Trying to fall in love with film again.

'X-Men Dark Phoenix' is the end of a series with HIGH-highs, LOW-lows and everything in between.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) - IMDbStory 

After a mission in space and contact with a cosmic force, Jean Grey sees her power increase and begin to corrupt her, turning her into The Dark Phoenix, a being almost too powerful for the rest of the X-Men to stop.

The Dark Phoenix story is one the most iconic X-Men storyline and one of the most iconic in comic books as a whole and after seeing the way it was handled in X-Men: The Last Stand, I was excited about this movie but also every sceptical, so I went in with cautious optimism and I’m glad I did cause I wasn’t disappointed but I also wasn’t blown away. The story here is more accurate than the previous telling of the story which makes it better by default. This movie tells two stories, one of them being Jean Grey and her struggle and the other being the one we’re all flailed with, the conflict between Charles and Eric and does an okay job of juggling the two.

Acting 

Sophie Turner’s performance is what really carries the film, Jean is a lot more humanised in this iteration which makes her lot more relatable. Sophie is able to juggle Jean’s vulnerability and ruthlessness in a performance that is a lot more layered than I thought it would be. You can see the subtlety in her emotions and how she’s handles the changes that Jean is going through.

There isn’t much to be said about James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender that hasn’t already been said before. They are both incredible actors and are the emotional backbone of the current run of X-Men movies (Logan and Deadpool not included) at this point they’re chemistry is undeniable and even though their characters are still having the same argument that they’ve been having for years now, seeing the two of them together never really gets old.

Jessia Chastain plays Vuk as is one of the most interesting characters in the movie. While her motivations are on the generic side, Jessica Chastain’s performance is very clinical which a great contrast to Sophie Turner’s which is a lot more emotional.

As mentioned earlier this movie tries to give the other characters something to do and that translates to their performances, that’s isn't to say that their acting was bad, it just doesn’t bring a lot to the table as they don’t have a lot to go off of. Even fan favourite Quicksilver doesn’t really do anything in this film which is a shame. Tye Sheridan’s performance as Scott Summers is the most notable of all the shorting characters as it’s directly linked to Sophie Turner’s. While the two share a many scenes, the movie never makes them feel as equals.

Writing/Direction

The writing in this movie is one area where it falls short. It’s trying to explore Jean’s morality as well the conflict it between Charles and Eric and give all the other characters  something to do and in this regard it feels muddled. Jean is at the forefront of the movie, but there are other elements  that feel like they’re dragging you away from what you actually want to see. There is an incredible cringy line from Raven about changing the name to X-Women and it made me smack my forehead because it felt forced and while I can understand the reason for the line in context, it came out wrong and took me out of the film because it sounded absolutely ridiculous. If feels like the writers didn’t capture the true essence of the story which is why this movie comes off as average. Its’s a shame because the lore is so rich.

Simon Kinberg has been involved in the X-Men franchise since 2006 so it make sense that he would work on this film in some capacity. When I found out that this was going to be his  directorial debut I was a little sceptical as this is a big story to take on and given his track record with the Dark Phoenix story I wasn’t optimistic. After seeing the movie I think he did a good job, as far as directorial debuts, this is a good one. He knows the characters and he managed to craft a good film with solid pacing and character motivations. There are few tonal shifts but overall the tone is consistent. That being said the movie does become a generic superhero movie in the third act which I found disappointing because there are glimmers of greatness that could have been explored further rather than the lacklustre ending we got.

CGI/Set Design

This is one area where this film has been roasted by fans and for pretty good reason. Usually when I talk about costume design I don’t really have bad things to say but this is a few times that I do. The costume design in this movie feels lazy, especially when you compare it to previous movies and Mystique is a great example.

Here is Jennifer Lawrence in X-Men Apocalypse

Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique in X-Men Apocalypse
And this is her in this movie.
Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique in X-Men: Dark Pheonix

*insert sigh*
 Seeing as this movie has a higher budget than X-Men Apocalypse I’m confused as to why one of the main characters looks so different from previous instalments. Even the X-Men costumes can be summarised as ‘meh’. Which begs the question, where are the costumes for the end of Apocalypse cause those look really good and it would’ve been cool to see those here but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

Overall the CGI/Set Design is good. There are scenes where Jean is using her powers that look brilliant and the scenes in outer space and actually quite beautiful. Overall there aren’t any scenes that really took be aback. The whole movie while a testament to the talent of the numerous VFX artists that worked on the film, looks like your average superhero movie.

Score/Soundtrack

I was very surprised to find out that Hans Zimmer scores this movie was he stated in2016 that he was retiring from superhero movies, but I’m glad he had a change of heart because I loved the score. John Ottman’s iconic X-Men theme isn’t used at all during the movie and while my initial reaction was surprise seeing as it was used at the end of Apocalypse, I actually prefer it that way. Even though this is an X-Men movie, having that separation with the score let’s you know that this isn't your typical X-Men movie, or it was meant to do that in theory.  The score in this movie is a lot more intense than in previous movies, it’s darker and has more depth, it really reflects the internal struggles of the characters which I’m a very big fan of. I will miss the OG theme though cause it’s really good.


 Overall Thoughts

At its core this is a decent movie, however in today’s superhero movie climate it doesn’t stand out. It has some standout moments from Sophie Turner and Michael Fassbender, and a really good score by Hans Zimmer but it doesn’t offer much more than that. That being said, I enjoyed it and I would watch it again. It’s one of those movies that is perfectly enjoyable while you watch it he is largely forgettable. It’s not the ending the X-Men series deserves but alas it’s the one it got.

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