The famously erratic X-Men franchise closes with a shrug and a meh. Dark Phoenix is actually a sort-of remake of the overcooked X-Men: The Last Stand, wherein Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) unlocks the full force of her telekinetic abilities, powers which threaten to consume her and destroy our world. Writer and director Simon Kinberg is leaning heavily on fans’ longtime familiarity with the X-Men to fill in this film’s considerable narrative gaps. Thing is, we don’t know this Jean well enough to give two rips about her predicament. We also don’t believe the romance between her and Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), not for a second, despite what we may know about their history together in the comics. Further, the supposedly kind and well-intentioned Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) comes off like an insufferable prick, prioritizing human approval of mutants above all else . . . until he suddenly doesn’t. There is a very weak attempt to ascribe a feminist subtext to Jean’s situation, but it is laughably half-assed. As Mystique, Jennifer Lawrence looks so utterly bored, you can almost see her checking her watch, counting down the minutes to her emancipation from this out-of-gas franchise. Which is a shame, because the X-Men series was built on compelling humanist ideals. Watching this series, especially the last four installments, has been akin to watching a young, energetic idealist grow and age into a bitter, compromised cynic, limping across the finish line and ignorant of why they started this thing in the first place.
- Streaming Review – Always Be My Maybe
- Film Review – Godzilla: King of the Monsters