Published: Wed, June 05, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Dark Phoenix Review - Cinelinx Reviews

Dark Phoenix Review - Cinelinx Reviews

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. His second effort is better than the first, but the bar is admittedly low.

"I actually would say that the Dark Phoenix idea was set up in the end of Days of Future Past".

He added that "the most interesting aspect of this film is James McAvoy's Xavier", saying the Scotsman's character is "is more opaque, more worldly, more secretive - and drinking more heavily". They continue to be convincing when the plot flounders. Perhaps Simon Kinberg's retelling of the Dark Phoenix story needed some freshness with new writers.

The Washington Post says the movie sends the X-Men off "with a whimper, not a bang". While Charles takes a victory lap and soaks up publicity, Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) does not share his enthusiasm. A mysterious solar flare has crippled the shuttle and cut off all communications.

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-Unbelievable but true: Jennifer Lawrence has now spent more than twice as long in the X-Men series as in The Hunger Games. She begins to remember the events that brought her to Charles Xavier as a child.

Surprisingly, considering the focus placed on dialogue and exposition, the strength of Dark Phoenix lies in its action sequences. Dark Phoenix forgets over and over again that good characters are the special effects in a film, and no amount of CGI could compensate for them. His leadership is openly questioned. This argument becomes prescient when, while rescuing astronauts on the space shuttle, the telekinetic Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) nearly dies from absorbing a mysterious energy force. Dark Phoenix isn't especially ugly or upsetting, but it's no pleasure to sit through, either. Her reaction to my death was so raw.

The biggest problem with Dark Phoenix is the antagonist. Readers watch her slowly succumb to the corrupting influence of the incredible power she possesses, and observe how her evolution affects each of the other X-Men. Just like in the comics, his controlling behavior contributes to Jean Grey's downfall-and when he's forced to admit he's at fault, he makes it all about him. There's way too much darkness, and not enough quicksilver wit. Her performance in this film is not indicative of the tremendous character work we've seen previously. Actors have all sorts of different processes for getting themselves into character and being in the right emotional state for a particular scene, but the thing that puts Sophie Turner on the edge of a breakdown might be unique to her. The standoff at Jean Grey's house gets the redux treatment. Kinberg has a knack for crafting a dynamic battle scene that escalates in stakes but remains easy to follow. Then, they all have to guess whose fear is whose.

Not only does the movie fumble the baton pass between generations and fail to advance the series' overarching story in any meaningful way, it also hardly seems to try. The previous films all revolved around their rivalry, and no other villain ever measures up to Magneto. (Mark your calendars, in pencil, for April 3, 2020.) Some fans hope, with Fox being consumed by Disney, that the X-Men might hook up with the Avengers in a monster-sized superhero mash-up. Dark Phoenix is a production of Marvel Entertainment, TSG Entertainment, and The Donners' Company, with distribution by 20th Century Fox.

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