A joint cinema trip for all members of Team CineChat saw us catching up with the latest entry in the X-Men franchise, Dark Phoenix. Here are some thoughts from each of us regarding the movie.
Review by “MagLeeTo” Boardman
Dark Phoenix sees the end of an era for the X-Men franchise, being the last of their movies to go into production before the recent acquisition of Fox by Disney. It’s a series of movies which has unfortunately had more misfires than it has hits. For me, some of the better movies have been right up there with the biggest of the MCU movies in terms of quality, storytelling and entertainment, so it’s a real shame that Dark Phoenix turns out to be yet another misfire.
Things start off well. We’re in 1992, and the X-Men are currently riding high on popularity, with Charles Xavier even having his own hotline to the president! A trip up into space to save some astronauts in peril is impressive, with the X-Men all working effectively together as a team under pressure. In fact, these team moments are the best thing about the movie – with every character getting a chance to effectively utilise their specific set of skills.
What lets things down for Dark Phoenix is the script. Featuring plenty of awkward dialogue that’s either cheesy or exposition heavy, but mostly just plain boring. Moments that are supposed to be emotional, intense or poignant come across as dull and frustrating and although many of the cast do their best, it rarely hits home, even feeling out of character at times. Add to that a completely pointless villain (Jessica Chastain) without any clearly defined motivation that you can get behind, and the negative elements simply far outweighed the positives for me. Who knows what form the X-Men may eventually take within the MCU, but hopefully they will be utilised to their full potential again sometime in the future.
Review by “Dark Mark” Parmenter
After nearly 20 years of Fox’s X-Men, over a dozen films, I so desperately wanted this movie to be good, mainly as it’s the last one under the Fox banner.
But unfortunately, I’m here to tell you this isn’t the case I’m afraid. So what went wrong, I hear you ask?
After seeing the Dark Phoenix comics storyline mishandled in The Last Stand, I thought this is their chance to do this story right, after all this is the tale of one of their own (Jean Grey) being corrupted by an alien force whilst on a space mission that goes wrong. This starts to change her and the team are forced to make some tough choices. But where this should be really dark, as the trailer implies, it just feels quite laboured and a bit all over the place, never really taking off.
Most of the acting I didn’t mind, but there wasn’t enough action and it just felt like it was going over the same stuff all the time! It was great to see them as a proper team, including some great outfits, but you never got them goosebump moments like you do in say an Avengers movie and that’s a real shame as I love the X-Men and most of the past films have hit the spot.
So to sum it up, I would say instead of going out with a bang it actually goes out with a whimper and that makes me truly sad.
Now that the Fox/Disney merger is finally done and dusted I look forward to the X-Men coming into the MCU, probably a good five years away, but I am sure it will be worth the wait as Marvel studios pretty much haven’t put a foot wrong,
Review by “Professor Deb” Parmenter
I waited a few days on purpose before sitting down to write my little review, mainly because I have loved all other X-Men films both old and new and just feel a little short changed by this latest story.
I didn’t want to be completely negative as on the whole I don’t think they’ve made a bad film, Nicolas Hoult is back as Hank in a really enjoyable performance, James McAvoy shows us Professor X does have character flaws and may be more interested in his own ego and self interest than anything else and I really enjoyed seeing a fully formed X-Men team lead by The Beast and Raven.
However there are no wow moments for me the Dark Phoenix just doesn’t get dark enough, the fights seemed to be the same just in a different location, the story loses traction about a 3rd of the way through and with Quicksilver played by Evan Peters going missing part way through the film the fun element of the earlier movies goes missing with him.
Sophie Turner who plays Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix really tries her best and she was believable as the tortured soul struggling to control her powers. I believe she will go on to do better and I can’t wait to see what she does in the future after her long stint in Game of Thrones, but she was short changed as well in a film that didn’t really let anyone have their moment.
I think I just found the whole thing a little boring.