‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ review: So long and thanks for all SFX

This image released by Twentieth Century Fox shows Sophie Turner in a scene from "Dark Phoenix."   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

First of let me say I prefer Famke Janssen’s Jean Grey to Sophie “Sansa Stark” Turner’s version. Turner looks vaguely like a KC Bokadia heroine in an ‘80s weepie. In all other departments while not scoring straight As, Dark Phoenix manages high to average Bs.

The Nineties setting offers a different palette without all the hectic technology, hysterically-pinging smart phones and slithery touch screens. The story is based on The Dark Phoenix Saga where the talented, telepathic Jean Grey gets radiated by a universal force, Phoenix, after a space mission goes wrong. There are some evil space creatures who want the power for themselves.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  • Director: Simon Kinberg
  • Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Jessica Chastain
  • Run time: 114 minutes
  • Storyline: Jean is infected with the force of the universe and she has to choose what to do with her awesome super powers

Jean needs to figure out which side she is on. Professor X has to swallow his ego and admit to his mistakes, Cyclops has to look beyond love for Jean, Raven has to ask tough questions of Professor X and then there are lots of happy explosions set to a Hans Zimmer score.

The fights are imaginatively choreographed, especially the train sequence - you can never go wrong with trains. The cast are all easy on the eye from James McAvoy (Professor X), Michael Fassbender (Magneto) and Jennifer Lawrence (Raven) to Nicholas Hoult (Beast), Tye Sheridan (Cyclops), Alexandra Shipp (Storm), and Jessica Chastain (mean alien Vuk).

Another sequence with Quicksilver stopping bullets to the tune of ‘Time in a Bottle’ would have been the cherry on the cake. Also on the topic of Quicksilver there is no mention of him being Magneto’s son - say what? While director-writer Simon Kinberg talks of Cyclops and Jean being the emotional core of the movie, it is Raven and Beast, Professor X and Magneto whose relationships and realisations give the movie emotional heft.

And after all the sound and fury, two questions remain. Why does Vuk change her clothes after taking over Jessica Chastain’s body? The Terminators choose a costume and stick to it for the entire length of the film. The second question is why do all the flying superheroes put one foot behind the other when they are airborne?

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 12:34:01 AM |

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