Check out our review for the latest X-Men movie, “Dark Phoenix”!
“Dark Phoenix” explores Jean Grey and her corruption as the celestial force, Phoenix, takes control. The film follows Jean as she struggles to control her power and falls into the manipulation of evil aliens who seek to control the Phoenix power for their own survival. *Some spoilers below!*
The movies opens in 1975 with a young Jean, riding in the car with her parents as she first exhibits her mutant powers. We see that since the beginning, Jean had trouble controller her own powers, as she causes their car to swerve and crash into an oncoming car, killing her mother and injuring her father. From there, Charles Xavier meets with her and tells her that she should come to his school for special people like her, promising to take care of her and teach her to control her power. There, Charles places various mental blocks within Jean to keep her tragic past from resurfacing and to hide the truth about her family.
Fast forward to 1992 and the space shuttle Endeavor, which had just been launched, was damaged by a mysterious solar flare above the earth. With the astronauts stranded in the space shuttle, the president calls on the X-Men to save them. With Beast, Mystique, Jean Grey, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Storm, and Quicksilver on board, they fly up to rescue the astronauts. With the space shuttle spinning out of control, ripping itself apart, and the solar flare approaching closer, the X-Men raceto secure all of the astronauts. After an intense rescue, Nightcrawler failed to get Jean Grey back from the shuttle in time, causing her to get hit by the solar flare, and oddly enough, for it to be absorbed by her. After bringing her back for a medical evaluation, Jean appears to be fine, even though she should have died from the flare. In fact, her power levels seem to be off the charts. The Phoenix is now within her.
With this new power living within her, Jean feels a surge of power and adrenaline. Jean struggles to control her power, accidentally letting off a powerful burst at a midnight party and knocking down the metal barriers Charles put there earlier. She then realizes that her father is, in fact, alive and that she was lied to by Charles. She leaves the school to meet her father, where she loses further control of her powers and goes down a darker path. Meanwhile, aliens who have been trailing the celestial force come to Earth after witnessing Jean absorb the Phoenix power. They take human forms and search for Jean to manipulate her into using the power to resurrect their fallen species and claim the Earth.
“Dark Phoenix” takes an interesting ride as Jean struggles with this new power and her identity. The film does a great job of showing the power of the Phoenix, especially against the other mutants. From besting Prof. X at telepathy and completely blocking him from her mind to battling and beating Magneto with her telekinesis without breaking a sweat, the film shows how effortlessly stronger she is than everyone else. The action throughout the film is great, with interesting fight sequences and great set pieces. The long train fight sequence is particularly amazing, with each X-Men getting time to shine. It’s also interesting to see Jean’s descent into losing control and hurting the people she loves and how she, and the other X-Men, handle that.
However, I did have a couple of gripes with this movie. The setting changes were often abrupt and without explanation of location or time. Admittedly, this is a small issue, but I can’t say it didn’t take me out of the film a little bit. Additionally, the final battle between Jean Grey and Vuk, the leader of the D’Bari aliens and the one after the Phoenix power, lacked any real fighting. Vuk and Jean are both built up to be immensely power throughout the film. Vuk was able to casually beat each X-Men on the train and Jean Grey has the power to literally disintegrate anyone. However, instead of an epic fight sequence or power struggle between them, they simply stand there trying to see who can handle the Phoenix power. While it is meant to show the growth Jean Grey has made and her acceptance of the power, it’s not
particularly satisfying, especially after following that amazing train fight sequence.
Besides these things, “Dark Phoenix” was a very fun movie and a definite improvement from the last movie. With much better CGI effects, great fight sequences, and a more straightforward story, “Dark Phoenix” is a fun and entertaining movie to watch and a great conclusion to this epic series. Definitely check it out when it hits theaters tomorrow, June 7th!