Following the under-performance of X-Men: Apocalypse, Dark Phoenix could well be the final nail in the coffin that makes its new owners press the reset button and let Marvel inject some mutant power to reignite the Phoenix to rise from the flames. Unlike The Last Stand, however, Dark Phoenix finally introduces an incarnation of the X-Men that feel like the classic superheroes whose adventures we've followed for years.
Have you heard that Game of Thrones' Sophie Turner, who plays Jean Grey in Dark Phoenix, and Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams, who plays Wolfsbane in the upcoming The New Mutants, wish their characters could have a buddy film? The first two Wolverine films (X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Wolverine) also fit - at least, if you squint. It reaches for the somber, climactic tone of Avengers: Endgame and completely fails to achieve it.
Even before X-Men: The Last Stand, Simon Kinberg demonstrated an evident grasp of genre film, earning writing credits on xXx: State of the Union and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. But for a series supposedly dedicated to the pleasure of superhero movies, "Dark Phoenix" somehow ends up illustrating their limits.
"Dark Phoenix", a 20th Century Fox release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for "intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action including some gunplay, disturbing images, and brief strong language". "The other characters, including Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), and Magneto (Michael Fassbender), are just there to serve as set dressing, and accordingly, majority give performances as wooden as the mahogany furniture lining Xavier's mansion", added Han.
It is the 1990s, and even as the team attempt to embrace their newfound acceptance within society, their close bond is about to be shattered when Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) merges with a odd, extraterrestrial force, one that boosts her already strong abilities to previously unknown levels. Some of her former colleagues, notably Magneto, want to kill her. Others, notably Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), main man of the X-Men, wants to deprogram and save her.
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This movie undoubtedly suffered for reshoots, which, it turns out, were done to avoid similarities to another superhero movie. I'm also curious if Marvel might attempt a massive 4K box set with all their movies for serious collectors, but the price point on that may be a little too high.
Dark Phoenix opens on a suspiciously positive note. Everyone explains their motivations and objectives, but there is no real breathing room anywhere in the movie. When she was young, she'd hear about an Ebola outbreak and go off hunting it in her MOPP suit. We barely get a chance to even understand what the Phoenix Force is before the plot is in full gear. This detail came from Sophie Turner and Jessica Chastain who shared how many changes were happening the night before scenes were being filmed by writer and director Simon Kinberg.
As Jean spirals out of control and falls under the influence of Vuk, the other mutants scramble to bring her back into the "good guy" fold. Turner hasn't been around long enough to build up audience affection, and nothing in Dark Phoenix reaches beyond surface-level interest to create investment now.
As for getting Gregg back in action given his busy schedule not only acting but helming S.H.I.E.L.D. episodes (he directs Season 6's premiere), she added: "Scheduling our incredible successful actors is always a challenge but Clark and his people made it possible for us to have him and we were better for it".
Also seeking Jean is a group of aliens in human form, who know the source of that odd energy and want it for themselves.