Dark Phoenix isn’t just the latest in a superhero franchise. It’s a rare second chance for director Simon Kinberg. But did this particular phoenix rise from the ashes?
If a story following Jean Grey’s tortured descent into darkness sounds familiar, you’re not going crazy. Not only did Kinberg direct and write X-Men’s latest, he co-wrote 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand about… Jean Grey’s tortured descent into darkness. It didn’t fare too well with critics. But that wasn’t a problem! Kinberg erased the events of that film with time travel mind-bender, and much better-received, X-Men: Days of Future Past. Now, running truer to the Dark Phoenix Saga arc from the comics and with Sophie Turner in the lead, he’s given the story another shot.
Let’s take a look at the reviews so far.
«After a shaky opening, Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey brings us on a wild ride to complete an era of mutant adventures.»
«Somehow, it manages to make all but a scant handful of scenes feel inexorable, inexplicably boring. It drags on listlessly, completely unsure what to do with any of its characters — not even Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), the titular «Phoenix» of Dark Phoenix has any real clarity or purpose.»
— Meg Downey, GameSpot
«Better than Last Stand or Apocalypse but never hitting the heights of X2, Dark Phoenix thrives when its heroes are front and centre. If this is the end, it’s a solid rather than spectacular goodbye.»
— Ian Freer, Empire
«If Dark Phoenix feels like the nadir of 21st century blockbuster cinema, that’s not because it’s the worst film of its kind — hell, it’s not even the worst installment of its franchise — but rather because it might be the only $200 million tentpole that has no evident reason to exist.»
— David Ehrlich, IndieWire
«A by-the-numbers, mildly interesting attempt at telling a classic story that, unfortunately, it just doesn’t have the time, space, or range to do.»
— Charles Pulliam-Moore, Gizmodo
«The good news is that Dark Phoenix is an improvement from its Apocalypse predecessor, the bad news is that the bar was already pretty low.»
— Brandon Davis, Comicbook.com
«In no way does this feel like a fulsome, satisfying destination to a journey that started two decades ago and logged about 30 hours in the telling.»
— Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
«Dark Phoenix is a soulless retelling of one of the great arcs in comic book lore, and an all-too-fitting whimper of a conclusion to a franchise that never remotely fulfilled its potential.»
— Jake Cole, Slant Magazine
«A disappointingly average superhero flick, with a familiar story, disinterested actors, some cool action sequences, and a whole lot of missed opportunities.»
— William Bibbliani, The Wrap
«Dark Phoenix doesn’t work as a single entry in the larger franchise, nor does it build effectively on what came before, leaving Fox’s X-Men films without a satisfying conclusion to the nearly two-decade old series.»
— Molly Freeman, Screen Rant