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Dark Phoenix

Updated on September 23rd, 2019

The X-Men. Protectors of peace. Jean Grey is one of the most beloved X-Men. But when a mission goes wrong, Jean is exposed to a dark and ancient power. This power has destroyed everything it comes in contact with, until her.

Now that this power is becoming unstable, she releases it with destruction and anger. Now that this foreign power is consuming her, and the world is threatened, the X-Men have to face an important truth: they must save either the world, or their friend who threatens it.

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Movie Reviews: “Dark Phoenix

Movie Review: SLATE

Dark Phoenix

It’s tempting—not always accurate, but tempting—to say that mediocre source material makes for the best movie adaptations. Nobody thinks Everybody Comes to Rick’s as good as Casablanca, or Mario Puzo’s Godfather the equal of Coppola’s. The world-beating first Avengers movie did all sorts of numbers on the fun, but stiff and shallow, 1960s comic where those heroes first teamed up.

Dark Phoenix proves the point from the other direction. Writer and director Simon Kinberg’s second attempt to bring the influential comics storyline to the screen, after the widely derided X-Men: The Last Stand, the new movie falters in ways that show what’s great about the original, why these 40-year-old comics resonate today.

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Movie Review: GO LONDON

Dark Phoenix

Professor X, Magneto, Storm, Beast and Mystique return for a last hurrah in X-Men: Dark Phoenix, but the mutant with the defining superpower never appears on screen.

Sadim, which by weird coincidence is Midas backwards, is the alter ego of writer Simon Kinberg (also co-producer and first-time director), whose miraculous ability is turning golden acting talent to lead.

No one can survive the touch of his pen. Not Sophie Turner, so good as Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones, but so lost in the fog as Jean Grey, the title’s Dark Phoenix. Not Jennifer Lawrence, Best Actress Oscar-winner, reprising Raven/Mystique with half the feverish enthusiasm of Catherine Tate’s Lauren doing a show’n’tell.

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Movie Review: San Diego Reader

Dark Phoenix

It didn’t have to end this way — in such thoroughly standard smash ‘em up fashion, with minor heroes dutifully duking it out with faceless hordes for punchy-power bolt minute after punchy-power-bolt minute until the mayhem quotient has been met and the principals can finally square off for their climactic lightshow.

It didn’t have to end with so little emotion, so little meaning — with a sad little speech about evolving, for Phoenix’s sake. It didn’t have to, because a fair chunk of writer-director Simon Kinberg’s take on one of the more famous storylines in Marvel Comics’ history plays less like a superhero movie and more like a small-scale, humanly significant trauma drama. (Except the trauma victim will maybe destroy the world if she can’t recover.)

We open, a la Shazam!, with a little kid in the backseat of a car who inadvertently causes a frightening, slo-mo, psyche-scarring crash. But this little kid has mutant superpowers, and so she gets scooped up in the protective arms of Charles Xavier and taken into the X-Men family. Unfortunately, there are lots of ways to screw up as a parent (surprise, surprise, it’s Xavier who gets the movie’s real emotional arc), especially when you’re trying to make the world a safe place for your kid through an unending PR campaign of heroic do-goodery.

That part of the story was surprisingly thoughtful and engaging — almost tragic, even. But it seems it wasn’t explodey enough, fighty enough, actiony enough for a supermovie. Because what do you know: here comes the alien invasion, and the save-the-world stakes, and the sad sameness of fulfilled expectations. 2019.

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