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.

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.

Musings On Marvel: Day 11 (Avengers: Age Of Ultron)

Director: Joss Whedon (writer of Toy Story and uncredited co-writer on Twister)

Budget: $250million

Box Office: $1.4billion

  • Why did you need to find the Loki Pokey stick? Wasn’t it at the top of the Avengers tower at the end of the Avengers movie? Was it stolen at some point in the Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D series? And if so, f*ck that noise. Don’t make me hours of a TV show necessary viewing for a movie that’s already way too long.
  • “lasting a little long, boys” Yeah I’ve had that problem before.
  • “Fire on the weak ones” See, this is why you don’t have weak ones.
  • “send in the Iron Legion” Why not start with that? That way you don’t have to even be there.
  • Wait, didn’t he promise to destroy all the suits at the end of Iron Man 3?
  • Do the people here understand English? Surely that’s a logical flaw Tony Stark would have fixed?
  • “I want to poke it with something”. That’s exactly how I deal with almost every problem.
  • “yay” Is Tony Stark now a fifteen year old girl? I mean, what kind of self respecting person says “yay”? Note: I don’t count, I don’t respect myself.
  • See, this annoys the hell out of me. That shot of the broken shield was used in the trailer. It created intrigue. I was waiting, wondering how that happened, wondering what force could create that. And then I found out: dream sequence, didn’t happen, doesn’t matter. F*ck you film industry. It’s one of the most annoying things about film trailers and I’d love to see it stopped, that, and ruining cameos. There was no reason to showcase that Spider-Man is in Civil War. Close to that: people in the trailer who are only in a handful of scenes. Such as Hugh Grant in Man From U.N.C.L.E.
  • “no pepper? no jane?” Yeah, we couldn’t afford for them to come to this party.
  • “Jane’s better” normally I would really disagree with you, but the other person is Gwyneth Paltrow so it’s more like “please, please, they’re both terrible people”
  • Wait, you’re a celebrity funded by a multi million dollar agency. How do you not have enough money?
  • “this was not meant for mortal men” But you are mortal! Your mother died just a few movies ago, and you think your brother died. You should be aware of mortality by now.
  • “he’s also a huge dork, chicks dig that”. As someone who is almost the court jester of dorks I can confirm this is most definitely not true.
  • “on the world’s leading authority on waiting too long”, no. You slept for most of that, does not count.
  • If I was Thor I’d totally leave the hammer on the toilet seat so people couldn’t pee.
  • Tony Stark makes a joke about raping the women of Asgard. Comedy!
  • So Captain is “slightly” worthy?
  • Ultron waited until all the other party guests left before attacking.
  • An evil robot in a Marvel movie? Wow, never seen that before.
  • The film isn’t perfect, but James Spaders performance is pretty close.
  • So Ultron went on the internet and now hates the world? I see he’s seen the Daily Mail comments section then.
  • “he’s taken the Loki Pokey stick and now we have to find it, again”. Even the movie knows it’s repeating itself.
  • “it was built in the centre of the city so everyone could be equally close”. That’s not true, as in, that wouldn’t work. Unless there’s only one line of houses in a perfect circle then there’s going to be people living closer. I mean, draw a perfect circle on the floor, mark the centre, now stand two meters away, now have someone else stand one meter away from the centre. Are you both the same distance from the middle? No, you’re not. Lee: making fun of movies via math. Usually I only comfort people with mathematics, and that’s only during certain circumstances.
  • “our parents go in”, wait, your dad is Magneto. So does Magneto die really early on in this universe? Harsh.
  • “Cuttlefish: deep sea fish, they make lights” no they don’t. You’re describing an anglerfish.
  • Just realised they’re in Wakanda, shouldn’t Black Panther be there?
  • Movie spend the time providing a backstory to Black Widow when surely she should have had her own movie do that for her?
  • Wait, was that Clara Oswald? For one shot.
  • So Black Widow fantasises in cinematic low angle shots?
  • Why isn’t the hulkbuster suit the default suit?
  • I assume there was a deleted scene here which explains why Thor is just f’ing off. How do these films manage to be both too long, and have so many things missing?
  • “they have a graduation ceremony where they sterilise you” Apparently Greenwich Uni has the same procedure.
  • Wait, did they take the only strong female character in this thing and make her tragic backstory tie into childbirth? Damnit. And if you don’t see why this is problematic: imagine if Captain America’s main backstory was that the serum turned him sterile, and that was his biggest issue. See how weird that would be? But they had to make the only female character the only one who has a backstory that involves childbirth.
  • “everytime someone tries to win a war before it starts, innocent people die”. As opposed to normal wars where absolutely no innocent people die.
  • “guy’s multiplying faster than a Catholic rabbit”. I never noticed that line before.
  • Why did Ultron shoot the road, not the person?
  • “how do you want me to take it”. Obvious sex joke is obvious.
  • “without the homicidal glitch that he thinks are his winning personality” oh but without that I have nothing.
  • Why is he keeping Black Widow alive? It’s not to lure the Avengers there, as they kind of already have reason to find him and attack him.
  • Hey it’s a naked Paul Bettany, that’s never been done before.
  • Wait, where did he get the cape from?
  • Paul Bettany delivers what is essentially a shakespeare monologue in a film that doesn’t really deserve it.
  • Ok, that bit where Vision picked up the hammer was pretty awesome.
  • Quicksilver uses Adidas.
  • It’s a shame Quicksilver was done better in X-Men Days Of Future past otherwise that bit would have been awesome.
  • It’s a shame we’ve seen Magneto lift a stadium up in X-Men Days Of Past otherwise that bi….god damnit.
  • This plan doesn’t really work, that mass dropping wouldn’t have same impact as a meteor of the same size. The reason meteors cause so much damage is because they have high levels of speed because they’ve dropped such a great height. This land mass isn’t being raised high enough to gather enough speed.
  • Other point: if this city is being raised to 18,000 feet, shouldn’t that change the temperature? Should be below zero surely.
  • “you get killed” he says, as the camera focuses on the only main character to die.
  • Wait, can Captain now call his shield to him with telepathy?
  • Yeah, good job Captain America and Thor, saving those two people when you could be saving a lot more.
  • “Thor, you’re bothering me”. He bothers me too.
  • Hadouken!
  • Hawkeye wastes valuable time making stupid jokes. Funny stupid jokes that were adlibbed on set but still.
  • “Where else am I going to get a view like this?” A mountain, a plane, riding Iron Man?
  • “You kiss your mother with that mouth?” His mother’s probably been dead for like a century, not cool!
  • “show em what we’ve got” Yeah, that’s right, show that army you’ve got one guy in a suit. They’ll be shitting themselves.
  • “if you get through this, I’ll hold your own”. Well, they both survived, so I assume that scene will be in Civil War.
  • Villain tries to say a funny line and gets hit by Hulk. Just like in the first movie.
  • Finally a major hero dies.
  • Well, I say “major”, he had like 20 minutes of screen time, if that.
  • So things that aren’t worthy can’t keep the hammer aloft? There was a moment in the last Thor movie where the hammer was put on a coat hook, was the coat hook worthy?
  • Holy crap that film felt long.
  • Oh wait, it was long.
  • Thanos decides to retrieve the stones himself. You know if he did this earlier, these films would’ve been other before Thor. Ah, we live in hope.