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June 14, 2019

X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) --- “Every Hero Has A Dark Side. The Phoenix Will Rise.”

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Hello, Movie Buffs!
    A few years following the event of X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) the X-Men go on a mission to rescue a team of astronauts before their shuttle is consumed by a Galactic surge. But when the mission goes wrong and Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) finds herself caught in the surge, what should have killed actually did something far worse. Jean awakens to find that her powers are quickly getting out of control and their now starting to mess with her mind. And when a new group of villains led by Vuk (Jessica Chastain) arrive in the hopes of using Jean to fulfill their own evil purpose, things start to get even more out of hand. Now it is up to the X-Men to decide if Jean’s life is more important than saving the world from destruction. Will they save Jean in time to stop Vuk and her minions? Or will this finally be the moment when the X-Men fall?

     Directed by Simon Kinberg (producer The Martian, Logan) and co-written alongside John Byrne (New Warriors), Chris Claremont (Legion, The New Mutants), and Dave Cockrum (The New Mutants), X-Men’s Dark Phoenix (2019) is the final chapter in the X-Men saga now that Fox is merging with Disney/Marvel and the end result left some things to be desired. Now don’t get me wrong this was a good film but there were elements that could have been improved on.
    This is director Kinberg’s directorial debut and it is filled with moments of reflection that we don’t normally see in superhero films. Rather than relying upon big explosions and thrilling action sequences, which could result in it feeling overstuffed or lacking focus. The story shows a world were the X-Men, and subsequently, the mutant population, are now embraced by humanity and even considered by most as superheroes. But what happens when there are no more villains to fight and the world no longer fears them? Dark Phoenix presents this scenario by dividing the X-Men and testing the strength of their bonds in a dramatic, albeit a restrained, way that the X-Men series has been consistently known for doing.
    Now we expect superhero films to get bigger with each new installment and hope that they culminate into something epic, memorable, and breathtaking. Like Endgame (2019). There is a lack of urgency in this film and the story is held together by short bursts of action and small interactions of debates or contemplations that help reveal the story’s message and scope a quiet epilogue rather than a grand finale. And while this style isn’t exactly winning any favors with film critics and box office numbers, it is a coherent, interesting, and refreshing change of pace for a superhero film.
    Now the visual effects were pretty impressive and the music by Hans Zimmer (Gladiator, Dunkirk, etc) was stunning and reminiscent of some of his other works. The highlight of the film would have to be the cast performances. James McAvoy (It: Chapter 2), Michael Fassbender (The Snowman), Jennifer Lawrence (Red Sparrow), and Nicholas Hoult (Tolkien) are impressive in their recurring roles. New and returning actors Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One, Voyagers) as Cyclops, Alexandra Shipp (A Dog’s Way Home, Shaft) as Storm,  Evan Peters (Pose, American Horror Story) as Quicksilver, and Kodi Smit-McPhee (Alpha) as Nightcrawler are outstanding and they have since grown into their characters even more. Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones, Broken Soldier), of course, steals the show and her emotional journey through this film was interesting but I feel she could have been better if the story had been a bit more climactic. Jessica Chastain (Molly’s Game, Eve, The Good Nurse) is one of my all-time favorite actresses and she does a surprising job at being the villain, similar with Turner I do wish that we could have seen more from her but you gotta take what you get.

    Overall, Dark Phoenix comes full circle with its narrative by increasing the tension as the film progresses but never straying too far from its main question: what must one do to create a better world? Sounds kind of like Thanos’ preachings, don’t you think? But no matter, Dark Phoenix may have fallen short of expectations but there are still some pieces to this film that are good and make it enjoyable enough to see. The visual effects were impressive, the music was good, and the cast performances were outstanding. While this was not the best film ever and the epilogue style is not winning any awards with the box office or film critics, I can at least respect the filmmakers choice in ending this series. I do recommend that you check this film out if you can and decide for yourself if you like it or not.

Final Vote --- 6.5 of 10 stars

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Movies Similar
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Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
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Avengers 2: Age of Ultron (2015)
Avengers 3: Infinity War (2018)
Avengers 4: Endgame (2019)
Black Panther (2018)
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Captain Marvel (2019)
Doctor Strange (2016)
Fantastic Four (2015)
Fantastic Four (2005)
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (TBA)
Hulk (2003)
Incredible Hulk (2008)
Iron Man (2008)
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Logan (2017)
Sky High (2005)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
Thor (2011)
Thor: Dark World (2013)
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
The Wolverine (2013)
X-Men (2000)
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
X-Men: First Class (2011)
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
X2: X-Men United (2003)
Zoom (2006)

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