X-Men: Dark Phoenix 2019 ***

Dark-Phoenix-Poster-X-Men-Day-Details‘Nobody cares anymore’ says a glum Magneto (Michael Fassbender) in writer/director Simon Kinberg’s latest and potentially last instalment of the X-Men saga of comic book adaptations. With big names like Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellern and Hugh Jackman not even bothering with cameos anymore, and Jennifer Lawrence barely featuring, the remaining cast are the ones who haven’t got anything better to do; Dark Phoenix’s ensemble feels like a reserve squad. Still, that threadbare quality can be a virtue, and Kinberg’s film certainly rattles along at a brisk pace as the X-Men square up to some galactic force which has ensnared a space shuttle, and return to earth only to find that Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) is not herself. A brawl sets Jean on the run from the other X-Men, and into the realm of Magneto, but there’s a group of aliens led by Jessica Chastain in hot pursuit. Who these aliens are or what they want is never explained; the set pieces are the thing, including a Central Park punch-up and some shenanigans on and around a speeding train. It all moves at a fair clip, but the carelessness with character and continuity will not appeal to fan-boys. When a minor character says ‘My kid used to like you’ to the X-Men, his disgruntlement makes him an ideal audience surrogate; despite evident effort to pump some charge into the franchise, a hot mess is still just a mess.

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2 Comments

  1. I think you’ve nailed it- who cares about the X-Men? Its ironic really, because back in the Chris Claremont era of the 1970s, the comic was like a soap opera with characters that fans really cared about, got excited and worried about. For me there has always been an odd disconnect with the films. I think First Class was pretty fine and promised much, but all that angst between Magneto and Prof X in the series, ugh. I think the film-makers forgot that even when Marvel gets serious, it never fails to inject some ‘fun’ into it.

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