“Dark Phoenix” is written & directed by Simon Kinberg and is the 12th film in the “X-Men” franchise and serves as a sequel to 2016’s “X-Men: Apocalypse”. Kinberg has written a majority of the X-Men films beginning with 2006’s “X-Men: The Last Stand” “First Class”, “Days of Future Past” & the aforementioned “Apocalypse” as well as other films such as “xXx: State of the Union”, “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”, “Sherlock Holmes” & “This Means War”. However, this marks his debut as director. The previous cast have returned including James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Sofia Turner, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan & Alexandra Shipp. Joining the cast is Jessica Chastain.
After the X-Men save the world from the mysterious Apocalypse, Professor Xavier (McAvoy) , Raven (Lawrence), Storm (Shipp), Cyclops (Sheridan) & Jean Grey (Turner) as well all mutants are somewhat accepted into society even having a direct line to president of the United States. During a space mission, a massive solar flare is barreling towards a damaged spaceship. The X-Men are dispatched to saved the astronauts. Jean Grey makes a daring move by using her powers to move the flare itself out of harms way but is unfortunately struck by the flare and a mysterious energy absorbs her body. Once back on Earth, Jean feels as if her psychic powers have been amplified. That notion is tossed aside immediately after she loses control and begins lashing out in unknown spasms. Alone and afraid, Jean secludes herself from the X-Men not wanting to harm anyone. During Jean’s absence, an unknown alien shape shifter, Vuk, (Chastain) comes to Jean with a way to help her control her power. Professor Xavier is horrified as Jean begins uncover her dark past as well learning the truth about Vuk. The X-Men must now save Jean before Vuk further corrupts her mind and power.
The Dark Phoenix is one of the popular X-Men storylines of all times along with the rest of Marvel comics. Fox has tried bring this story to the big screen before with “X-Men: The Last Stand” however that film was a massive disappointment and bombed at the box office. Sadly, “Dark Phoenix” didnt do anything better. This was another massive disappointment from a storytelling aspect and completely ruins the canon of the previous films.
Sofia Turner’s performance carries the movie along with both McAvoy’s and Fassbender’s and only bright spots of entire thing. Jennifer Lawrence started off good as Raven / Mystique in “First Class” but the franchise kept going, her performances got weaker, dull and uninteresting. Jessica Chastain has a very small character arch despite being the villain and very little, if any, character development and is pretty much useless to the story. The climatic ending is solid but it’s the end. Why wait til the end to actually start showing some sort of a promising film?
Overall, this was a massive disappointment but is shocking due to the simple fact that Fox had tried to tell this story before and failed. Now, with a new direction and far better cast & crew (with the exception of Kinberg) they still dropped the ball. With Disney purchasing Fox, the X-Men will return home to Marvel Studios this putting an end to this franchise of X-Men. Hopefully under Marvel, we can get this right on the 3rd try. As they say, third times the charm.