I couldn’t say I am the biggest fan of X-Men series, but, strangely, I have seen all the movies. You can also say I have really enjoyed most of them. Prior watching X-Men: Dark Phoenix, I tried my hardest to judge this movie based on what I have actually seen and not everything I’ve heard/read about this movie ever since it got released, as it was universally panned and hated by critics and fans alike. It is almost like everything went up against this movie. And it’s… not THAT bad. Sure, it’s definitely the worse out of the “First Class” movies, that’s certain, but it’s still enjoyable enough, in some scenes.
What I think is the biggest problem with Dark Phoenix, is everybody is tired. Some actors are tired of playing superheroes, so they get killed off quite quickly here (won’t spoil anything, but if you seen any movie in your life, you will see this coming miles away) the relationship between Eric a Charles is all tired and even the movie seems to be tired of itself sometimes, as we hit the same notes (chess game, good vs evil, mandatory Quicksilver scene) all over again. As a result of that, audience is tired and fatigued with this franchise, BUT, the movie doesn’t drag, and even though it might be dumb at some parts, it’s still entertaining enough for you to be somehow involved.
What really didn’t sit well with me was mistreatment of Jessica Chastain. Respectively, her character. We know that she’s super talented actress but in this movie she is playing really, really boring character… boringly. As almost she wasn’t given any notes/direction and just went with the flow, hoping to do the best she could. Especially if you compare her performance with Michael Fassbender, who didn’t even have that much of screen time in this movie, but still hit every note and showcased everything he’s got. To me, this speaks volumes about Simon Kinberg, who doesn’t seem to be able to lead performers where they need to be, as for Fassbender, this is his fourth time playing this character, so he knows him in and out and doesn’t need to be told what to do as much, character-wise. Whereas Jessica is a “newbie” in this universe and probably could use somebody “behind” her. What could have been a stellar performance (and I know she would’ve nailed too) turned out to be her most forgettable role.
The same could be said about Sophie Turner, who most of us know mainly from Game of Thrones (2011 – 2019) and her portrayal of Jean Grey. She wasn’t bad per say, but… I felt she could have been better. And I know she definitely has the talent to be better. This movie just doesn’t showcase it fully. And that is another thing about this film – there is a good movie buried here somewhere. But everything is done on two “levels” – “almost there” or “not there enough”. Like the “cosmic villains” of this movie – would have been great had they posed any real threat to the X-Men.
And yet, despite all I have just written, I still think people are a bit too harsh on this film. I mean, we can all agree this is not going to be proclaimed a cinematic masterpiece any time soon, but the story holds together well enough, you will not feel the fact it is almost two hours long (which is definitely a good thing) and some scenes are quite well done (the train action scene at the end was pretty cool). What I am saying is, sure, you can hate X-Men: Dark Phoenix and nobody would blame you, but should you? Because especially when comes to comic book movies, we have a lot of properly bad ones to choose from and this still stands strong above some, mainly from the mid 2000’s era. That said, will I be rushing to re-watch this any time soon? I will not, as I think we all deserve to get a little break from X-Men movies for a while. Let it rest for at least couple of years, before the inevitable reboot/remake with young, hip cast.
That’s all for this one! Did you see it? What did you think about it? Let me know!
Until next time,