X-Men: Dark Phoenix Cannot Quite Rise from the Ashes

Director: Simon Kinberg

Writer: Simon Kinberg

*Based on comic books created and written by John Byrne, Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, Jack Kirby, and Stan Lee*

Producers: Daniel Auclair, Todd Hallowell, Simon Kinberg, Stan Lee, Kathleen McGill, Josh McLaglen, Hutch Parker, and Lauren Shuler Donner

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Evan Peters, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Jessica Chastain

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An unsurprisingly magnificent score from Hans Zimmer, stimulating sound design, solid editing, intriguing action set pieces, and gripping cinematography and shot selection simply could not make up for a rushed narrative full of clichés, unimaginative dialogue, and lethargic acting. The story concept had a ton of potential, with its being adapted from one of the most iconic comic book story arcs of all time. Still, so many aspects of this version of the narrative felt shoehorned and forced, with little time to effectively flesh out the interesting facets.

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Certain segments of the story actually produce a respectable effort when it comes to exploring the compelling themes of family, loyalty, and social stereotypes/classifications, but the ensuing sudden sharp turns in the narrative negate from the overall positive impact of these moments.

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You are probably going to hear a lot of people say this is the worst X-Men movie they have ever seen. While I do not necessarily fall into that camp, I can understand this viewpoint. At the end of the day, I walked away with an empty feeling.

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With the original X-Men film from 2000 being the introduction for many people (myself included) into the modern superhero genre, I was optimistically looking forward to a satisfying conclusion for this iteration of the X-Men saga (due to Disney’s purchasing of Fox). After a multitude of production troubles, last-minute reshoots and alterations to the script, and multiple release delays, I still held out hope. Unfortunately, this was unfulfilled wishful thinking. While it is still worth watching for die-hard fans of the franchise, casual movie-goers will not miss much by skipping out.
Grade C+

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