Dark Phoenix

BV_0150_v0028_SNL.1231 – Sophie Turner and Jessica Chastain in Twentieth Century Fox’s DARK PHOENIX. Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.

Steeped in warm remembrance, “The Dark Phoenix Saga” was an extended X-Men storyline in Uncanny X-Men # 101-108 from 1976, and its aftermath was contained in issues #129-138 in 1980. It was the basis for 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, written by Simon Kinberg who has been given a second chance to get it right. As the final chapter in Fox Studios’ X-Men franchise, now acquired by Disney, it’s a hurried attempt to establish Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), the telekinetic psychic from the previous film, X-Men: Apocalypse, as the ultimate antagonist in the X-universe, somewhat akin to Galactus the planet eater or Dr. Manhattan from DC’s Watchmen. The fact that she’s becoming godlike is never directly addressed in this movie.

A rock rolling down a hill is basic Film School 101. That’s been refigured as an unexpected head-on collision as the setup for relating Jean’s origin, set in 1975. How could the filmmakers be so dumb as to use Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” as background music being played on the radio when it wasn’t even recorded until 1977 or released until January 1978?

Returning from a rescue mission in space, Jean is consumed by radiation from a solar flare and discovers her enhanced abilities are out of her control. As her memories return from barriers Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) put in place to help her adjust as a child, she turns against her teammates at the urging of an ill-defined alien Vuk (Jessica Chastain), the leader of a race terminated by the cosmic cloud that has possessed Jean. Meanwhile, Erik/Magneto (Michael Fassbender) is in seclusion. I came out of it kinda irritated that it wasn’t more of a dazzler.

[PG-13]