“The mind is a fragile thing. Takes only the slightest tap to tip it in the wrong direction.”
Dark Phoenix is the newest X-Men installment, and tells the story of X-Men member Jean Grey as she is infected with a gargantuan power that she struggles to handle. But as Jean is conflicted with this extreme power, she must choose to embrace it, or let it go. The later action being encouraged by mysterious figures who want this power for themselves. You can go into detail about the continuity of the X-Men franchise, or the lack of execution in the story of Jean Grey. But to be honest, the brunt of my complaints go to the writing and the performances from the actors.
Dark Phoenix…could it be that we’ve seen this story before? X-Men: The Last Stand dealt with the complicated powers of Jean Grey. But what Dark Phoenix had the opportunity to do is display a “darker” version of this story, or at least excel at places where Last Stand couldn’t. I guess it was wishful thinking on our part as Dark Phoenix failed to do either. This film began to go nowhere fast. The cast of this film has been able to exhibit incredible performances throughout their career, which judging from recent trailers, they’ll continue to offer us some incredible performances. But somewhere along the lines of filming, the cast just phoned in their performances. When you have a cast that includes James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jessica Chastain, you an 85% chance that a decent film will be handed to you on a silver platter. However, each of their performances was completely bland. I got extremely tired of watching this film by the end. It made me extremely frustrated how scenes with these talented actors could end up being unwatchable. Not to mention director Simon Kinberg’s inability to recognize a bad performance from his actors, or finding the narrative inconsistencies while filming. As for Sophie Turner who played Jean, there was nothing worth noting about her performance. However, I don’t blame Turner, but rather the writing that didn’t do Jean any favors.
We can go off on the whole inconsistencies with the ages of the main characters, but to be honest, I couldn’t care less. The Dark Phoenix story that’s at the center of this bland film couldn’t help but be constantly repetitive. The whole storyline of Jean Grey’s “what have I done” reaction to several events, showed its face in almost every scene. When comparing Dark Phoenix to The Last Stand, I can’t say that Last Stand is any better. The problem with Last Stand was its incredible sappiness involving the main characters. There is a bit of sappiness mostly involving Grey and her beau, Cyclops, but the majority of the film suffers due to Dark Phoenix’s ineffective writing. For the studio to give the go ahead on such a poor script is completely mind-boggling to me.
Dark Phoenix had the potential to be a great superhero movie, but not only one element of the filmmaking process fell apart, but multiple situations, which resulted in an incredibly uninteresting film. In a film that marks the end of the legendary franchise since we’ve known it from 2000, Dark Phoenix should have ended Fox’s take on the franchise with a bang. But sadly, all we’re left with is the bitterness after seeing a film that refused to put any effort into it.
Directed by: Simon Kinberg
Starring: Sophie Turner, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jessica Chastain