REVIEW: Dark Phoenix

★ | Zach Hester

I debated whether or not to actually see the final chapter of Fox’s X-Men series for quite a while. After last year’s deal between Fox and Disney, this last film in a series that has spanned a majority of my life felt pretty much…irrelevant. Despite these thoughts, I wanted to go see this film because Jean Grey is my favorite character in the X-Men series and I am a big fan of Sophie Turner. Even though these factors made me ready to see Dark Phoenix, I left the theater with nothing but disappointment.

Dark Phoenix adapts the legendary story of Jean Grey’s transformation from powerful psychic to the wielder of the Phoenix Force. In this version of the story, Jean (Sophie Turner) absorbs a “solar flare” on a space mission with her fellow X-Men and becomes too powerful for her own good.

I know that the X-Men movies (outside of 2017’s Logan and 2016’s Deadpool) have never been *fantastic* films, but they’re still enjoyable. This one didn’t even achieve that. The majority of the performances fell short of what’s expected even in a superhero movie, and you can tell that several members of the cast (Jennifer Lawrence) wanted out of this film as quickly as possible.

The plot is paced entirely too quickly and rushes through a third act that had potential to actually salvage the movie. The action scenes, which are typically the biggest highlight of a superhero film, are extremely underwhelming as well.

Amidst the adaptation of this well-known comic book magnum opus, a side plot is thrown in with Vuk (Jessica Chastain), the leader of an alien race who wants to control the Phoenix Force to further their own goals. I normally love Chastain, and I’m looking forward to her role in this year’s second part of It, but I feel like anyone could’ve played this role.

I really like to support actors and actresses that I love to watch on screen. For this reason, I saw Dark Phoenix. However, that is the only reason I can justifiably say that you should see this movie. It provides no closure to this gigantic franchise and even the best actors give flat or boring performances. It’s better to wait the five years it will take to integrate these characters into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.