A ‘Real’ Wyoming Review For X-Men: Dark Phoenix
The critics have not been kind to the final installment of the X-Men franchise. Dark Phoenix is the worst reviewed X-Men movie ever and it could potentially end up costing the production company (20th Century Fox, which is now owned by Disney), $100 million dollars or more. I don't think the film has been given a fair evaluation though.
As a fan of comic books and a self proclaimed X-Fan of the highest order, I am semi shocked by this. Dark Phoenix is by far, one of the best X-men team movies yet. It is safe to say, some of the standalone movies are better, like some of the Wolverine films and both of the Deadpool movies, but in comparison to the original trilogy, it's leaps and bounds ahead of them. Matter of fact, with the exception of maybe First Class, it's the best one of this era's version of the franchise.
Let's get the bad out of the way:
- Dark Phoenix at its core is just a retelling of X-Men: The Last Stand, albeit done much better (in my opinion). The fact that the studio choose to retell this story a mere 13 years after the original leaves you wondering why. Did this story need to be retold? Couldn't they have found a different X-men story to go with, like X-Cutioner's Song or Fatal Attractions (the later being where Magneto pulled the adamantium out of Wolverine)? Surely that would have looked cooler on screen.
- Secondly, there was a lot going on. At a run time of 1 hour and 53 minutes, it didn't seem like it was too long, especially when other comic book adaptions like Avengers Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame were 2 hours and 30 minutes and 3 hours respectively. An additional 30 to 45 minutes would have made the movie run smoother. It seemed like a lot was happening in small amount of time.
- It also would have been nice to get more onscreen time for Quicksilver and maybe delve deeper into the Mystique/Nightcrawler family relationship issue (which was completely overlooked). The film also could have spent a little more time building up the main antagonists with some more backstory.
Now on to the good:
- Dark Phoenix is a lot closer to the source material than the majority of the other X-films. The antagonists were straight out of the comics and there were a lot of Easter eggs to keep the hardcore X-Men fans (like myself) happy.
- It was very well acted and without giving away any spoilers, there were quite a few very emotional parts. Again, with the only possible equal being X-Men: First Class, you really connect on an emotional level with the characters this time around and the story pretty much keeps you on the edge of your seat, because you never really know what's going to happen next.
- The special effects were awesome and more on par to their comic book counterparts. It seems like in the early X-films, 20th Century Fox toned down the majority of their powers with the lack of decent CGI and other effects. There was more flying, more super strength, more energy blasts... just a more appealing realism to their powers in this film.
For the life of me, I can't understand why the professional critics are giving this movie such bad reviews. I have personally had my issues with the bulk of the X-movies, mainly because the X-Men were my first real love as a teenager becoming a hardcore comic book reader and collector. The Bryan Singer trilogy really did a disservice to the characters, with very stupid and easily fixed things, i.e. messing up the characters' ages greatly, refusing to put them in their original costumes and just lackadaisical writing/directing. One thing that has always baffled me was: since the MCU/Avengers films did things correctly and so close to the source material, why couldn't the X-men?
I also personally believe social media is at least partially to blame for a lot of the bad reviews. I'm not sure if everyone is just trying to compare Dark Phoenix to Avengers: Endgame. If that's the case, of course Endgame is way better, but I don't see the need to compare them.
All in all, I think Dark Phoenix was an awesome film... all around! It was very fitting closure to the series. I would advise any fans of the X-Men to watch it and to not listen to the critics. Decide for yourself.