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'Dark Phoenix': Is It as Bad as You Think?

Benjamin Wollmuth is a lover of literature who enjoys sharing his thoughts on everything from movies and video games to books and music.

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Dark Phoenix

5.9/10 on IMDb. 22% on Rotten Tomatoes. Fans and critics alike can not give this movie a break. Long before it's release, it was receiving hate from so many people... including me. The trailers did nothing for me. Coming off the back of X-Men: Apocalypse, I had no hype for this movie whatsoever. Disney owns Fox now... just put the X-Men in the MCU! I'm not gonna lie, however... coming out this film, I am pleasantly surprised; surprised this movie is actually not as bad as I was expecting. It's not a great film but is definitely not the worst X-Men film ever. Nothing can knock X-Men Origins: Wolverine out of last place. Through all of the bad stuff, there is actually some promising content in this film. So, without further ado, let's get into it.

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The Good

I have never had a problem with acting in the X-Men films and still don't. To be completely honest, I think the characters in this film are portrayed very accurately to their comic book counterparts. I have always loved Fassbender's performance as Erik (Magneto), and I think he is great in this movie. I can say the same for McAvoy's performance of Charles Xavier, as well as all of the other actors and actresses in the film. The best part is that they can bounce off of each other very well, which makes the X-Men actually feel like a team. I appreciate what this film did with the teamwork aspect of the film. At the beginning of the movie, the X-Men are pretty much their world's version of the Avengers. Instead of being feared, mutants are respected and called on in times of need. And when they are called on, they work together. The entire opening scene in space showcases this teamwork, with the characters using their specified power to help each other. The battle that ends the second act, as well as the final battle of the film, also showcase this teamwork, as well as gives the X-Men characters a chance to really showcase their powers. Storm is freezing and shocking people left and right. Cyclops is blasting holes through people. Nightcrawler is stabbing people with his tail and teleporting enemies in front of a moving train. The mutant action was honestly some of the best I have seen in a long time. I also have to give props to Sophie Turner. While her Jean Grey is one that we only met in the film prior to this one, she is a still a menacing figure, and her performance is amazing. The whole Dark Phoenix storyline was handled so much better in this film than it was in The Last Stand, and I am thankful for that.

The Bad

While I think that the character of Jean Grey was a fine villain, the side villains of the movie are very bland. They are an alien race that came to Earth following the Phoenix Force. They mention that it is the creator of the universe (or something like that, it is never mentioned again) and that it also destroyed their planet. They now want to capture and control it so that they can destroy other planets as well (because they lost their planet so now screw everyone else). They are generic looking alien creatures that remind me a lot of the Skrulls, for they can transform into anyone. They also have the ability to rapidly heal, unless their body is destroyed really fast. Sure, an entire team fighting one person could have been boring and repetitive (as well as pointless, because the team fought Jean towards the middle of the film and got demolished). However, bland and generic bad guys, in my opinion, is the wrong direction to go. The only good thing that came out of them was at the end when we were able to see the X-Men team go full force on the enemy without having to break the PG-13 barrier.

Constantly changing emotions were another thing in this film. I am not saying that people can't have constantly changing emotions, but it can start to feel really repetitive the more it happens. Hank (Beast) gets mad at Charles for lying to Jean and allowing Raven (Mystique) to get killed - oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Mystique dies, but you all knew that if you watched the trailers - and Hank goes to team up with Erik so that they can kill her. Later in the film, however, all it takes is a simple apology from Charles to stop Hank and Erik from wanting to kill Jean. Normal humans also fall victim to changing emotions. Humans love mutants until one mutant does something bad... now all mutants are evil and must be locked up. Hm, this kind of sounds like America's relationship with a certain community. A sad relationship that I wish could just mend itself so that everyone could get along, but... I just went way off topic.

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The Ugly

The ugliest part about this film can really be said about the entire franchise as a whole... it's so confusing. The timeline is so messed up that nothing makes sense anymore, and that the only thing that seems to keep these movies in the same universe is the characters being portrayed by the same actors. Days of Future Past created a new timeline? Is that a true statement? Erased everything that happened in The Last Stand so that the Dark Phoenix storyline could happen in the 1990s and not the 2000s? Didn't Jean show signs of having the Phoenix Force in Apocalypse (she totally did) even though she gets the Phoenix Force in this movie? I'm glad this franchise is coming to an end because they have dug themselves into a hole that they would never be able to get out of.

The Verdict

Without the amazing character portrayals in this film, Dark Phoenix would be terrible. However, the movie was able to entertain me for the most part. I definitely do not think that this movie is worth 22%. Until I rewatch all of the other X-Men films, I can't place this on a list. However, I can say that thanks to the faithful character portrayals, I can give this movie a solid 7/10.

Opinions: we all have them. If you don't agree, that's completely fine. I am entitled to my own personal opinion, and so are you. So, if you are going to discuss any disagreements you have with me, discuss politely. Make this world a better place.

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© 2019 Benjamin Wollmuth