And so here we are, at the end of the road for the X-Men franchise produced by Fox. I don't think this was supposed to be the case however, with Disney spending megabucks to buy 21st Century Fox, I can only see the next appearance from the famous mutant team being within the MCU, whenever that may come. Simon Kinberg has been on board the franchise for a while now, having multiple writing and producing duties throughout, and he makes the step up to directorial duties with Dark Phoenix.
After a mission to rescue astronauts goes wrong, Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) finds her powers enhanced by a solar flare, making her a serious threat to all life on Earth. It's up to the X-Men to stop her, some wanting to save her and others wanting her dead.
The most frustrating thing about Dark Phoenix is just how dull it all is, meaning it closes the Fox X-Men franchise with a bit of whimper rather than a triumphant flourish. This arc from the comics is supposedly iconic for the character yet there's no sense of that at all, Kinberg's writing and directing just feeling flat from start to finish.
Even the action sequences, save for the finale aboard a train, lack the excitement that usually makes these films entertaining at the very least. Impressive effects can't even mask the fact the action beats feel uninspired. Hans Zimmer's score doesn't even have the power to add much to proceedings either, which I never thought I'd say myself about the great composer.
Coming to the performances, Dark Phoenix is lacking a powerful lead for the titular character. Sophie Turner made a name for herself in Game of Thrones, a show where she was far from the best, and she doesn't own the gravitas to bring the Dark Phoenix. It's all little nicer than it should be. James McAvoy is the stand-out as Charles Xavier, once again showing dedication to the role akin to Patrick Stewart, while the likes of Nicholas Hoult, Jennifer Lawrence and even Michael Fassbender are wasted however, the real criminal act here is how the film doesn't utilise an actress of Jessica Chastain's calibre, reducing her to nothing much of a role at all.
It's a real shame things have ended this way for the franchise, no fanfare at all for the one that paved the way for the likes of the MCU seeming rather strange. With how the MCU has handled its prize characters, I cannot wait to see what they have in store for this iconic team.
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