Most people and critics regarded “Dark Phoenix” as a bad stumble to end the X-Men franchise -- at least for the time being, as it may be rebooted under anew banner. While the film has its failings, I think it stands up to most others in the superhero game.
I remember years ago interviewing Famke Janssen, who played Jean Grey in the original films, and hearing her disappointment that her group didn’t get around to depicting the Dark Phoenix Saga. Comic book fans speak reverentially about the DPS as one of the greatest storylines told, in which pure-hearted telepath/telekinetic Jean turns into one of the most malevolent forces of evil ever seen.
Sophie Turner takes over the role, and while I can’t help thinking Janssen would’ve been better, I think Turner acquits herself just fine. The important thing is that the relatively meek Jean discovers a taste for power she never knew she had.
It seems that her mentor, Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), has hidden some aspects of her past from her, which sets off a chain of events that will see her square off with her fellow X-Men, including Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Quicksilver (Evan Peters), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and even nemesis/occasional ally Magneto (Michael Fassbender).
This is a lean, mean superhero story without much preamble or contemplative downtime. With so many overwrought, overlong flicks these days -- yeah, I’m lookin’ at YOU, “IT: Chapter Two” -- it’s nice to experience one that prefers the straight-ahead approach.
Bonus features are good, anchored by a feature-length video commentary by wrier/director Simon Kinberg and producer Hutch Parker. There is also an expansive five-part making-of documentary, “Rise of the Phoenix: The Making of Dark Phoenix,” five deleted scenes and the following featurettes:
- Scene Breakdown: The 5th Avenue Sequence
- How to Fly Your Jet to Space with Beast