- James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Sophie Turner
- Simon Kinberg
- Simon Kinberg
- PG (Canada), PG-13 (United States)
- Running Time
- 113 minutes
- Release Date
- June 7th, 2019
For our earlier review of Dark Phoenix, click here.
So this is the end and oh what an end it was! With Disney’s acquisition of Fox and its assets, it was inevitable that this current X-Men franchise had to come to an end. At this point, it shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise that instead of giving the franchise and its characters the send-off that they deserve, they put them in a lazy, incoherent, and slapped-together mess of a narrative that the series has already tried and failed to adapt previously in the critically-panned The Last Stand. Guess what? The very same writer of The Last Stand is back to write Dark Phoenix while also directing a film for the first time. Dark Phoenix was definitely not an improvement over The Last Stand and the fact that this film was directed by a first-time director showed.
Both those facts are very apparent over the course of the film as it could never seem to get off the ground. This hamfisted story was a heavy mess full of unrealized themes and subplots that seemingly went nowhere, leaving the actual plot as an underdeveloped afterthought. Over the course of the film, this adds up and makes it, as a whole, a eyerollingly empty, pointless, and useless experience for which many will find dull and not worth caring about. While many are already familiar with the Dark Phoenix storyline, Dark Phoenix shoehorns another lackluster villain named Vuk (Jessica Chastain) while using a rushed and unearned tragedy in the death of Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) as its driving force to only distract from what the main story should have been.
Meanwhile with so much else already going on, the actual subject of the Dark Phoenix storyline, Jean Grey (Turner), is made almost irrelevant in her own story to the point of not caring about her and her inner struggle. With absolutely nothing going on throughout its near 2 hour running time, Dark Phoenix easily becomes a chore to watch as it crams enough plot for multiple films. Leading up to the film’s release, it has also been reported that the end of the film had to be re-shot as its original ending was too similar to other recent superhero films (Captain America: Civil War and Captain Marvel). Suffice it to say that the contrived ending that the film ended up on would stick out from the rest of the film for the wrong reasons.
On a technical level, Dark Phoenix was just as disappointing. Besides its epic score, which was the best part of the film despite not even matching the action on screen, its overuse of cheap-looking special effects was distracting. The film perhaps featured fewer action sequences than past X-Men films but the ones present here were so poorly shot and edited and along with the questionable special effects were devoid of any excitement.
While the majority of the film was lackluster at best, its worst offense was its truly atrocious script. The story was a mess and the laughably bad dialog was painful and occasionally cringeworthy to watch. The actors across the board arguably tried, however, the script would have an adverse effect on the performances as a whole. McAvoy and Fassbender and their excellent chemistry as Charles Xavier and Magneto respectively has consistently been the best part of the X-Men franchise post First Class and this was still the case here despite having their talents wasted. At the end of the day, the film was called Dark Phoenix which put Turner’s Jean Grey front and center. Unfortunately for her, for reasons which were not entirely her fault, Turner could never quite carry the emotional weight of her character arc, delivering a wooden performance as Grey.
*still courtesy of 20th Century Fox*