Dark Phoenix: Intense, Disappointing, and Satisfying
Score - 3/5
Ok people, here’s the thing: I am part of the ultra minority in one VERY LARGE aspect about this movie. And here’s why: I enjoyed Dark Phoenix. I know, “heresy!,” you all exalt. But to you all I say, “Back up, asshole.” Now that I have you backed up and all, here’s the plot of the film.
The X-Men are now celebrities of the people, as opposed to their usual disposition, and Professor X (James McAvoy) is reeling in this reality that he has helped shape (he even has a direct line to the president). However, this means that his team of mutants are constantly put on the front lines to help this reality come to fruition; something that members of the current team do not agree with. Despite this, Xavier (James McAvoy) sends his team on a rescue mission in space to save U.S. astronauts caught in a faulty rocket that had just launched. On top of this, there is a solar flare that will doom all members of the mission. Jean (Sophie Turner) absorbs the solar flare only to later find out that it is a cosmic entity capable of creating and destroying worlds. This increases her powers exponentially and simultaneously begins to unravel her mind. Unfortunately, aliens from a planet that was destroyed by the cosmic entity wish to absorb it themselves in order to create new life on Earth, effectively making humans extinct. It is up to the remaining members of the X-Men to help Jean (Turner) cope with her new powers, mind, and fate, before the alien beings use her for their sinister agenda and before Jean kills the ones closest to her.
Sounds pretty good, right?
I would agree. HOWEVER… The Dark Phoenix story is one that is best told over a period of time and would have benefited by having the story arc begin a few movies ago. This leaves the Dark Phoenix feeling like a movie whose story was massively condensed and stripped of key story elements. Unfortunate, because when done right, the Dark Phoenix saga is a truly great story and was best told by the comics as well as the animated series in the 90’s.
One last thing that I feel should be noted, is the fact that people are upset by the movie not being X-Men centric and rather focusing more on Jean than anyone else. Well no shit! It’s a movie about Jean, not the team. This movie is extremely character driven, and by doing so, it gave the audience a better way to connect with Jean. If the movie tried to focus more on every other characters’ issues on top of Jeans, it would have detracted from the whole point of the movie and would have been less cohesive of a story than it already was. Unfortunately though, although the main drive of the movie was supposed to be Jean (Turner), the writing continuously opened up many story points for other characters that not only were never delved into, but they never resolved themselves either, leaving the audience with a franchise that has too many questions unanswered. It is no surprise why many feel unsatisfied by this movie, and they have every right to feel that way.
Despite the story woes, here is what Fox succeeded at:
Sound - Holy hell did this movie sound fucking fantastic. I had the ple
asure of seeing and hearing this film in IMAX, and damn was it worth it. There were multiple occasions where I recall having goosebumps due to the absolute immersiveness of the mix… something that I cannot recall feeling for ANY Marvel movie.
Action- Ohhhhh boy, if you like action, this is a movie for you. In my opinion, this may have the best action sequences throughout its franchise history.
Emotion- Although the story feels quite compressed, the weight of the situation that is proposed in the movie remains to be quite hard on the characters who are increasingly becoming more and more fed up with watching their friends, family, and teammates die. We see very raw performances all throughout the film that really brings you into the pain that the members of the team are experiencing individually and together.
Effects - Although simple, they looked good and did not once take me out of the overall experience.
Is this a perfect X-Men movie? No. Is it a perfect Dark Phoenix film? No. But this movies’ raw emotion, intensity, action, and incredible sound made this an extremely enjoyable movie to watch. In fact, I would go so far as to say it is my second favorite X-Men movie to date (not including Wolverine solo movies). This movie should not have been the last in the dying franchise because it does not focus on the X-Men, rather one character, and will unfortunately always be perceived as a mistake of a movie due to its chronological placement in the cinematic history (thus far) of the X-Men. We won’t ever get the bow on top we were all looking for to top off the X-Men movies from Dark Phoenix, and that, more than anything, is what makes this movie frustrating.
I would definitely recommend seeing this movie for what it is: a great character-driven action movie. Oh and see it in IMAX, you won’t be disappointed.