A disclaimer from this reviewer that is to be read before proceeding with this review – I am not a fan of the super action hero film genre, so what is written might not apply to the general public who adore action hero movies. The 10th of the series of X-MEN films, DARK PHOENIX has so far been the worst reviewed film of the series. Critics have complained that the film is boring and the rating on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of writing is around 20%. (but the film has a higher 70% approval on imdb). Personally, DARK PHOENIX is not bad, is entertaining and has a good solid storyline. The same can be said for the FANTASTIC FOUR films. But he Fantastic Four films bombed because the filmmakers spent too much emphasis on story and less on action. Action hero fans DO NOT like that at all. They want mindless violence and special effects. DARK PHOENIX falls into the same trap.
DARK PHOENIX concentrates on the life of one X-man or X-woman rather, Grey (Sophie Turner). There is a lot of story here, The film opens with her as a child, engineering a car accident that kills her parents making her an orphan to be taken in by Professor Charles Xavier (James McCoy) in his school of Gifted Youngsters or in other words, School for mutant super heroes. He mentally blocks the accident from her memories and helps her hone her psychic abilities.
The film shifts to 1992 when the X-Men respond to a distress signal from the space shuttle Endeavour. The shuttle is critically damaged by a solar flare. While the X-Men save all of the astronauts, Grey absorbs the solar flare in her body. Her psychic powers are greatly amplified as a result. At the same time, the mental block placed by Xavier is destroyed and she travels to Red Hook after discovering that her father is still alive. The X-Men attempt to take Grey home. Grey meets Vuk, a D’Bari (Jessica Chastain) who explains to her that she possesses the Phoenix Force, which wiped out the D’Baris’ home planet years ago. Meanwhile, Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), who feels betrayed by Xavier’s manipulation of Grey’s memories, allies with Erik Lehnsherr (Michale Fassbender) and his mutant refugees to bring down Grey in New York City. Enough said about the plot, though there is much more. The action amplifies from here, with lots of special effects.
Most of the other X-Men are present like Cyclops, Beast, Storm, Mistique, Quicksilver among others. They are not given such to do though. McAvoy and Turner both turn in solid performances bringing in more emotions in the action flick.
The action sequences are well staged, a lot done old school style like exploding real houses instead of CGI (though there is still quite a lot of CGI). Director Kinberg is fond of using slow motion to allow the audience to appreciate the action.
Regardless of critics approval, DARK PHOENIX should do well at the box-office grossing an expected $50 million for the opening weekend.