Is X-Men: Dark Phoenix the gracious swan song we want it to be?

X Men: Dark Phoenix is the final instalment in the X-Men series as Disney acquired 20th Century Fox through a merger in March of this year. This means the next time you’ll see your favourite Mutants on the big screen will be in a reboot and as part of the MCU. So, is Dark Phoenix a gracious swan song or a massive swallow dive into a swimming pool of movie shame?

Set a decade after the events of X-Men: Apocalypse, the X-Men are now national heroes going on increasingly risky missions for the US government. Mutants and Humans live in harmony but when a solar flare hits the X-Men during a rescue mission in space, Jean Grey loses control of her abilities and unleashes the Phoenix. Oh Sheeet! Can the X-Men and women stop their friend from f-ing shiz up and destroying the world as well as protect the relationship between humans and mutants?

Dark Phoenix’s storyline is a much loved and revered arch from the comic books and it’s not the first time they’ve tried to tell this story on screen, I’m looking at you X-3 The Last Stand – bad dog in your bed. Anyway, I’m sad to say they have failed once again.

The biggest problem with the film is the pacing. With such a big story in a short period of time, they seem to just rush through stuff in and hope it works. So, you end up with villains that just turn up with no real explanation? Their motivations are vague, to say the least.

Caught up in all of this are some of Hollywood’s brightest and greatest actors who do their best with what they are given. Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy again are the standouts as Magneto and Charles Xavier, although McAvoy’s iconic professor does act very much out of character and comes across as a bit of a dick.

Dark Phoenix reminded me of what superhero movies used to be like before Hollywood cracked the code and realised that the secret to great comic book movies was a strong story written well. The film somewhat redeems itself in the third act, with an enjoyable action sequence that harkens back to the franchise’s glory days. (I believe this highlight was all part of the extensive reshoots, so I hate to imagine what the original ending was like.)  

Overall, X-men: Dark Phoenix isn’t the worst film in the franchise (Apocalypse has that crown) but it will be hard for superhero fans to find any joy in this lacklustre effort.

If you want to know if there is a post-credit scene I don’t actually know as I was so disappointed I just left when the credits rolled. I hope the post-credit was just a photo of the director Simon Kinberg holding a sign saying sorry.

Reviewed by Ian Wright.