Pros: New meeting with familiar characters; famous actors Cons: Chaotic narration; weak fight scenes; unconvincing acting work X-Men: Dark Phoenix / “X-Men: Dark Phoenix”
Genre: Comic book film
Director Simon Kinberg
Cast: James McAvoy (Charles Xavier / Professor X), Michael Fassbender (Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto), Jennifer Lawrence (Raven Darkholme / Mystique), Nicholas Hoult (Hank McCoy / Beast), Sophie Turner (Jean Gray / Phoenix), Tye Sheridan (Scott Summers / Cyclops), Alexandra Shipp (Ororo Monroe / Storm), Evan Peters (Peter Maximoff / Quicksilver), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Kurt Wagner / Nightcrawler), Jessica Chastain (Wook), etc.
Студии 20th Century Fox, Marvel Entertainment, TSG Entertainment
Year of release 2019
When cinematic comic book universes had not yet become mainstream, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe did not even exist in Kevin Feige’s imagination, 20th Century Fox already had three related mutant films in its portfolio that became something of a proto-MCU – X-Men ( 2000), X2 (2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). And although the third film logically completed the story of Wolverine and Jean Gray (Famke Janssen was good in this role), the creators were not ready to part with the profitable franchise and began to experiment.
First with the solo Wolverine film X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), then with the unusual reboot of the X-Men story: First Class (2011), again with the Wolverine film The Wolverine (2013). At this point, the Marvel Cinematic Universe caught up with the X-Men in the number of films and rushed forward at full steam, while 20th Century Fox continued to experiment with its own material. Unusual autocrossover X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014); the brazen and, as it turns out, very successful Deadpool (2016); the controversial X-Men: Apocalypse (2016); incredibly touching and serious Logan (2017); Deadpool 2 (2018). However, the actors of the main series were growing up and it had to be completed somehow. It seems that this is exactly how Dark Phoenix was born – a forced summing up, and it doesn’t matter that the authors had already used the story with Dark Phoenix in X-Men: The Last Stand, and it was very appropriate there.
Dark Phoenix director Simon Kinberg made a huge contribution to the X-Men franchise. He was a writer on The Last Stand, Days of Future Past, Apocalypse and a producer on First Class, Deadpool and Logan. In addition, he is responsible for the scripts of such films as Mr. &Mrs. Smith, Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and… the nightmarish Fantastic Four (2015). He also produced Elysium, Chappie, The Martian and Murder on the Orient Express. That is, Simon Kinberg clearly has a lot of experience, including experience working within the X-Men universe. But Dark Phoenix is Kinberg’s directorial debut and, it seems, he stepped on all the carefully laid out rake.
The lack of experience in directing work takes its toll. Kinberg made changes to the script right on the set, which is why the logic of the film suffers in places, and the narrative itself looks very chaotic. The director in Simon Kinberg fought with the screenwriter, who in turn fought with the producer. Sometimes combining these roles in one person benefits the picture, but this is not the case at all.
It would seem that the story of a heroine who has been deceived all her life for her own benefit should touch the viewer, but… the motivation of the offended Jean Gray, who accidentally received the power of a deity, looks like the motivation of a little girl who plans to freeze her head off to spite her grandmother. Sophie Turner doesn’t have strong emotions at all, it’s even surprising how she managed to show them in Game of Thrones.
The other characters don’t do much either. The irreconcilable struggle between Charles Xavier and Magneto turned into a half-hearted squabble. The passion of the Beast and Cyclops degenerated into a habit. The mystic, who was supposed to be the catalyst for this picture, was wildly tired of everything in the world. One Wouk, Jessica Chastain’s character, seems to know what she wants and goes towards her goal with the tenacity of a Terminator and the exact same expression on her face as Schwarzenegger.
Watching X-Men: Dark Phoenix, especially after what we saw in Avengers: Endgame or Logan, which really drew a line under the stories of the heroes, is unbearably painful. It’s painful and boring. Even the battle scenes, including those with time dilation from Quicksilver, which pulled out the two previous films, turned out to be chaotic, very predictable and… uninteresting. Wolverine is not here, Phoenix herself simply burns everything around her, Storm and Cyclone as fighters are very straightforward. The only good thing is Nightcrawler, but he is a rather cowardly character and tries not to get into a fight.
Dark Phoenix is perhaps the weakest film in the X-Men line. Weak and completely unnecessary. A checklist for the franchise, which may be reborn within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Or maybe it won’t be reborn. The damage that X-Men: Dark Phoenix is doing to the X-Men right now is hard to underestimate.
PS Within the X-Men universe from 20th Century Fox/TSG Entertainment, another film will be released – the notorious The New Mutants. The horror film was completed back in 2017 and was supposed to be released before Dark Phoenix, but its release was repeatedly postponed. The current release date for the film on big screens is April 3, 2020.
Unfortunately, the last film in the X-Men universe turned out to be extremely weak