Dark Phoenix is a disappointing finale for the current X-Men movie franchise. But that doesn’t mean the movie entirely has no worth.
X-Men Dark Phoenix Synopsis
Several years after the events of X-Men: Apocalypse, the X-Men is a celebrated force, working hand-in-hand with the US government to contain crises. During a sub-space rescue mission, Jean Grey is consumed by a solar flare, immediately after which she returns to life with a wilder personality and greatly enhanced powers. As Jean’s powers continue to strengthen, she becomes increasingly unstable, especially after learning Xavier had lied to her about her parents. Meanwhile, a mysterious group of shape-shifting aliens invades Earth. Not only do they know the truth behind Jean’s change, they also seek to possess her new powers for themselves.
There’s been so much negativity for Dark Phoenix since its announcement, I don’t even know where to begin to describe the hatred. Among all the criticisms I’ve read, the ones that felt most legit to me were the questions of “Why are they redoing The Last Stand using the same writer?” As well as “How is this going to be a fitting swansong for the franchise, given the original saga opened several new chapters of stories?”
Well, I agree with these concerns, but a curious thing then happened. Against my expectations, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie.
Yes, the plotting could have been less abrupt, and Jennifer and Evan felt like they couldn’t wait to jump to another timeline. But Sophie Turner? She was sheer joy to watch. In fact, for the first time in near 30 years, I was horrified by the indiscriminate power of the Phoenix Force. This, I credit to Turner’s immaculate portrayal of the conflicted Jean. A performance also wonderfully supported by James McAvoy’s ever-reliable Professor X.
Now, I’m of course not saying acting alone redeemed the whole show. To repeat, the story is rushed, oversimplified, and it is definitely not an appropriate finale for a nineteen-year franchise.
Regarding the latter, allow me to invoke memories of The Last Stand. Back then, lots of us believed the franchise was done in, didn’t we? And yet years later, we had a new generation and the gem that was Days of Future Past.
Given enough time, what’s the likelihood of there being some sort of resurrection, or should I say, (another) redemption? The same cast probably wouldn’t return, but who knows for sure?
The one certainty about comic heroes and superhero movies is that there’s always a way to twist cosmic laws. Anyone, anything, can return for another showdown. Another try. Another trilogy.