HBOWatch Movie Review: ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’


It’s only fitting now that the world’s on fire for me to get some good movie reviews in. I’m not even in the full benefit of self-quarantine yet since I’m a daycare worker but allow me to get into the nitty-gritty with all you lucky sods cozied up at home. I like Jean Grey as a character.  I thought Famke Jannsen did an amazing job in her portrayal and I was excited to see Sophie Turner step into that role. I liked keeping up with the X-Men movies. At first, it was mostly Hugh Jackman’s work as Wolverine, who is my favorite superhero. Or anti-hero. He’s a cranky, short bastard so I identify with him. When the new round of movies came out, I was pumped. First Class is probably one of my favorite superhero movies, but Days of Future Past kinda lost me and I didn’t even see Apocalypse. Wanting to give Sophie her chance to impress me and see what they did differently, I jumped to review Dark Phoenix.

We see right away that Jean is coming from a bad place. She’s vulnerable and accepts this new home with the X-Men. Fast forward to her as a young woman, she’s part of the team and going on missions. We see Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), Quicksilver (Evan Peters), and of course Jean (Sophie Turner) head out into space to help save the space mission Endeavor from a solar flare. The team saves everyone and returns unscathed with the exception of Jean absorbing the solar flare. You know, no big deal…

Obviously this causes problems and she’s having trouble containing that much power. Because it wasn’t exactly just a solar flare. The powerful life force has the ability to create and destroy worlds, as it did before and now a displaced alien race wants to harness it. They come to Earth and possess Jessica Chastain and a whole slew of others. This is where the biggest hole is missing. I think aspects of the film could have been slightly scrapped or changed to be able to delve a little further into who these creatures are. Of course, they want that power and to take over Earth and make a new home. But why? Just because they lost the first one? It felt like there was a missed chance to explain some dynamics here.  Otherwise, it’s just another invasion story.

Ultimately, we see the damage Charles (James McAvoy) causes by not being honest with Jean right away. He built walls instead of just having a hard conversation. It felt very Dumbledore and McAvoy played it well. He holds his “I was doing it because it was best for her” argument for a while and everyone else is obviously not having it. You can’t choose what’s right for a person by lying to them. Give them all the information and help them decide what’s right. Even Magneto (Michael Fassbender) is over it; though I think every person could identify with wanting someone to say to them, “You’re not broken.” In the end, our family is who we choose.

X-MEN_DARK-PHOENIX_BOX-OFFICE_Acting-wise, I can’t complain. I liked a lot of the casting back when First Class came out. And I think they cast well for the second generation of mutants. But personally, I would have loved a different story. Don’t get me wrong, Sophie does well as Jean but we had this already and not that long ago. Hollywood has so many ideas to grab from why do they keep recycling the same stuff?  There are pages and pages and pages of the X-Men, why retell the story that was told only 13 years ago….holy sh*t, X-Men: The Last Stand was in 2006?!  I was still in high school. While it’s been longer than I thought, there are still plenty of other stories that would be worth a film. It’s a decent film with some good fight sequences, but it’s already been done once and didn’t necessarily need to be done this time.

Nevertheless, Dark Phoenix has flared up an appearance on HBO with a debut Saturday, March 21 @ 8:00pm. 

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