X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)

I’m always wary when people describe films as “one of the worst of the year”, particularly when it comes to films with female leads (the new Ghostbusters, for example, was at worst, inoffensive and bland, yet received the vitriol usually reserved for a fart at a funeral). Let me reassure you, this film is as bad as you have heard. I haven’t seen anything this bad since the new Hellboy. In fact, I think this might be worse, it seems to fail in every single aspect of what makes a film good.

1. It Doesn’t Fit The X-Men Timeline

Like, at all. People criticise the MCU for being inconsistent with timelines, but this just takes the piss. Let’s get the obvious out of the way; so there are essentially two X-men timelines in terms of cast, right? There’s the old one (which is technically the new one as the films are all set in the present day), with Patrick Stewart etc. Then there are the new ones (which are the old ones as they’re prequels) starring McAvoy etc. The first Stewart film was set in 2000, whereas the McAvoy ones start in 1962, this one is set in 1992, so 8 years away from Stewart, but 30 away from McAvoy, so obviously they use the McAvoy casting group. That’s f*cking weird.

2. Pulls A Snyder

As I’ve probably before when mentioning Batman Vs. Superman etc, Zack Snyder has a very specific problem with his directing style: he creates good looking shots, but to get to them people do very stupid things. This film has a tendency to do the same thing, well, it attempts to, it forgets to do the “make the actual shot look good” part, so you end up with shots which they build up illogically. One in particular that stands out is when they’re rescuing people in space, and one of the X-Men exits the spaceship to save someone and ends up just floating in space, holding one of the other characters (presumed) lifeless body, and instead of going straight back to the ship (you know, where they can breathe), he just stays staring there for like 10 seconds.

3. The dialogue.

The dialogue here is, well it’s not good. It has some of the worst dialogue Jennifer Lawrence has ever had to utter (which considering she was in Serena, really takes something). There’s one line in particular is cringeworthy:

“We’ve saved you so many times, maybe you ought to rename us X-Women”

This comes immediately after a scene where two male characters are integral to saving lives, so it makes NO sense and is just there to get a “woo” moment from the audience. It also wastes the one F-Bomb they have, wasting it on a character who delivers it with all the menace of strawberry yoghurt. Completely wasted, he delivers it flatly, and none of the characters even respond to it.

4. Wasting characters.

It’s not just the f-word they waste. They have Quicksilver, who is one of the best characters in the franchise (and handled A LOT better in this series than it was in the MCU), and they decide to sideline him for most of the film. This is really weird as just after that they kill off Mystique (Apparently, because Jennifer Lawrence didn’t want to play the character anymore). Now, this is tipped to be the last movie in the franchise, so wouldn’t it have made more sense to kill Quicksilver, and sideline Mystique?

5. Wastes Ideas

One of the most frustrating parts of this film is it occasionally flirts with interesting concepts. The biggest one is that Xavier has become ego-driven and affected by fame. Which is another idea; at the start of this film the X-Men are heroes, with a direct line to the US government. How will these characters react to finally being loved and adored? No idea, this film throws that aside.

6. The Story

There’s no compelling villain in this film. The main villain isn’t actually Jean Grey, as the marketing suggests. She is for some of the film, and then she suddenly has a face turn and the villain becomes someone who she gave some of her power too. So essentially she’s a less powerful version of one of the main characters. So there’s no sense of drama, at all. She belongs to an alien race who are never really explained. We’re given their name and a VERY short backstory. How short? Put it this way, the detail they’re given is less than the detail we STILL get every time they reboot Batman. It’s also never explained why they already have important government positions before the invasion. The final third was rewritten, and you can tell. Not just because of a car suddenly changing into a train.

7. Everyone is an idiot.

Well, I say everyone, the government gave Magneto his own land. That’s Magneto, who has tried to overthrow the US government multiple times, and basically attempted genocide. Why would the government give him land? It makes no sense.

8. It’s too late.

This is a poor end to the franchise. Which is a shame as this franchise already had the perfect closer: Logan. That is genuinely one of the greatest superhero films ever, and the perfect goodbye. That film gave the franchise a lot of good will, which has now been thrown away in this, this, this, REALLY bad film. It’s REALLY bad. And the fact it came after Logan (and is the first superhero film to come out since Endgame), just makes it seem even worse.

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