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X-Men: Dark Phoenix

Opening Date
05 Jun 2019
PG13 Violence & Brief Coarse Language
114 mins
English with Chinese subtitles
Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Simon Kinberg
Sophie Turner, Evan Peters, Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender
In DARK PHOENIX, the X-MEN face their most formidable and powerful foe: one of their own, Jean Grey. During a rescue mission in space, Jean is nearly killed when she is hit by a mysterious cosmic force. Once she returns home, this force not only makes her infinitely more powerful, but far more unstable. Wrestling with this entity inside her, Jean unleashes her powers in ways she can neither comprehend nor contain. With Jean spiraling out of control, and hurting the ones she loves most, she begins to unravel the very fabric that holds the X-Men together. Now, with this family falling apart, they must find a way to unite -- not only to save Jean's soul, but to save our very planet from aliens who wish to weaponize this force and rule the galaxy.
By Rachelle  07 Jun 2019
X-Men: Dark Phoenix is a bittersweet farewell to characters we're not ready to say goodbye to just yet.
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Simon Kinberg, the man responsible for writing and producing many of the films in the X-Men franchise, sits in the director’s chair for the first time ever with its final instalment - X-Men: Dark Phoenix.

If you’ve followed the X-Men movies since the inception of the first of its kind, X-Men in 2001, you’ll know that the Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix storyline is a familiar one. 

X-Men: Dark Phoenix starts off by introducing us to 8-year old Jean Grey, whose parents seemingly died in a car crash that was unintentionally caused by her telekinesis. Professor Charles Xavier takes her in to his School for Gifted Youngsters and assists in honing her psychic abilities.

Fast forward to 1992, approximately three decades since the events of the first film that introduced us to a younger Charles, Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) is sent on a rescue mission to space with a team consisting of Scott Summers/Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Ororo Munroe/Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Peter Maximoff/Quicksilver (Evan Peters) and Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), led by Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult). On this mission, Jean absorbs the solar flare that they were sent to rescue a team of astronauts from, amplifying her powers as a result.

Jean begins experiencing incontrollable outbursts that causes harm on her fellow mutants. She becomes so strong that even Charles’ powers are lost on her, a definite representation of her as an Omega-level mutant though it isn’t mentioned in the film. She leaves the X-Men after *spoiler alert!* killing off the only sound voice of the film, Raven, and seeks refuge with Magneto and his merry band of mutants but he turns her away.

Feeling lost and confused, Jean finds solace in a shapeshifting alien lifeform named Vuk, played by a very blond and stoic Jessica Chastain. Vuk is a D’Bari who has infiltrated earth in search of the solar flare absorbed by Jean. Turns out, the ‘solar flare’ is really the Phoenix Force and is responsible for destroying the D’Baris home planet. Vuk tells Jean that the power she possesses can help the D’Bari rebuild their home but she clearly has agendas of her own. In a turn of events, Hank reaches out to Magneto for help to take Jean down. 

Now, the X-Men are an accomplished and powerful group of mutants. Unfortunately for them, the film fails to utilise this. Other than Jean Grey, Charles, Magneto, Raven and Beast, the rest of the X-Men (Cylcops, Storm, Quicksilver, etc.) are relegated to supporting roles that undermine their characters. If paid attention to, the film’s flow is as erratic as Jean Grey’s behaviour throughout. This, paired with soundtrack by the godfather of dramatic scores himself - Hans Zimmer, makes the film feel more like a psychological drama rather than a superhero movie.

Continuity is almost lost in this film, much like the recent instalments of the franchise. With the revisiting of a foolproof X-Men storyline that has already been told within the franchise 13 years prior (X-Men: The Last Stand), to bearing similarities to superhero films we’ve seen recently (Shazam! and Captain Marvel, anyone?), it’s no wonder Dark Phoenix fails to make a name of its own.

Despite the lack of a solid screenplay though, the cast did a pretty good job of holding their own. Sophie Turner’s years on Game of Thrones playing a young timid Sansa who evolves into a strong and empowered queen has truly paid off. 

X-Men: Dark Phoenix may not have delivered the level of send off the fans of the X-Men series deserve, but they did celebrate their true core characters - Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr - in the best subtle way they possibly can. Sirs Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are an irreplaceable pair, but James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender have proven to make their own mark in this 19-year long franchise. They will be missed.
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