“You feel like you don’t belong here. You don’t.”Review by Lewis Goodall
Dark Phoenix (directed by Simon Kinberg) is the latest in the X-Men franchise. It focuses on Jean grey (played by Sansa Stark) who during a mission with the other X-Men, gets corrupted by a super natural entity which transforms her into the forever powerful Dark Phoenix. As the power envelops her and takes over, the rest of the X-Men must decide whether saving a member of the family is worth the lives of the people on earth.
I’m not really a fan of the marvel films and I have never seen an x-men movie before so maybe I’m being a negative Nancy and going into this film already with a bad attitude so I decided to not listen to others reviews and give it a shot, I may not appreciate some things as it will for sure have references to other previous films but I’ll give it a chance.
I shouldn’t have.
This film reminds of those moments where you’re at an event you really don’t want to be at and your phone dies so you have to just kind of look around and hope that something interesting happens. The film follows the typical marvel film beat of set-up, conflict, story, conflict, story, conflict, story, main bad guy conflict, end. This is my issue with marvel films right off the bat, they all seem to follow this structure and it just gets repetitive.
The story starts with backstory into Jean grey and watching as her 8 year old self unknowingly uses her powers against her mum whilst driving. Jean grey, her mother and father are in a crash that ultimately kills her parents. Professor Xavier (played by James McAvoy) adopts the supernatural Jean into the school for X-Men to control her powers for good.
The X-Men head for a mission to save a crew aboard a space shuttle that has collided with a supernatural cloud in space. Jean grey helps to save the space crew but at this time is hit with the cloud and it seemingly gets sucked into her body to which the decent into anger and evil commences.
A metaphor for marvel films is this, you go into a restaurant and you order a meal and it tastes good, you enjoy it so you go to the same restaurant and order the same meal, you repeat this over and over again until the meal is boring and always tastes the same. Sometimes the restaurant will get a new chef (director) in to spice it up and it adds to the meal but it’s still the same boring meal, you expect it to change but it doesn’t. Or to any fans of the game Far Cry 3, “Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity? “
Hugely off topic but Dark Phoenix and nothing to shout home about, the film is just boring, if I had any beard hair I’d be plucking it out out of boredom to the point that I didnt have a beard left, in fact that’s how I’ll recommend this film, if you want a good shave then watch Dark Phoenix.
Many times I found myself sighing at the predictability of the script, in some cases actually guessing what was about to be said. Crafted like a child with dry macaroni and a faulty hot glue gun, it presents just a awful display of character to which none of the characters had any. The dialogue was cliche and like I mentioned before, I found myself saying the line before the character had even said it.
The characters themselves are acted mediocrely by pretty much everybody involved, no one brought anything to the table. Sophie Turner who is at the front of the pack in this film was probably the better of all the characters in the film alongside James McAvoy, these two showed promise during some scenes.I was excited to see quicksilver (played by Evan Peter’s) as Ive seen clips of him in before and seems to have a personality but they decided to have him in about 8% of the film. Going into the film not knowing much about the characters, I had to learn along the way in which way they fit in the puzzle of the team. Cyclops (played by Scott Summers) shoots lazer beams, Hank aka the beast ( played by Nicolas Hoult) turns into a walking blue lion (that’s sure to offend X-Men fans) and Mystic (played by Jennifer Lawrence) can apparently only turn caucasian. Learning after the film that mystic is a shape shifting assassin surprised me because she is so underused in this, she changes appearance once and doesn’t fight anyone so it had me questioning why she was there?
Midway through the film we are greeted with these alien beings that look as though they were lifted straight from the film ‘signs’. We quickly learn that these beings are manipulate themselves to take the form of any of their victims. They are on earth as they were following the supernatural cloud that Jean grey absorbed as the cloud contained abilities that would make the owner the most powerful being in the universe.
It’s hard to say anything about a film that was as numbing as this was. As I said before I know I’m not a marvel fan so I can see why I wouldn’t get some of the emotions that other marvel fans might but I find it hard to believe that many fans of the franchise would consider this anything close to great. Alot of the more ‘tragic’ or ‘dramatic’ scenes were done in a way that had me smirking more than gasping. The scenes in which included these alien beings we’re closer to being comedic then they were terrifying. One scene in particular were there aliens are trying to convert Jean grey to their side and convincing her to kill the X-Men. She has Profesor Xavier in a choke hold similar to Darth Vader where shes choking him with her mind. The scene itself pretends to be dramatic but the sound editing in this scene is comedic genius, it will be complete silence, then a random grunt of pain from professor Xavier, back to complete silence. This repeated a fair bit and it got funnier as it went along.
I spent most of my time during the story aspects of the films hurrying it along to get to the next part of action. Even then the action was fairly underwhelming apart from the character Nightcrawler (Played by Kurt Wagner) who was actually probably the most entertaining thing to watch during the entire duration of the film. The CGI that created the effect of him teleporting away was actually quite mind blowing. I will give this film that the CGI was exceptional. It was nothing that made me Owen Wilson ‘wow’ out loud but the mixture of CGI and practical effects to create the characters was done well, and especially it used in creative ways during the action scenes, although the action itself was fairly lackluster, I cant deny that parts were very pretty to look at. Production in this film raises the film partially from the depths that all other parts of the film dig it into.
Hans Zinmer scored the film and it definitely shows. The music is by far the most important aspect of the film that held it all together. Even though I was very unimpressed by what I was watching, was I was listening to was an another level and that’s just what to expect from a Hans Zimmer style.
Overall the film had moments where it just tried to hard to be interesting with the majority of the script being at best cringy and the action had a few moments that were impressive but all in all had me checking my watch more than checking the screen. The end is awful too but it was expected from the rest of the film. I’ll talk more about that in the spoiler section.
3 Blind Kids On Bikes out of 10
As I mentioned in my overall. The ending was awful too.
The main aspects that happen in the film are that Jean Grey absorbs the supernatural cloud and becomes this almighty being who can read minds, shape shift and fly. She discovers that her father didn’t die in the car crash when she was younger so set out to find him after many years. Once finding her father she discovers that the father didn’t want to check her because she killed his wife and didn’t want anything to do with her. The other X-Men track her down to take her home but she is overcome with anger and the corruption of the cloud that she fights the X-Men, ultimately ending in the death of Mystic (played by Jennifer Lawrence).
The alien beings that were chasing the cloud to harness the power are now chasing Jean to take it from her. Naturally this ends up being the main fight at the end, between Jean and the main alien who has some of the clouds power but not all of it. They are fighting and the power becomes too strong and the combination of them both would create a shock wave that would killed all surrounding people, including the other X-Men. So Jean flew up into space with the alien and they both exploded into a colourful Phoenix ultimately killing both, making the ultimate sacrifice. The end.
This end fight between the two of them lasts around 5 minutes and they managed to cram in the cringey dialogue and boring combat into that. There were moments that the film tried to be cool with the combat but just comes off as super forced and uninteresting. Marvel films would do themselves a favour and learn from the John wick films in how to do action properly.