Dark Phoenix – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Dark Phoenix – Ashes of Mutant Melodrama

Coming to the end is something that happens to any franchise.  No matter if its an epic journey to destroy a ring or a wizard defeating the ultimate evil, the story of characters and moments will find its destination.  In retrospect, watching the X-men films (under Fox) have been a genuinely good time.  Even with the minor hiccups, seeing one of the premiere comic series come to life has been amazing for the fan in me.  With the end here, we head into one more chapter that will bring collateral to the X-Men.  Dark Phoenix provides the lust of amazing potential but falls flat in execution.  With this being the final film, X-Men is left hanging on a legacy that could have been something special.

The story centers around one of the X-Men, Jean Grey, as she consumes what is known as the Phoenix Force on the team’s space mission.  This power causes conflict on a personal and mental scale, driving the X-Men into separate paths.  With her life in the balance, the rest of the mutants must decide what is most important.  From the beginning, the story goes into a grounded appeal, putting the focus on two things: mutant struggles in society and inter-conflict of personal flaws.  The idea of molding a dramatical quip within the comic book genre isn’t something new.  For this film, it is pushed with subtle detail creating situations that are endearing for the characters.  Even with the direction moving through a basic outline of trivial dialogue and predictable setups, there is potential of the conflict that is driven by this power within Jean Grey.  This causes many of the X-Men to question their purpose to the team, realizing that truths and lies become one in the same.  The first half does a good job in providing a lot ‘moments’ that may lead to a gratifying conclusion.  There are introductions to deeper connections between Professor X (James McAvoy) and his school, Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and his Commune on Genosha, and Jean Grey (Sophia Turner) and her mentors, Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence).  Once the film moves into the second half, it becomes less than stellar.

With the setup of genuine detail with the characters, it quickly gets pushed aside for the bombastic nature of the genre’s tropes.  Through a convoluted mess of childish decisions, unnecessary action (in New York), third party ‘villains’ and unexplained plot devices, it becomes an amalgamation of redundant clichés.  Nothing makes sense to what was initially setup, creating a hollow experience.  Once the story moves the characters into the final big set piece, it does bring us back to some genuine character moment and redeemable action scenes, but the conclusion leaves you with a feeling that there could have been so much more.  Dark Phoenix never reaches the heights of greatness of past entries (X-Men: Days of Future Past) but it isn’t as bad as the lowest ones (X-Men Origins: Wolverine).  I say check it out if you want to see the conclusion to the series, otherwise leave it for a Friday night rental.    

Full Score – 2.5 out of 5 (Friday Night Rental)

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