X-Men: Dark Phoenix Won’t Satisfy Everyone
Like this review, X-Men: Dark Phoenix won’t satisfy everyone. Folks who want to hate it, might not. And those excited for it might be disappointed.
In the end, X-Men: Dark Phoenix is an frenetic, but engaging watch.
But beyond the disparate story beats, fans of THIS timeline of the X-Men universe will come away at-least intrigued with the cast and crew’s attempt at a culmination; at best thankful they ignored early bad reviews.
Jean Grey isn’t the only one searching for an identity in Dark Phoenix
The wide-ranging easter eggs, homages, and missteps make it hard for the script to maintain focus, which will frustrate many viewers – die-hard fans and newbs, alike.
And I am not exaggerating. Just by example, I noted references (similarities) to:
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
- Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
- The Da Vinci Code
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Stranger Things
- Thor: The Dark World
I kid you not. And no, there are not many award-winners in there; nevermind that the plotlines of the above examples have few similarities even between themselves.
A choppy story (and Wolverine is nowhere to be found)
Furthermore, and this no spoiler as it was widely-posted big news last week; there are story beats that are very, very similar to those found in Captain Marvel – a movie I adored. This fact necessitated re-writes that are pretty obvious when you watch the film.
“The end [of Dark Phoenix] changed a hell of a lot,” James McAvoy (Professor X) explained to Yahoo Movies UK without directly referencing Carol Danvers’ origin story. “The finale HAD to change. There was a lot of overlap and parallels with another superhero movie that came out… a while ago.”
As a result, my biggest critique of the film — beyond the absence of Deadpool or Wolverine — is that it does not know what movie it wants to be. Unlike the unrelenting destiny-driven clash of the titans in Marvel: Endgame, Dark Phoenix is a much more personal film often taking up residence in the brain of Professor X or Jean Grey (Sophie Turner).
That in-of-itself makes the movie drag in moments.
Give it a try…
However, if you have enjoyed a majority of the X-Men films, Dark Phoenix is a movie that is definitely worth your time. I laughed out loud several times and cheered on heroes I’ve enjoyed on screen for decades. And I was semi-pleased with the resolution.
That said, I leave a sincere warning to parents about the very up-close violence and blood in the film. Dark Phoenix earns its PG-13 rating, and I will not bring my 9-year-old to see this one, even though he very much enjoyed much of the X-Men franchise and Marvel Cinematic Universe films. Dark Phoenix lives up to its name and the level of gore is, at times, on par with Logan and The Wolverine. And, with Quicksilver (Evan Peters) making almost cameo appearances, it’s not as much fun as previous films.
Furthermore, if you haven’t yet seen X-Men: Apocalypse previously (or in some time), give it a rewatch for hints at Jean’s true self.