Men: Dark Phoenix Review: Both Joyless And Boring

New Dark Phoenix extended clip puts Raven and Charles at odds

The summer of Marvel films continues. She's grown tired and mistrustful of the way her adoptive brother uses the X-Men as tools to help promote his personal agenda.

Based on the last few "X-Men" movies, the prospect of new management has seemed enticing, and "Dark Phoenix" does little to squelch the sense that it's about time to put a torch to things and boot - or more likely, reboot - "X-Men" back into a 21st-century universe. Mutant abilities come from genetics, not stones of infinite power. Jessica Chastain shows up as a body-snatching alien. The latest, and probably final, chapter in the X-Men superhero saga is a somber, even funereal affair - not in a stylish, Christopher Nolan-esque way, or even a la Logan, the deliciously cynical comic-book-noir contribution to the mutant canon from 2017. For some reason, Turner and Sheridan have the chemistry of a black hole, which seems odd considering that the Game of Thrones actress generally has chemistry with most actors with whom she shares the screen.

Critics have panned Dark Phoenix as a boring and poorly-executed sequel, with the Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips describing it as a "lavishly brutal chore", while CinemaBlend's Eric Eisenberg says it's "jaw-dropping in its incompetence overall".

In Dark Phoenix, the X-Men face their most formidable and powerful foe: one of their own, Jean Grey.

It's the women who are all-powerful in this picture - Mystique, Chastain's alien and Jean - with Jean's growing power threatening to wreck the planet. In what's alleged to be the last of the First Class arm of the franchise, Dark Phoenix is more of a fizzle than a fiery conclusion. The standoff at Jean Grey's house gets the redux treatment. Raising doubts in Beast (Nicholas Hoult) about his mentor's motives. How about Charles, whose hopes of peaceful co-existence is ruined by Jean's out-of-control devastation and Magneto who just wants to live a solitary life on a commune with other mutants.

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As for getting Gregg back in action given his busy schedule not only acting but helming S.H.I.E.L.D. episodes (he directs Season 6's premiere), she added: "Scheduling our incredible successful actors is always a challenge but Clark and his people made it possible for us to have him and we were better for it". Its biggest problem is that it never earns the emotional connection and sympathy needed to engage in the gravity of the story.

The X-Men series began in 2000 with the eponymous opener and the last film came in the form of Deadpool 2 previous year. Her character is the one most obviously tampered with in edits, appearing at odd points and without much fanfare, and her army of fellow shapeshifters confuse a lot of the third-act action, which features so many clashing bad guys that it's hard to parse out who's fighting for whom and who we're even rooting for. I tell you this in the spirit of fairness; it's possible, I suppose, that I would have liked the movie more if I'd seen it under more pristine conditions.

Dark Phoenix, like X-Men: The Last Stand before it, is a film with its feet firmly and purposefully on the ground, because it's attempting to zero in on the humanity of its characters. It melds perfectly into the brewing conflict between Professor X and Mystique. Yet "X-Men Origins: Wolverine", though also a Wolverine-centric film, is without question one of the worst films in the entire franchise, straddling the line between camp and melodrama without ever indulging in either quality in an entertaining way (it also has the ignominious distinction of totally botching the introduction of Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool character).

And it comes not a moment too soon. Far from ideal, but definitely worth seeing for the fans. As it turns out, director Simon Kinberg was constantly making changes to the script on set.

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