MOVIE REVIEW: X-Men: Dark Phoenix
When the X-Men movie franchise first began almost 20 years ago, I very much enjoyed the series. While not perfect, it was thrilling some of our favorite comic book characters come to the screen. To this day, I still find X2: X-Men United and its thrilling opening sequence featuring Nightcrawler to be one of the best comic book movie sequences in movie history.
But, since that time, the X-Men franchise has had its hits and misses. Perhaps, X-Men: The Last Stand is seen as the low point with its less that stellar portrayal of the greatest events in comic book history - the Phoenix Saga. So, you could think that, with that kind of record, when Fox decided to retackle the story that it would pour its heart and soul into making this a faithful rendition.
Sadly, I have to tell you that X-Men: Dark Phoenix is the absolute worst in the X-Men franchise. In fact, it makes X-Men: The Last Stand feel like a masterpiece compared to it. I would actually rather watch X-Men: The Last Stand on a twelve hour loop than one hour of X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
It's a shame because I was really looking forward to the film. At the same time, I held very low expectations for the film at the same time. But, I had some hopes given the reshoots and delays to release the film that maybe they would be trying to make the film great.
Yet, almost everything irritated me about the film from the extremely boring story to the phoned in performances to the annoying score to the lackluster action sequences. I don't know how many times I rolled my eyes into the back of my head. Honestly, not even James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender could have saved this film.
Everyone was completely useless. Professor X couldn't seem to get it together. Beast quickly went from docile teacher to blood thirsty for Jean Grey's blood. Why were Storm and Cyclops in this movie at all? And what is this making all the villains heroes? Mystique is a hero. Magneto is a hero. I missed the old days when Magneto led his bad of Brotherhood of Evil Mutants! And what did ANY of this have to do with the Phoenix Saga?
Those of you who know me know I usually try to see the good side in any movie. But, I just can't with this one.
If you forced me to say ONE nice thing about this film, there was 30 seconds of the film that featured Dazzler that I was completely excited about. I would have loved to have seen more of that. I would have loved to have seen more of the students using their powers like we had in other films. Even if it was just for fan service like the Dazzler appearance was. We come from a new era of comic book films in which Avengers: Endgame is the gold standard and its final sequence featuring hero upon hero upon hero using their powers. The thing that makes the X-Men so great is there are so many of them with so many diverse powers. But, we barely saw any of them. They even sidelined one of their best - Peter Evans's Quicksilver - toward the beginning of the film.
The New Mutants will be the last film in the Fox era X-Men films and, given X-Men: Dark Phoenix, I think everybody will be quite ready for Marvel Studios to have these characters come home and given the treatment they deserve. Hopefully, one day, we will see the Phoenix Saga we want to see.