Rating 2.5/5 Stars
I gotta admit this one disappointed me more than any average film. The X-Men franchise, from its very inception, has been mostly fun, engaging and unanimously appreciated across the board. The first film, X Men (2000) starring Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and Anna Paquin as Rogue, began the story of mutants in a compelling, relevant way. The first film encompassed the core conflict which was the fight between Professor X and Magneto, two powerful mutants who were leading two different ideologies within the race of mutants in humans. X Men: Dark Phoenix arrives 19 years later, playing into the same theme, but promoting themes of inclusion and accepting of flawed characters in a bigger way. The premise takes off but doesn't land.
Sophie Turner stars as Jean Grey (a character earlier played by Famke Janssen) a girl who joins Charles Xavier's college because of her traumatic childhood. Little Jean was unable to control her powers which lead her to a disaster she was unable to cope with. The story fast-forwards to the time when mutants and humans have an amicable relationship and the X Men are often asked for support by America's president himself. All that is thrown into jeopardy when Jean begins to lose control again and in the meanwhile, unbreakable aliens have come in from a vague planet to kill off humans and take over the planet.
All of these existing premises, plus a whole lot of backstory to all the characters shown in Dark Phoenix (Storm, Cyclops, Raven, Beast, Magneto) would have easily made a compelling tale, the narrative just becomes exhausting after a point and fairly repetitive. Jean's motivations change from speech to speech by Charles Xavier and she comes across as someone more confused than angry. Michael Fassbender's reprise of Magneto is the breath of fresh air in the slugging storyline and Jessica Chastain adds depth to a vapid villain who has no sufficing backstories given even in the film itself.
Sophie Turner looks and appears perfect as Jean Grey but that's the problem. The film or the heart of the story was the conflict and despair of a woman with superpowers who was overcome with emotion. Apart from the very end supplied with a flimsy dialog, the conflict doesn't come shining through at you. Instead, we are left with multiple speeches about Charles Xavier's good intentions and Jessica Chastain's ... walking. Jennifer Lawrence has a short and forgettable role except for the punch line she delivers asking Xavier to change the name of the group to X Women since they are the only ones doing all the saving around here.
According to reports, Dark Phoenix would not be produced by 21st Century Fox anymore whereas it would be taken under Marvel Cinematic Universe after the acquisition of 21st Century Fox by Disney. This is definitely good news since the series had become quite stale after X Men: First Class. Logan, Hugh Jackman's goodbye to the franchise, was a great watch but the franchise was unable to really find its lost glory. Dark Phoenix also seems a half-hearted attempt to rekindle the legacy. Hopefully, MCU can come and work its magic and even reboot the series itself with newer and fresher storylines.