X-Men: Dark Phoenix
review by Bobby Blakey
Before Marvel dominated the box office with their cinematic universe it seemed that we were never going to get very many cohesive superhero flicks. Outside of films like Blade Superman, and Batman there were just a lot of hits and misses. In 2000 that all changed when director Bryan Singer brought the iconic X-Men to the big screen for the first time and it all changed. The series has delivered six sequels and numerous spin offs. The next chapter of the X-Men saga will revisit the Dark Phoenix saga once again now that it has rebooted its universe with the aptly titled X-Men: Dark Phoenix, but does it do the final entry into the FOX X-Universe justice or will it be a power not worth manifesting?
X-Men: Dark Phoenix follows the X-Men as they face their most formidable and powerful foe: one of their own, Jean Grey. During a rescue mission in space, Jean is nearly killed when she is hit by a mysterious cosmic force. Once she returns home, this force not only makes her infinitely more powerful, but far more unstable. Wrestling with this entity inside her, Jean unleashes her powers in ways she can neither comprehend nor contain. With Jean spiraling out of control, and hurting the ones she loves most, she begins to unravel the very fabric that holds the X-Men together. Now, with this family falling apart, they must find a way to unite - not only to save Jean's soul, but to save our very planet from aliens who wish to weaponize this force and rule the galaxy.
While this franchise has had its ups and downs, I am not one that have really disliked any of them. Sure I have had issues with them, but any chance to get to see the X-Men on the big screen doing their thing was a plus for me. While they missed the mark trying to deal with a variation of the Phoenix saga in X-Men: The Last Stand this time around it worked better and stuck closer to the source material. Sure there are in fact a lot of changes, but the idea is there making this feel like a different kind of entry into the long running franchise.
Ignoring all the line-up differences or trying to fully capture the original concept which is near impossible based on what has been set up in this universe I felt it did a fairly good job. This is entry had a darker tone overall which is really essential to make this story work, but it’s not without its faults which for me was more in pacing and performances. The cast were fine I guess, but something just felt off a lot of times. I am thinking it was the dialogue itself as opposed to the some of the delivery as it felt more TV movie like than feature film. The film would be moving along well and then have a strange transition which I think was the attempt to get so much into the story.
I like this cast and felt that the new tone of Xavier was a welcome change that reminded me of the late 90s early 00s of him in the comics being flawed and almost wreckless at times. Jennifer Lawrence who I have felt was great in the role feels like she is more phoning it in this time around, but more out of just being done with the role than not really trying. The rest of them are hit and miss with Sophie Turner doing a good job with the varying emotions to bring this version of Jean Grey to life. My biggest disappointment came from the usually great Jessica Chastain. She is fine in the role, but just not given much overly memorable to do and hence has no overly great moments to flex her usual acting chops.
This is probably one of the less action heavy films in the franchise which was a good thing, but the stuff that is here is fun to watch. There is a lot changed to this story that will likely irritate the diehard fans, but there has already been tons of changes across the board here as well in the MCU so you have to just let some go. I understand some of the critiques of the film and while it isn’t the best of the franchise it is far from the worse in my opinion. This isn’t necessarily the ending I wanted for the FOX franchise, but it is still a decent cap to this fun franchise before Marvel Studios takes a hold of it and reboots it once again.
In addition to the film this release includes bonus content including deleted scenes, commentary, and featurettes showcasing bringing this film to life. Join the final mission of FOX’s mutant franchise with X-Men: Dark Phoenix available now on Digital, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.