‘Dark Phoenix’ Is A Lousy End To The X-Men Franchise

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Cut forward to 1992, and the X-Men are now doing space missions where they must rescue a group of astronauts. In an unfortunate turn of events, Jean Grey is hit by a cosmic force that turns her into the rogue Dark Phoenix.

The film begins with a prologue showing that a young Jean Grey, whose mutant powers of telepathy and telekinesis were emerging, accidentally killed her parents in a vehicle crash. The orphan is quickly taken in by Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), who has a habit of collecting children with unusual superpowers.

Simon Kinberg, who makes his feature directing debut after years as a series writer and producer, keeps the action lean, nearly brisk. X-Men: Dark Phoenix thus brings our psychic mutant Jean in focus as she transforms into a formidable rogue figure that endangers the whole planet. And I was committing so fully to it that I didn't want to run the risk of pulling away from Jean by going to the well of a fan-favorite character in these movies. Wrestling with this entity inside her, Jean unleashes her powers in ways she can neither comprehend nor contain. It is, after all, the capper for a almost two decade-old franchise that helped catapult the superhero genre to the world-dominating standing it enjoys today.

"This is the story of one of the X-Men's most beloved characters, Jean Grey, as she evolves into the iconic DARK PHOENIX". When Beast (Nicholas Hoult) goes out for revenge because of that killing, it doesn't matter because he and Jean don't have a relationship beyond being fellow X-Men. And when Jessica Chastain shows up as Vuk, interstellar alien working for the empire known as D'Bari (which boasts an Italian sandwich counter, I hear), the movie briefly stirs some anticipation of a smackdown slightly outside the usual order of business. Dark Phoenix has a loose narrative with a predictable plot and cardboard villain.

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The Independent also thought Dark Phoenix was a two-star film, and "a superficial disappointment with nothing fresh to say".

So in the timeline that Dark Phoenix is set, Wolverine is still alive and roaming around in his Berserker Rage. His new version of this story is more faithful to the comics than his first one, but the problems with The Last Stand (which was directed by Brett Ratner) always had less to do with fidelity than the size of the canvas the creators' had to work with.

Slowly, in fits and starts, Fox's "X-Men" became the franchise nobody wanted - and the latest, and possibly last, chapter in the saga, "Dark Phoenix", is the sad, misshapen end product. Dark Phoenix is expected to be Fox's final X-Men film featuring the core X-Men cast in the cinematic universe launched by director Bryan Singer in 2000 with the Disney-Fox merger now complete. It will be all about how Jean lets her inner demons take her onto the path of destruction.

The Telegraph thought it was even worse, giving it just the one star, describing the X-Men ending as "X-Hausting, X-Cruciating, and little reason to exist". "It is the culmination of 20 years of X-Men movies, as the family of mutants that we've come to know and love must face their most devastating enemy yet - one of their own". The film is slated to release on June 5, 2019. It's this emotional conflict that could very well tear the X-Men apart.

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