X-Men: Dark Phoenix, 2019
Signed up the 28/03/2017
Dark Phoenix is a cosmic tale of tragedy and family. This is the X-Men film that finally sees Jean Grey come into her full Phoenix power as has been teased for many years in the X-Verse. The Phoenix saga comes at a price to Jean. It's full of angst, darkness and unforgiving ramifications. So going into this movie, don't expect a dough-eyed superhero movie for kids under 12.
There is murder and chaos. There are tears and old would to be healed. There are altercations within the X team itself that will pull at your heartstrings. And I'm glad director Simon Kinberg kept this film as short as was possible, and didn't feel the need to drag on its run-time just for the sake of it. In this cleverly capsuled runtime, we get a clear and straightforward approach to a Hero's Journey.
Jean is struggling with her past as well as her newly found power. She begins to unravel when she merges with a cosmic energy during a space mission that saved a lot of lives, but instigated only tragic discoveries unto her own. This isn't by no measure an event film, so don't expect a big fuss about saving the world and the people in it. This is a self-contained Jean Grey story. The beginning of the Phoenix saga—which obviously is sadly also a sendoff to the hero and her team because the biggest villain here, Capitalism, has won.
This is a character-study film where we follow Jean's journey, immersing into her fulp, destined power. She literally cracks and breaks because what comes with this one-of-kind ability she possesses is pain and suffering. This the film's themes lean toward the grim side than a fantastical, superheroing event of the ages. Each of the heroes are suffering from their own choices as well as the leaps that Jean takes towards self-discovery, and of the actors give their all to ensure that the story is as genuine as possible. Stand-out performances go to Michael Fassbender as the notorious Magneto, James McAvoy as Professor X, and especially Sophie Turner as a disgruntled mutant whose fate is tragically sealed in stone.
Dark Phoenix watches like film done the likes of Denis Villeneuve, David Fincher and Christopher Nolan, and happens to have superheroes in it. Whose to say superhero movies can't evolve and adopt other formulas besides the one that has been standardized? Heart, emotion, family and tragedy, this is what Dark Phoenix embodies. And it is one of the best X-Men films for it. If anything, this film proves just how powerful Jean Grey really is; only a few heroes come to mind compared to her, Superman, Captain Marvel and Sentry or Hulk.
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