives don’t outweigh all of the negatives. It a shame because that means that the “Dark Phoenix” saga is once again wasted on another terrible film. Yes, it is better than X-Men: The Last Stand but that’s not saying much. Maybe it’s a good thing that Marvel Studios is taking over the X-Men franchise because they may be the only ones who can successfully adapt the Dark Phoenix saga. Help us Marvel Studios, you’re our only hope.

Rating: 2/5 atoms

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