Rob Reviews "Dark Phoenix"
I have officially given up on the naming conventions for all things Marvel movies. “Civil War,” “Infinity War,” “Age of Ultron,” “Days of Future Past,” and now “Dark Phoenix” have now forced me to not trust the material they are alleging to in the comic book world. Sure, they have fancy names, but to try to tie them to the stories they are named after are interpreted loosely at best. The latter of those titles is what we are dealing with here as the Fox Marvel deal comes to a close.
After the events of “X-Men: Apocalypse” (I guess), this film focuses on Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), who from a young age knows that she is different. The story itself takes place in 1992 as the world is changing and so are the roles of mutants in the world. Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and his X-Men have worked hard to create a society that accepts people with powers as allies and not enemies, and during a rescue mission of some astronauts that requires all of their powers, Grey ends up absorbing what the team thinks is a solar flare, but turns out to be so much more. With an alien race hot on the trail of the power it has given her, Jean confronts her past, her present, and her future all at one time.
When the reboot of “X-Men” started with “X-Men: First Class,” I was bonkers out of my mind with this fresh take on the legend and characters I have grown up on. It WAS one of those stories that was so far out of continuity that it was almost back in it, but the story itself was so well done and fun that I didn’t even care; I simply left my geek brain at the door and enjoyed it. Going to “Days of Future Past,” I still enjoyed what they did, but it wasn’t really what I was looking for from a story telling standpoint. (Side note: I have not seen “The Rogue Cut,” but I have heard it helps in a way that the “Ultimate Edition” helps “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”.) “Apocalypse” was nothing short of a disaster on almost every level, but it teased this film in a way that seemed a bit odd in the way that it worked out.
First time director Simon Kinberg (but no stranger to the franchise) brings a visually beautiful film, but it surrounds a script that just kind of seems to just be there. This is one of those strange occurrences where a film that clocks in at under two hours could have been better served to be on par with some of the other Marvel films, even though this was from its old studio. I don’t in any way feel like this was Fox’s “playing to finish” before everything joined the House of Mouse, but it also seems to fit into the trend of mediocre Fox/Marvel films (“Deadpool” notwithstanding). With Master of all things Disney/Marvel Kevin Feige pontificating that this particular franchise will fade into the background for the next few years, that may be the best thing for it.