25 September 2023

X-Men-Dark Phoenix

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Reviewed by Victor Rebikoff.

Director: Simon Kinberg, 20thCentury Fox, M 113 Minutes.

In this final instalment of the X-Men franchise director Simon Kinberg (‘Fantastic Four’) has focused on the X-Woman Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) whose character was previously portrayed by Famke Janssen and slain by Wolverine in ‘X Men-The Last Stand.’

Turner first reappears in ‘X Men-Apocalypse’ before reprising her role as Jean Grey in this origin story showing in flashback her care by Professor Charles Xavier (James McEvoy) as a child with psychic powers following a shocking car accident.

Fast forward to 1992 where Jean Grey/Phoenix, having developed most of her powers, is an adult member of the X Men sent on a rescue mission led by Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) to save a space shuttle from a menacing solar force.

Despite saving the shuttle’s crew, including fellow friends Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), Jean Grey is left to confront a cosmic force which corrupts her powers, transforming her into a hostile and unstable Dark Phoenix.

In addition to coping with her new-found powers, which have already caused considerable destruction, Phoenix must also contend with Vuk (Jessica Chastain –‘Miss Sloane’) the leader of a shape-shifting alien race intent on draining her of the force.

After causing the accidental death of a key X Woman, Phoenix seeks the support of Magneto (Michael Fassbender) but instead finds him prepared to leave his reclusive lifestyle and retaliate for the death of his dear friend.

In the midst of Magneto’s efforts to destroy Phoenix and Xavier attempts to save her, there is the final confrontation with Vuk in which she and her alien accomplices are vanquished as a flaming phoenix rises in the sky.

Considering this movie is the final curtain on what has been an extraordinarily enjoyable and entertaining franchise it is disappointing to see ‘Dark Phoenix’ being made at the end of the series without any real purpose.

More appropriately, and in the evolution of the major X men and women characters, Kinberg could have made a stand-alone movie on Jean Grey similar to ‘X Men Origins-Wolverine.’

The only saving grace is Turner’s own performance together with some pleasing special effects.

Vic’s Verdict: 2 ½ Stars

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