It’s 1992. The X-Men are sent on a space rescue but as with any Marvel superhero film, not all goes to plan as Jean Grey tries to save the day she is cosmically imbued with a certain special power, the ramifications of which result in a feud between the X-Men and the death of the beloved mystique. X-Men: Dark Phoenix is the last and final movie featuring many fans favourite characters. The series has had its hits with Days of Future Past and of course, 2011’s First Class and also its failures, let us not forget Apocalypse and while X-Men Dark Phoenix is not on the same level as the X-Men’s hits, it certainly isn’t as bad as Last Stand. Yet, even so, it is not worth going the cinema for. Let me tell you why.
So first, let’s talk about the action of the film. For me, this film had some amazing fight scenes, with the psychic tug-of-war between Jean and Erik over a helicopter and the battle in the New York Subway carriage being some of the highlights of this film. However, there weren’t enough to be totally satisfied. An X-Men film is defined by it’s fight scenes as we get to see the superheroes display their powers at their finest and this film just didn’t have enough. And while on this topic, we all know that epic quicksilver scene in Days of Future Past and when I heard he was also in this movie, I was on that hype. However, early on in the movie he is injured and yet to be seen for the rest. I was highly disappointed and it was nothing more than a wasted opportunity.
Another way in which this film fails is its exploration of the plot and the characters. The dialogue is on the verge of cringe and we learn little about why these villains wish to destroy the earth or as to what Jean is feeling and her motivations for leaving her family to go to Erik and then her behaviour from there. It’s mediocre directing and acting at best and in a way, destroyed characters that have been developed and built up over the years and films.
However, this film does have moments that will leave you nostalgic and wanting to go and re-watch the other films again. For example, the end sequence where we see Erik and Charles play chess as Erik offers Charles a home, just as Charles had done in the beginning. There’s also the moment where Hank says to Raven that they are the only ones left of the originals that hit me and probably others hard with reality that they really are and how far these movies have come. Despite it’s flaws, this film is sad at times, especially with the lack of wolverine.
Overall, this film drags on listlessly, completely unsure what to do with any of its characters and is almost boring at times. It has its classic X-Men moments such as speeches from Charles about learning important life lessons or about being scared of their own power or recovering from trauma but there is nothing outstanding in this movie that makes it stand out. Yet, I love the X-Men characters and I will still stand by the movies despite the flips and flops.