Does X-Men: Dark Phoenix Crash & Burn?
The Marvel universe of films has been unparalleled recently. We have had the wit of Wade ‘Deadpool’ Wilson, the delightful viciousness of Venom and the sheer awesomeness of the Avengers, with such a wealth of creative content surely X-Men: Dark Phoenix would continue carrying the baton; unfortunately not.
Directed by Simon Kinberg, no stranger to the X-Men franchise, X-Men: Dark Phoenix pits the band of super mutants against their fiercest adversary yet, Jean Grey one of their own; played of course by the beautiful and talented Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones).
Without divulging too many spoilers, the film follows the comics’ storyline which sees Grey sacrifice herself using her powers to save her comrades, she comes back of course but as a dark entity all together with much stronger powers. The comics’ storyline is incredible, as much a mental and spiritual battle as a physical one with Grey wrestling her own personality for control. They also centralised on a strong, intelligent and powerful female character at the heart of her own story – what could go wrong?
Well, despite being sourced from this incredible story, the film feels flat. The characters (including Grey) feel underwritten and unflattering resulting in wooden performances from a talented cast. The female empowerment that should have been a strong underlying feature throughout Dark Phoenix is drastically devalued reduced to nothing more than petty one-liners and one-upmanship. With that being said there are some good ideas blended into the film, including a big one that fans of the franchise have speculated about since the 80’s – for that you’ll have to watch it.
Final thoughts – Since a kid I have always loved the X-Men franchise; from the idea that there is a ‘Hogwarts for super heroes’ type establishment out there to the internal politics and ethical questions that the series raised. Sadly, for me X-Men: Dark Phoenix doesn’t quite save the day…