Movie Reviews: Dark Phoenix




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     20th Century Fox (hrs. mins)
     The X-Men face their most formidable and powerful foe: one of their own, Jean Grey.
     James McAvory, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hunt, Sophie Turner Turner, Tye Sheridan
Bottom Line:

Jon Rutlege

This movie makes me sad. There is so much good in it, that it had too many outside sources holding it back from greatness. It was perfect in execution, and it rates high in the top three X-men movies. However, the poor box office return of X-men Apocalypse (for good reasons), and the sale of this property to Disney, as well as the single mindset of the studio, gave us a cliff notes version of a truly epic story arch in this series history. 

It was beautiful to see the original cast back in with the addition of the new faces on the team. That always helps when you are trying to tell a cohesive story. James MacAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult are the thread that ties the last few films together. They are spot on in their performance. Sophie Turner provided depth to Jean Grey, and she didn't have a lot of time to develop it. Her compressed timeline is the first issue I have with this story. 

Matthew Vaughn (director of X-Men First Class) said in an interview that it should have been a trilogy. We don't have time to fall in love with Jean, and feel for her as she goes through her journey. This story needed to be a three-move story. First one has an unrelated big bad guy we see them defeat, and Jean gets infected. Jean starts using her powers in the second story, and she darkly uses her new skills. The third film is Jean’s redemption. 

The end of the license for Fox, and bad returns on the previous film, made the studio more wary of spending more on just one movie. Shame because in the right hands this could have been the next Infinity War. If Fox had to go out on a film, this one was the one to go on.

One outstanding transformation was that of Jessica Chastain. She was so alien and different in this role, that I was surprised when I saw her name on the credits. She did a great job of falling into the orbit of this character. Alexandra Shipp pulls off a great Storm, again. She already has the strength on the screen to quickly transform into a leader in hopefully upcoming films. We now need to see her take center stage. 

If I had to pick any nits with the performances, its the lack of chemistry between Tye Sheridan (Cyclops) and Sophie Turner – it was unenthusiastic and cold. Cyclops seemed more like a fawning puppy than a love interest. It's hard to emote with your face covered by a visor. 

It is my sincerest hope that Disney sees the value of this franchise, and we can see something worthy of some of these great characters. Whatever this franchise mutates into it, will have the visionaries and the bank vaults of Disney behind it.  

Maybe Jean Gray can be a Disney princess? She has the animal sidekick, Sorry Beast. 

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