Sun | Jul 21, 2019

‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’: The end?

Published:Monday | June 17, 2019 | 12:19 AMDamian Levy/Gleaner Writer
Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters, Jennifer Lawrence, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alexandra Shipp, and Tye Sheridan in ‘Dark Phoenix’.
Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters, Jennifer Lawrence, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alexandra Shipp, and Tye Sheridan in ‘Dark Phoenix’.

Imagine a superhero film that has all of the characters you’ve known and loved for over a decade coming together for an ensemble film unlike anything you’ve seen before for one stunning conclusion. If you thought of Avengers: Endgame, you could hardly be blamed. However, the description also fits another superhero film this year, albeit with far less anticipation.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix chronicles the last hurrah of the current cast with an ending that fits the franchise completely – with clunkiness, entertaining highs and forgettable lows.

The year is 1992, and the mutant threat is now on the cover of magazines, with a direct line to the president, complete with a rotary phone with an ‘X’ where the dial is meant to be. X-Men movies are all about evolution, and the films have now evolved to have as much sophistication as the 1960s Batman TV show. Nevertheless, the super team is the first line of defence when a space mission goes awry. Not everything goes according to plan, and X-Woman, Jean Grey, pays the price.

To touch on the good, the X-Men working as a unit is an incredibly satisfying experience. The fun of the team has always been how different the heroes’ powers are. It’s a welcome break from the monotony of cyber suits and super soldiers we tend to see. The problem is, several times in the film, the characters seem to have super amnesia, getting themselves into situations they could’ve easily escaped from in prior scenes.

Maddening as that may be, I was able to ignore those problems and enjoy the character work on display. It’s standard superhero flair and not at all anything to write home about (especially as a review), but it didn’t evoke the gut negative reaction that the worst superhero flicks tend to do.

Still, not as bad as I expected, but it is not going to get anyone running to the cinema. And definitely not what you hope for in a grand finale. It’s not a bad film. It has silly elements, but there are also excellent moments for characters who have been part of superhero films for two decades. The X-Men franchise just missing the 20th anniversary mark with X-Men: Dark Phoenix is as perfect a metaphor as the stumbling franchise fumbles its way into the arms of Disney.

Rating: Catch It On Cable.